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Adobe to make its Web editor the chief

Adobe Systems is planning to show off the next version of its popular HTML editing tool, PageMill.

Adobe Systems is planning to show off the next version of its popular HTML editing tool, PageMill, at next week's Internet World show in San Jose.

On Monday, the company will announce PageMill 2.0, featuring strengthened support for multimedia plug-ins and editing capabilities. Adobe will also announce a Windows 95 version of the previously Macintosh-only product, which will pit PageMill more directly against products from Netscape Communications and Microsoft.

The new version will allow designers to embed Netscape Navigator plug-ins, such as Adobe Acrobat files, Macromedia Director movies, and sound files, in a Web page. The product also features table support, search-and-replace capabilities, source code editing, and support for other HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) extensions, including wraparound text.

Adobe will ship PageMill 2.0 for Macintosh and Windows in July.

With its $99 PageMill product, Adobe is targeting novice Web page designers who don't want to learn the intricacies of HTML, said Robert Seidl, Internet product manager at Adobe. The company sells a more advanced version of the product for $399, called SiteMill that includes the ability to manage hyperlinks on a Web site.

Into the HTML editing market early, Adobe has already sold 100,000 copies of PageMill, and the company believes that it has a good opportunity to extend its success in the Mac world to the much larger Windows marketplace.

But Microsoft has gotten more aggressive recently with its FrontPage software, an HTML editing tool that offers link management. The company this month cut the price of FrontPage from $695 to $149, a move that may force Adobe to rethink its pricing plan for SiteMill, according to analysts.

Adobe will also compete against Navigator Gold 2.0, which Netscape released in final form last week.

"Now Adobe and Microsoft are going to be playing on a far more level playing field. I think Adobe will have to revisit the way they sell [PageMill and SiteMill]," said Allen Weiner, director and principal analyst at market research firm Dataquest. "The players that are lining up are Netscape, Microsoft, and Adobe."

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