In related news, Adobe also plans to acquire Virtual Ubiquity, the developer of a web-based multi-user word processor called Buzzword.
Adobe has also released the beta version of a new service called Share, which allows users to simultaneously share and work on documents online, as well as publish them on wikis or web pages, as indicated by Erik Larson, director of product management. for Adobe.
The multimedia software developer will also release the first beta version of its upcoming Adobe Media Player, available as a public download from the Adobe Labs website.
The final version of Adobe Media Player, originally scheduled for release in March 2008, has been released from a release date prior to July 2008, according to Jen Taylor, product group manager for Flash at Adobe.
The Media Player can play files in the Flash Video (FLV) format used by an increasing number of websites, including YouTube. These videos can be played on the player or saved on a computer for later viewing. It is less than 1MB in size, although users need to download the beta of the Adobe Integrated Runtime plug-in, which is 9MB in size (the Windows version) to work.
Some of the companies that will offer content for Adobe Media Player include CBS, PBS, Yahoo, Blip.TV, Fora TV, Meredith Corp, Motionbox, MyToons and STIMTV.
Taylor expects most partners to serve ad supported content, with pre or post ads embedded on top of the videos themselves, or through banner ads on the player itself.
“We are seeing a transition where consumers want more free content,” he says. Adding digital content management (DRM) technology to the Flash format will prevent users from removing ads, even for downloaded videos.
The Media Player, which will be available for Windows and Mac OS X platforms, can also be configured to receive RSS tickets and download videos according to user preferences to be viewed later without the need to be connected online, as indicated by Deeje Cooley, project manager at Adobe.
Currently, Adobe does not plan that the player can play videos in formats other than Flash, such as Windows Media Video (WMV) or QuickTime Movie (MOV) files, as Taylor indicates. Likewise, Adobe has also not established formal relationships with YouTube or Google, and does not currently have an agreement for the inclusion of the Media Player in smartphones or mobile phones, as indicated by Taylor.
Adobe is fighting Microsoft on several fronts and trying to advance the market for collaboration tools, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have a specific budget for an IT team or to buy and install complex groupware.
Buzzword is a new step in this direction, joining tools such as Adobe Acrobat Connect, a web conferencing application. According to Rick Treitman, CEO of Waltham, Virtual Ubiquity, the software offers “perfect page rendering” of documents, which are editable by multiple users and stored in the company’s databases, although they can also be exported to text format Rich (RTF) or Word documents.
Support for PDF and ODF (OpenDocument Format) standards is also provided.