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Macromedia joins Web-conference crowd

With the introduction of Breeze Live, the company adds a product to the crowded market for online meeting software.

Macromedia has joined the crowded market for online meeting software with the introduction of Breeze Live.

The product, available in both hosted and standalone versions, was launched Wednesday as an add-on to Macromedia's Breeze line of online corporate education software.

"Breeze Live breaks down the barriers of delivering effective online meetings by offering a simpler and better user experience before, during and after the live session," Keith Kitani, Macromedia's vice president of product management, said in a statement.

According to the company, Breeze Live is designed to eliminate the technical barriers and learning curve that have "previously limited widespread adoption" of online meeting software.

Breeze Live faces competing products such as Microsoft's Live Meeting, as well as software from WebEx Communications, Akiva, Viack, Latitude Communications and Centra Software, among others.

But San Francisco-based Macromedia claims one advantage with the ubiquity of its Flash animation software, on which it built Breeze Live. Flash ships with most browsers and operating systems, and exists on 98 percent of desktops connected to the Internet, according to Macromedia.

Breeze Live enables online conference organizers to set up Microsoft PowerPoint demonstrations in advance. It also allows applications such as spreadsheets and product presentations to run automatically and be changed spontaneously during a meeting. In addition, the software lets people save live meetings.

Hosted versions of Breeze Live, including video and archive capability, start at $83 per month per user. Macromedia did not announce standalone prices.