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With, Adobe Fights Google, Others in Collaboration

adobeAdobe Systems (s abde) is taking out of beta on Monday and introducing two paid subscription offerings targeted toward businesses, which will put pressure on competing file storage and sharing products made by Google (s goog), Microsoft (s msft) and Cisco (s csco). The San Jose, Calif.-based company believes tapping into the sphere of online collaboration tools is a $2 billion opportunity.

Adobe launched, a suite of web-based tools that allow users to collaborate and share documents with others, in June 2008. Among the products in’s suite are Buzzword, an online word processor; ConnectNow, a web meeting program that enables screensharing, chat and video among users; and Share, a file-sharing program that lets users access files through a URL instead of an email attachment.

The site has gained “an enormous amount of traction” since its launch, Adobe Director of Marketing and Product Management Erik Larson said. According to Adobe, about 5 million people have signed up to use since its debut and over 100,000 people sign up for the service each week.

Adobe designed’s services with businesses — large and small — in mind so employees could work on documents simultaneously and share them without having to send email attachments back and forth. “People are traveling less with the economy going down (so) getting together in a virtual place is important,” said Larson.

In the next 12 months, the company plans to offer’s services on mobile phones, including BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia and Windows Mobile smartphones. Adobe also plans to integrate its new Tables spreadsheet application, which is available for free download on Labs Monday, into’s suite of collaboration tools.

Businesses will be able to choose from two subscription offerings: Premium Basic and Premium Plus. Premium Basic is targeted at businesses with “moderate collaboration needs,” according to Adobe, and lets users conduct online meetings with up to five participants and includes 10 PDF conversions a month and Adobe phone and web support for $149 a year. An annual Premium Plus subscription includes unlimited PDF conversions, web online meetings with up to 20 participants, and also phone and web support for $390 a year. Current users will be able to receive a $15 discount on the Premium Basic subscription or $50 off a Premium Plus subscription if you sign up by July 16. will still be free for new users or by invite from another user. Both subscriptions will be available only at Adobe’s North America online store for now.

One Response to “With, Adobe Fights Google, Others in Collaboration”

  1. I followed an interesting conversation in Erik Larson’s adobe blog, in which he pointed that he sees the future of collaboration as the ability to easily collaborate on files, simply by getting on a web browser, pulling together all the participants, and working together in a rich and seamless web environment. And it is this future of collaboration that represented.

    Someone had commented that such complete lack of structure was not simply viable for organizations, and the approach of online collaboration software like HyperOffice was better, because they offered collaboration tools within the parameters of some structure, which allowed control, organization of people in groups, as well as cater to coordination needs of teams (task scheduling, calendars, meetings).

    I am inclined towards the latter view, as i think brings only one part of the “collaboration picture” rather than the complete picture. In addition to document collaboration, the online collaboration should reflect organizational structure (the ability to group information in workspaces for teams, projects, departments), allow for coordination (project management, calendars, meeting scheduling), as well as discussion (discussion forums). And as in a solution like HyperOffice, it is ideal that all these pieces of the collaboration picture are present within the same software, allowing for free flow if information between different elements.