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Adobe's Desktop Acrobatics

In an effort to ward off Microsoft's attacks, Adobe ships the latest version of its Acrobat PDF-creation software today, introducing for the first time light and advanced versions of its flagship application.

Adobe Systems Inc. ships the latest version of its Acrobat PDF-creation software today, introducing for the first time light and advanced versions of its flagship application. The vendor has found itself fighting off Microsoft's attempts to build presence in the desktop publishing market; this latest release reflects Adobe's desire to offer more alternatives in response to that competitive threat.

Acrobat Elements 6 is a new entry-level edition that's designed to let all knowledge workers easily create PDFs with a simple right-click command while working in a document. Elements, which is available only for Windows, is priced at $29 per user for a deployment of 1,000 seats.

Acrobat Standard 6, which is essentially the new version of the existing Acrobat, adds automatic tracking and digital-signature capabilities, and leverages XML to enable the exchange of data with enterprise applications. The software is available in both the Windows and Macintosh formats. Single copies are priced at $299 for first-time users, or $99 for upgrades from Acrobat 5. Bulk licenses also are available at discounted prices.

For more advanced users, Acrobat Professional 6 introduces the ability to create PDFs of complex documents created in engineering applications, such as an AutoCAD, Visio, and Microsoft Project, as well as improved archiving capabilities for meeting regulatory requirements regarding document retention and access. Single copies of the professional addition sell for $449 for first-time users, or $149 for those upgrading from Acrobat 5.

All versions of Acrobat ship with Adobe Reader 6, a re-named update to Acrobat Reader, the popular PDF-viewing software that remains available for free download.

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