Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adobe collaboration, what is going on?

I am wondering what is going on with Adobe and collaboration. Recently Andrew Tribute suggested in Printweek that upgrades would slow down as more people found that open source had the same functionality as previous software from Microsoft and Adobe. Thinking about upgrading Acrobat for example it seems that the recent versions have been mostly about promoting Flash and online services that turn out to be an extra cost. Collaboration around the flat document may have reached the end of the road as far as new features are concerned.

Meanwhile there are many free services built around flat documents. Scribd works well. They do use Flash but it seems they actually like flat documents. Google sticks with a text style design. Docs can now create PDf and display PDF in a browser window. Adobe are also working on Buzzword and it now exports ePUB. Currently this is a free service and it may turn out like Google Docs, with a charge for higher volumes in organisations.

Meanwhile on Adobe Labs the Flash Collaboration Service is available to developers for free. It includes file sharing, webcam, chat etc. Eventually there could be a subscription involved. So Adobe may move to the clouds and have a different business model.

So why upgrade with Acrobat? Most of what is new in the box could be the advert for the subscription to something else.


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