Adobe moves into document management
And goes direct
The new products to be announced are: Forms Server, which renders electronic forms and publishes them to any platform or device; Workflow Server, which enables companies to distribute documents according to business rules; Output Server, for publishing data output from ERP applications according to predefined templates; Document Server, a publishing and document personalization tool; and a new version of its Acrobat Reader.
The new software builds on a product that Adobe garnered through its acquisition of Accelio Corp in April this year, and takes Adobe into competition with content management vendors such as Open Text Corp - which lost the bidding war to acquire Accelio - Documentum Inc and Filenet Corp.
Acrobat Reader 5.1's major new feature is the ability for the sender of an Acrobat document to send a Reader Extension, which enables the receiver of the document to edit it using full Adobe Acrobat functionality. Enterprises will be able to buy a license for 10 Reader Extensions or an unlimited license, though the exact cost of those licenses is yet to be determined.
Adobe said the enterprise customers it is targeting with the new software favor a close working relationship with their software vendors - hence the direct sales force - unlike its more typical graphics professional and consumer customers, which Adobe sells to via the channel. The company will supplement its direct sales efforts for the new, enterprise products with a number of value-added resellers, but conceded that to date it has only a "few" signed up.
In its latest quarter ended September 30, Adobe reported sales of $284.9m, down 2.5% on year-ago figures, and down 10% sequentially. Net income was $47.2m, up 17% on 2001 and down 13% sequentially.