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Adobe to discontinue Acrobat Approval, offering migration paths

August 30, 2004

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Adobe Systems recently announced it will soon discontinue Acrobat Approval, the Acrobat 5-based forms solution that was not updated when Adobe released Acrobat 6. The company has posted a detailed FAQ [PDF: 495kb] that addresses common questions about the action, and offers guidance for migrating [PDF: 171kb] along one of several suggested transition paths (based on current & future Adobe forms solutions) for current Approval users.

Adobe initially developed and released Approval as a replacement for its Acrobat Business Tools forms solution, which was previously discontinued. Approval's key feature set was described as follows:

"With Acrobat Approval 5.0, workgroup members can easily use forms from within Web browsers and save a copy on their desktop computers. Or, for forms requiring more time to complete, users can save the files to their desktops, fill them out offline, and send them later. The integrated spell-checking feature quickly catches misspelled words and ensures the integrity of field data. Acrobat Approval 5.0 further accelerates approval processes by allowing users to easily apply digital signatures to forms, contracts, marketing collateral, and other documents that require approval."

With and since the release of Acrobat 6, and with a rumored major upgrade on the horizon early next year, Adobe hopes to encourage Approval-based forms users to upgrade to its latest line of forms-oriented solutions to take advantage of enhanced features and greater, server-based functionality. Adobe's recent announcement states:

"Adobe Acrobat Approval 5.0 will be discontinued as of September 30, 2004. Adobe recommends that its customers migrate to Adobe Reader Extensions Server or Adobe Acrobat Standard. Upgrades to either of these products will be available free of charge to customers who licensed Adobe Acrobat Approval 5.0 through Adobe Open Options and have an active maintenance contract on July 31, 2004. Customers who migrate will immediately benefit from increased service options, faster response times, and better-quality data -- all with lower deployment and maintenance costs.

The Adobe FAQ notes that users can still "purchase additional licenses of Acrobat Approval until September 30, 2004," adding that the company will "will continue to support Acrobat Approval until September 30, 2005." Until that date, Approval users can trade in existing licenses for either Adobe Reader Extensions Server end-user licenses or Adobe Acrobat Standard licenses.

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