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Adobe Kicks off SaaS Efforts with Health

Adobe launched it’s SaaS beachhead today with the consolidation of its information worker centric suite of services at The two jewels of this suite are the Buzzword word processor and Connect desktop sharing and conference service. Also included are the Share service and a service for creating PDFs.

As I cataloged last year, Adobe actually has a lot of SaaSes running around. They acquired Buzzword and launched Share last year, but until now they haven’t really had a (public) unified SaaS offering. Instead, it seemed that there were opportunistically/organically grown services that didn’t really “work together.”

There are several notable things going on here:


The suite is an RIA from one of the main RIA vendors. If you want an early idea of what an RIA world would look like, have a crack.

Adobe is also using an AIR application for the desktop version of to ease importing and exporting files to Share. If you’re familiar with Creative Suite, you can think of the AIR application – and Share as a whole – sort of like Bridge: an Adobe foot-print for file access, organization, and launching other applications.

This first version of the desktop isn’t mind-blowing or anything. It’ll be more so when/if Buzzword moves down there with full offline/online synchronization support (a la the synchronized web) and adds other “actually doing stuff” functionality.

Threat to WebEx & Co. – Pricing

The pricing – free at the moment for not too-limited options – is free and will bring a ton of people to finally realize how excellent Adobe’s desktop sharing/conferencing service Breeze/Brio/Connect is. We at RedMonk have been signing the praises of (now called) Connect for a long time because, frankly, it just works on three of our platforms all of the time (Windows, Linux, OS X). I’ve used a (year long trial) account of Connect over the past year to record all the screencasts I’ve done with people remotely.

Previously, the service was expensive. Now it’s free for up to 3 users. (I must confess, it could have always been free and I just missed it.) That’s not going to work for all situations, but for most the meetings RedMonk has every day, it’d be just fine. I suspect the same will be true for much of the so called Fortune 5,000,000.

When I talked with Adobe last week on the topic, they told me that they aimed to have a free version ongoing. That is, Adobe doesn’t (currently) have intentions for freeness rug-pulling; but, who would actually expect them to un-free something in this day and age?

Providing this suite of services for free is great for Adobe and users. Now, each of the components (except Connect?) was free itself in the past, but pulling them into a suite along with the related announcement buzz will give Adobe a boost in usage that wasn’t possible with each service on their own.

There’s an up-sell now and in the future of course: the conference numbers are not toll-free, there’s a limit on the number of attendees in a conference, the PDF service only ever creates 5 PDFs, there’s not “enterprise grade” integration (with identity systems, like SSO and audit-trailing), and all that stuff.

That said, the base-line Adobe has selected looks good. Hopefully they can keep up with or beat Google-level pricing of around $50/user/year for everything. On that note, while the lack of a spreadsheet and presentation software are obvious holes that need to be filled, email and IM are lacking as well: Adobe needs at least a strong partner for the last two.


As you can tell, I like the offering I’ve seen from Here, my (potential) bias is more than Adobe being a client, I’m actually looking at it as a user. RedMonk does a lot of meetings, phone calls, and other “collaborating all day” sorts of information work that seems built around, esp. for companies the size of RedMonk.

More importantly, Buzzword still looks like it has the best features of Google Docs – working collaboratively with revision control – without the terribleness of Google Docs – the lack of real page layout functionality which means I have to bounce between Google Docs and desktop publishing, which screws the benefits up.

There are some other things to note and think about, like: the APIs, the new desktop version of Acrobat (they tell me it’s focused on being faster), and the never ending salon question of what SaaSes like this mean for open source culture. But, I’ll leave those for another time.

Most importantly to my daily pain-points: what for all of the screwing around with WebEx, GoToMeeting, and even the new Lotus offering, I hope I find more and more people using Connect. It’d make meetings going a lot smoother…assuming the SaaS stays up (see screenshot above) and works ;>

Disclaimer: Adobe is a client, as is IBM.

Categories: Collaborative, RIA.

Tags: , , ,

Comment Feed

8 Responses

  1. I haven't found a way to see revision diff in buzzword. Also, why can't it save/export as PDF?

    Am I missing something?

    Chris MahanJune 2, 2008 @ 6:02 am
  2. correction, the does support export to PDF (didn't at Still no diffs.

    Chris MahanJune 2, 2008 @ 6:34 am
  3. So many companies are continuing to embrace SaaS and even changing their business model to adapt to this new era. While it seems great from a user perspective, I am wondering how companies are monetizing SaaS? I have heard about a few companies that help companies more effectively monetize SaaS (i.e. eVapt). My questions are thus, 1)how are companies like Acrobat making money from providing their services online? and 2) what resources, like eVapt or others, are SaaS providers utilizing with?

    Landon HooverJune 2, 2008 @ 8:40 am

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] Michael Coté makes clear that Adobe has been at SaaS for a little while, and the big news here is they’re simply unifying their offerings into a coherent suite.  Pricing is free and they’re now dragging WebEx into the fray.  Seems like a lot of people want to commoditize WebEx.  I wonder what Cisco thinks of that? […]

  2. […] Mindjet announced their new, Mindjet Connect, this morning that takes mind mapping and document sharing from the desktop and email to a new, hosted environment the likes of Google Docs and Adobe’s […]

  3. […] over to Google Docs and Sheets just yet. Buzzword & co. seems more realistic ( integration?) if less big […]

  4. […] concerns. Rob Tarkoff gave an overview of this silo, largely composed of LiveCycle, Acrobat,, Flash Platform (including AIR). This year, as I Twittered, Adobe is doing a good job of speaking […]

  5. […] favorite topic: cloud computing. Arun Anantharaman spoke to Connect, while Erik Larson spoke to I won’t summarize the overviews they gave, but below are some highlights, esp. from […]