Adobe’s Reader on The Move

NEW YORK — Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe , said that
the Web development software company will sign a deal with a major U.S. wireless carrier to allow customers to view video on their handsets.

“One of either Verizon  or Cingular
 will launch a service by the end of the year that will
make video consumable on phones,” Chizen said during a Q&A session at the American Association of Publishers conference here yesterday

The forces of Web 2.0 and “the YouTube experience” are conditioning
consumers to expect free content, said Chizen, which means that content
producers and software vendors alike are going to have to adapt their
business models accordingly. “Most consumers believe they’re entitled to the
content for free, and we need to recognize that.”

Chizen said that Adobe is starting to experiment with new revenue streams in
order to stave off agile online competitors in general and Google  in particular.

“Desktop software is going to go away, and we’re going to have to figure out
how to make money by selling subscriptions online or over the Web with
advertising, and we don’t want Google to get there first and engage the
loyalty of our customers,” he said.

Adobe began offering a free, scaled-down version of its Premiere Elements
video editing technology last month, and hopes to monetize it through online
advertising. Chizen said “hopefully some of those users will want the full
product and pay through subscription.” The premium edition of the software
is priced at $700.

Chizen also said that Adobe will soon release a free development platform,
code-named Apollo,
that will allow content publishers to create Internet applications that will
work on any connected device.

“We’re changing the experience of Acrobat Reader,” he said, to take into
account the fact that “more people will access the Web through non-PC
devices than PC devices in the next five years.”

Adobe will also release Creative Suite 3 at the CTIA conference on March 27,
he said. The application, which is currently in public beta, will feature tight integration with Macromedia products.
Adobe acquired
rival Web development software vendor Macromedia in the spring of 2005.

Chizen added that the application will allow developers to preview how
content will look on all platforms, including handheld devices, before
publishing it.

“It’s truly the incarnation of network publishing,” he said.

Mike Mankowski, senior vice president at Tier 1 Research, a division of
research firm the 451 Group, said that Adobe’s approach is well-suited to
changes in the workplace.

“We’re getting to a more collaborative world where folks are working out of
their homes or they’re geographically dispersed, and they need to
communicate and collaborate online,” he told

He added that the company’s video pitch to wireless carriers is emblematic
of its multifaceted approach: wireless carriers will have to pay Adobe for a
server copy of the FlashLite software, but will be able to charge more for
their service and reduce churn because of the extra value they provide
consumers. Application developers will also have to pay Adobe to license
software to create the content they can sell to the carriers.

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