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Adobe reports sales, profit growth

Numbers are up for the software maker, thanks to the release of a new family of Acrobat publishing products.

Software maker Adobe System reported modest growth in sales and profit Thursday, as revenue from the new family of Acrobat publishing software began to trickle in.

For its second quarter, which ended May 30, Adobe reported net income of $64.2 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with $54.3 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Total revenue was $320.1 million, compared with $317.4 million a year ago.

Excluding one-time charges, income was $66.7 million, or 27 cents a share, a penny ahead of analyst expectations as compiled by research firm First Call.

The second quarter was marked by the release of new versions of Acrobat, Adobe's electronic publishing software for producing documents in the company's widespread portable document format (PDF). Instead of a single version of Acrobat, Adobe now offers multiple flavors aimed at ordinary office workers as well as Adobe's more typical audience of graphics and publishing professionals.

Shantanu Narayen, executive vice president of worldwide products for Adobe, said initial sales for the high-end Acrobat Professional have been significantly higher than expected. But it's too early to draw conclusions, he said, particularly regarding Acrobat Elements, the stripped-down version of the software Adobe hopes regular office workers will adopt.

"Elements is more aimed at enterprises that want to standardize on PDF as the way they distribute documents," Narayen said. "The sales cycle there is a little bit longer. But the product's out there...and there's a very clear understanding of the value proposition of PDF creation."

Adobe also highlighted significant growth for InDesign, its publishing layout and design software that competes against Quark's market-leading XPress. Narayen said InDesign revenue is up 47 percent year over year, and new customers continue to evaluate the software, despite the long-awaited announcement of a new version of QuarkXPress.

"We continue to believe that InDesign is being perceived as the right choice for the future," Narayen said. "I think the momentum is there; people see it as a better choice and a safe choice."

Adobe said in the earnings statement that it expects a slight drop in revenue for the third quarter, with total sales targeted at $300 million to $315 million and earnings per share forecast at 22 cents to 25 cents.

Adobe executives said the lowered expectations were based on typical seasonal slowdowns in Europe and Asia during the summer.