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New Acrobat does flips for corporations

Adobe Systems releases a new version of its Acrobat software with several features aimed at the corporate customer.

Adobe Systems released on Monday a new version of its Acrobat software with several features aimed at corporate customers.

The new capabilities could increase the desirability of the product to corporations and help lift the company's sales, according to one analyst.

Bill Lennan, an analyst with WR Hambrecht, estimates that about 15 percent of Adobe's Acrobat revenue comes from large corporations that buy multiple licenses. "I think the growth potential in the corporate market is huge, and that's where the company is going to sell most of this product in the future," he said.

Acrobat lets people create and read PDF (Portable Document Format) documents. This appeals to people who want to send information electronically but want that information to maintain its original format.

Acrobat 5.0 contains a feature that lets information technology workers at large companies install the software on a massive scale, rather than on an individual basis. This makes the product a more feasible purchase for corporations too large to install software computer by computer.

"This is for the IT manager who may be responsible for thousands of desktop seats," Adobe product manager Rick Brown said.

Acrobat 5.0 also allows PDF forms to be submitted in the Web-standard XML (Extensible Markup Language), making it easier to integrate with back-end systems. This means that people can fill out PDF forms on Web sites and return them digitally.

"I think that's a huge breakthrough because it makes it easier to get data in and out of the forms," Lennan said.

Other features of Acrobat 5.0 include 128-bit encryption vs. 40-bit encryption in the previous 4.0 version. The software can also function with digital signature technology from several companies.

Other additions to Adobe 5.0 not specifically directed at the corporate market include features designed to make Acrobat easier to use for people with visual disabilities, including the option of viewing PDF documents in high-contrast mode.