Adobe Updates, Rebrands Collaboration Software

Macromedia Breeze gets rechristened as Acrobat Connect, with a new user interface and shared review privileges so that workgroup members can read comments at the same time.



Adobe Systems will rebrand an updated version of Macromedia Breeze under its Acrobat moniker and will ship it—along with a new Acrobat—in November.

The company has revamped Acrobat's user interface and enabled shared review, so even workgroup members with just the free Acrobat reader can review comments at the same time.

The master document can be stored centrally on something as simple as a network folder or a SharePoint workspace, said Marion Melani, group product marketing manager for San Jose-based Adobe.

And, the company, which bought Macromedia and its Breeze collaborative application last year, has started to link up Adobe Acrobat with that offering, now renamed Acrobat Connect.

"This is the first sign of Adobe and Macromedia coming together," said David MacDonald, CEO of Softchoice, a Toronto-based corporate software reseller. MacDonald said Softchoice's Adobe business grew more than 30 percent last year.

In its transition from Breeze to Acrobat Connect, Adobe has split the offering into two versions. "Before Breeze was sold to departments and on occasion to large enterprises and sold through the VAR channel—60 to 70 percent of our sales go through the channel," said David Slater, senior product marketing manager.

Acrobat Connect, which relies on the near-ubiquitous Macromedia Flash player, targets individual users and small and medium sized businesses or small groups within large companies. It suits creation of ad hoc collaboration without involving IT people or soaking up corporate resources. Acrobat Connect Professional aims for IT departments and larger companies and brings VoIP, real-time collaboration and video—as needed to collaboration.

Price for base Acrobat Connect is $39 per month or $395 per year if bought in advance for up to 15 people. The professional version starts at $15,000 depending on configuration.

Acrobat pricing is unchanged. The Professional edition is $449 for a new seat or $159 for an upgrade.

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