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Adobe buys EchoSign for electronic PDF signatures

The company is expanding its attempt to make its digital document technology become essential to businesses' electronic processes with the acquisition of EchoSign.

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Adobe Systems, creator of the Portable Document Format standard used for digital documents, has acquired EchoSign, a company specializing in electronic signature technology.

The move means Adobe will get new abilities for its document-handling software. Electronic signatures have held the promise for years of letting people sign documents without having to resort to the paper-based hassles of scanning, faxing, and mailing, but haven't made major inroads.

EchoSign and Adobe hope to change this, naturally. Adobe has been working hard to embed its products as deeply into business computing as Microsoft Office, and EchoSign is part of that effort.

"Together, our aim is to make electronic signatures the standard way for people to sign documents and automate contracting," Jason Lemkin, EchoSign's CEO, and Kevin Lynch, general manager of Adobe's Acrobat business, said jointly in a statement last night. "Adobe's PDF solutions and document exchange services platform have helped organizations turn inefficient, paper-based workflows--like overnight envelopes--into streamlined electronic ones."

Palo Alto, Calif.-based EchoSign has a subscription service for small and medium-sized businesses and also offers an application programming interface (API) to let companies integrate the signature technology with their own procedures for sending, tracking, and signing documents.

EchoSign's technology will be built into several Adobe products. "The EchoSign solution will be integrated with Adobe's other document services including SendNow for managed file transfer, FormsCentral for form creation, and CreatePDF for online," the executives said.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.