Adobe Wants To Be Microsoft, In Its Own Way

The desktop-publishing company is changing its business strategy in part by bundling popular apps.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)--Shifting its business strategy, Adobe Systems Inc., the largest maker of publishing and graphic-design software, is introducing the Adobe Creative Suite--a package that combines Adobe's leading graphics products, Photoshop and Illustrator, with other design programs.

The suite ties together creative tools Adobe previously upgraded and released at different times of the year.

Now, users can expect simultaneous upgrades to help ensure compatibility. The suite also is designed to let users move files between the programs seamlessly, company officials said.

"We've moved away from being a point product company to truly being a platform company," chief executive Bruce Chizen said in an interview. Chizen will unveil the product at an event Monday at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The suite will be available in November.

The package--priced at $1,229 and $999, depending on features--is another sign Adobe wants to become as dominant a force in the creative-professional market as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is to office workers with its Microsoft Office products. The San Jose-based company made a similar strategic move with its video-editing products in the July debut of the Adobe Video Collection.

The Creative Suite has full upgrades of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and GoLive.

The premium package also includes Adobe's popular Acrobat software, which is commonly used to transfer and view documents electronically over the Internet. Adobe is trying to make Acrobat, which accounts for a third of Adobe's annual revenue of $1.2 billion, into a medium for all kinds of digital paperwork, from government forms to graphics-based documents.

The Creative Suite also features new software called Version Cue to keep track of every file iteration, allowing individuals or members of working groups to easily access the various versions.

Adobe no longer wants to just be a tool supplier, said Mark Walter, an industry analyst with the Seybold Report.

By bundling its weaker selling products, InDesign and GoLive, with anchors such as Photoshop and Illustrator, Adobe also hopes to grab market share from rivals Quark Inc. and Macromedia Inc. (MACR), whose page layout and Web design products outsell Adobe's.

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