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Microsoft, Adobe launch document sharing services

At 12:01 A.M. Monday morning, both Microsoft and Adobe announce document sharing services.

Microsoft and Adobe are announcing, at exactly the same time, competing services for sharing documents from your computer. Adobe's Share converts all shared documents to Flash, so you can embed them in any Web page. It's like Scribd but designed more to share files with workgroups than the world at large. In its current beta form it supports PDF and image files only. Adobe plans to open up the Share API so the service can be used as a virtual storage drive.

Share is a natural counterpart to Adobe's new BuzzWord word processor (news; review), which it just acquired from Virtual Ubiquity. I look forward to seeing the services integrated.

Flash previews of documents uploaded to Adobe Share can be easily emailed or embedded in Web pages.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is recasting Office Live as Office Live Workspace, a sharing service for Office documents. Its special sauce will be integration into the existing Office apps like Word and Excel. The system will let you save documents directly from the apps into Office Live Workspace, and from there share them with others, or yourself (if you want access to your docs from any PC that has Office on it). It's about time.

Microsoft won't let the people who get shared documents actually edit them unless they have the right Office app installed on their PC. Making shared Office docs editible via the Web is a necessary and inevitable improvement for this service, although it may be a bit early to call for it, since even the integrated storage and sharing is still only in the press release stage of development. You can register for the beta at