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Crocodoc tries to take bite out of Adobe dominance

Office and PDF viewer aims to assassinate Acrobat

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Crocodoc is looking to take a big chunk out of Adobe's market share with an HTML5 viewing and annotation system for PDFs and Office documents that eliminates plug-ins or vulnerable software.

"I think we beat Adobe to the punch," CEO Ryan Damico told The Register. "We're taken a file format that they've created that's now an open standard and we now offer an HTML5 viewer for their own file format and they're nowhere near to offering the same abilities. Abode's a great example of the kind of traditional desktop software that we're disrupting."

Shifting away from software would also give an additional security benefit, since it would get rid of the threats that Adobe's code has been coming under. The ubiquity of Adobe software has made it a prime attack vector over the last few years.

Web app developers can build applications using Crocodocs' iFrame and JavaScript libraries to either access documents as a service from its servers or from corporate intranets. All sessions are SSL encrypted and run off ephemeral URLs to minimize any threat, with additional control options available like password protection.

Pricing will be on a per item basis, Darnico explained, adding it would amount to "pennies per document," with the usual discounts available to larger corporate customers. Small businesses would be more suited to Crocodocs' SaaS service, he said, while larger enterprises would probably want to run their own repositories.

The system works with Android 2.2 and above and anything younger than version 4 of iOS; viewers for Phone 7 and RIM's latest builds will come online if there's the demand for them.

Crocodocs has been around since 2006, but this is the first time it has made a serious play for the enterprise market. The company has already signed up SAP to use its tools in a forthcoming release of Spotlight, and both DropBox and LinkedIn have already signed up. ®

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