Adobe Expands Acrobat For Collaboration

Adobe Systems  unveiled its re-branded
online conferencing software today with embedded collaboration features
in one of the Web publishing company’s core products, Acrobat.

Renaming Macromedia Breeze conferencing software Adobe Connect,
the company said Monday it will leverage the ubiquity of PDF files
and Flash presentations to enable connections between different work groups, such as artists,
lawyers and architects.

Adobe’s Acrobat application is getting a makeover, with better collaboration playing
a central role.

As part of that push, Adobe has added a “Start Meeting” button in
Acrobat 8 and the free Acrobat 8 Reader applications.

Either in a hosted or local version, Connect or Connect Professional
offers online conferencing to any Flash-enabled user, including
whiteboard, screen sharing, chat, along with video and audio.

Connect Professional additionally supports more conference
participants (more than 15,000 compared to 15 for basic Connect), as
well as VoIP and other extended capabilities.

Among the improvements, Acrobat 8 gains a “Getting Started” window,
where tasks such as “Create PDF,” “Forms” or “Combine Files” are
grouped. The change makes Acrobat more approachable to a wider range
of users, Adobe officials told

Security is another highlight of the update. Users requiring greater
data security, including stripping meta data from files or true
redacting of passages.

For Acrobat Reader users, version 8 includes the ability to save
forms, an ability missing from the prior version of Acrobat Reader.

“This is the biggest launch since we acquired
Macromedia,” Ricky Liversidge, Adobe’s Director of Product Marketing,

Adobe is competing with Microsoft and others for a share of the
online document market. In June, Microsoft agreed to remove a PDF
alternative called “Metro” from its upcoming Vista operating system,
as well as drop plans to integrate a “Save as PDF” function in Office

Acrobat Connect has a montly $39 fee per user, while the Professional
version is available for license.

Connect will be available free beginning in November and through the
end of the calendar year, according to Adobe. Connect Professional is
expected to be available in December.

PDF users number 528 million while 98 percent of Internet ready
computers include a Flash player, according to Adobe.

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