Agile Acrobat: An early look at an Acrobat PDF Portfolio, in which each element of the carousel represents a different multimedia component.
The new Acrobat.com site will allow users to store, share, and work together on these multimedia-heavy portfolios, without having to swap them by e-mail. But Adobe hopes that people will also use the service for broader document-collaboration efforts.
The site offers a minimally featured word processor called Buzzword, acquired when the company bought startup Virtual Ubiquity last year. Separate functions offer Web audio and video conferencing, including the ability to let participants remotely view activity on the main user’s desktop. Users can store and share up to five gigabytes of files, allowing them to work on projects together.
Other companies have beat Adobe to these hosted collaboration services, with services such as Google Docs, Microsoft’s recently unveiled Live Mesh, and a myriad of smaller offerings. But Adobe is betting that the simple, easy-to-use design of its new service, and the near ubiquity of its Acrobat software, will give it a leg up.
“This is never going to be a direct competitor to Microsoft Office, because it just doesn’t have the productivity value,” says Forrester Research analyst Sheri McLeish. “But it gets their foot in the door and is an opportunity to reach more users, who will be impressed by what Adobe has done.”
Acrobat 9.0 will be available in several versions, costing $299 for the standard edition, $499 for Acrobat Pro, and $699 for the full-featured Pro Extended version. The beta version of Acrobat.com, accessible now, is free.