Another Cloud Collaboration Offering, This One from Adobe


It's beginning to look as if collaboration is truly the cloud's killer app, I wrote last month. (Although commodity back-office applications such as payroll may give collaboration a run for its money.) It's a perfect fit, really, with the Web offering a more seamless collaborative environment than a dedicated client ever could.


Among the cloub-based solutions I listed: Microsoft's online version of Sharepoint, a cloud-based version of Jive's collaboration software, IBM's LotusLive Exchange and Oracle's Beehive. Now there's another new entry to add to the list. Adobe just took its Adobe.com, a suite of Web-based collaboration tools introduced last June, out of beta and introduced two subscription offerings obviously meant for businesses, reports GigaOm. Adobe says it already has 5 million users for the basic free service, with some 100,000 signing up every week.


The new Premium Basic offering is meant for businesses with "moderate collaboration needs," according to Adobe, allows users conduct online meetings with up to five participants, and includes 10 PDF conversions a month and Adobe phone and Web support for $149 a year. An annual Premium Plus subscription includes unlimited PDF conversions, Web online meetings with up to 20 participants, and the phone and Web support for $390 a year. To sweeten the deal, current Acrobat.com users that sign up for the paid versions by July 16 will get a $15 discount on the Premium Basic subscription or $50 off a Premium Plus subscription.


PC World's Richard Morochove gave Adobe.com services a good review when he tried them out last June, calling them "an excellent mix of services for remote collaboration." In particular, he found Acrobat.com's document collaboration capabilities superior to those offered by Google Docs. Of course, who knows what collaboration goodies will be included in Wave, Google's forthcoming service.


I think it sounds kind of like IM on steroids. IT Business Edge blogger Dennis Byron isn't buying the hype and thinks it seems like "more unalpha'd demoware that has only barely made it off the test bench." Rob Enderlegives Google Wave a bit more credit, calling it a non-linear and thus risky challenge to Microsoft's Office. In contrast, he writes, Google Apps is a linear Office challenger. ITBE's Loraine Lawson recognizes Google Wave's potential as an integration tool, although she also thinks "it looks a lot like someone pasted Facebook onto Gmail."