Adobe previews 'Acrobat Lite,' PDF-based image management tool and growing enterprise focus
Executive presentations at key analyst meeting unveil strong PDF role in future product and strategy plans

29 October 2002

By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

Just days after the company terminated some 260 employees worldwide, Adobe Systems executive management team met with leading industry analysts in New York yesterday to give a lengthy recital about its short- and long-term strategies. Acrobat and PDF are firmly positioned at the core of both.

In addition to presentations offering an overview of the recently announced line of new products and servers that are designed to pave the way for Adobe to become a key player in the potentially lucrative enterprise market, several members of the Adobe chieftains mentioned additional PDF-oriented products currently in the pipeline.

As reported previously, Adobe has been pilot testing a low-cost PDF-authoring product in Europe since summer, the company's first effort to directly compete with third-party products -- such as Global Graphics' Jaws PDF Creator -- that are easier-to-use and priced to undercut sales of "Full Acrobat." That product was finally described as "Acrobat Lite," an apparent short-term code name for an upcoming product -- no shipping date or price were offered.

Adobe Acrobat Lite

According to Ivan Koon, Senior Vice President for ePaper Products, Acrobat Lite is a simplified, scaled-down product aimed at the several hundred thousand Microsoft Office users, that helps fulfill one of Adobe's key strategies: to proliferate PDF-generation capabilities. It will be available only through Adobe's corporate licensing program, Koon said during his one-hour presentation, the longest of the afternoon. User options in this low-end product will be minimized, and it will include a "'How-To' Palette," an interactive guide that briefly describes how to perform some of the most common processes e.g. deleting a page in a multi-page PDF document.

Koon also mentioned that Adobe is incorporating some new terminology (and accordingly phasing out the use of others) within the ePaper group, such as:

  • Document Generation (formerly eDocuments and ePresentment)
  • Document Process Management (formerly eForms)

Adobe Acrobat Lite

He made no specific reference to the lifespan of "ePaper," but it would seem likely to be on a similar shortlist if the related "e" terms are no longer in vogue at Adobe.

Bryan Lamkin, Adobe's Senior Vice President of the Digital Imaging and Video Business Unit, also previewed a new, upcoming product that underscores another company strategy detailed yesterday: to "establish PDF as a foundation for digital photography." Lamkin's technology demo described the forthcoming product as a "digital shoebox," a solution for managing collections of electronic images fram a range of sources, including digital cameras and scanners. The core method for exchanging collections is in the form of a PDF-based slideshow, allowing for interactivity -- inclusion of both still and audio images. By 2005 60 percent of all still cameras will be digital, Lamkin says, as will 100 percent of videocameras. A product such as the one Lamkin's presentation referred to as "PDF Foundation (PDF for Images)" will be crucial piece for users of all levels of photography skills and seriousness. It will include some basic, easy-to-use image editing features, and also will be integrated closely with both Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements for those who own either program.


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