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Adobe brings Web conferencing to Acrobat

Acrobat 8 line, due in November, will allow people to view a common PDF file via a Web browser.

Adobe Systems in November will release Acrobat 8, an updated version of its PDF software that adds Web conferencing services gained from its acquisition of Macromedia.

The company on Monday detailed its refreshed Acrobat line and pricing. In tandem with the product upgrade, Adobe will launch a hosted service called Acrobat Connect, which will allow individuals to click on a button in a PDF file to start a Web conference.

Executives said that Adobe will continue to add collaboration-oriented features to its Acrobat products.

"The motion forward is around personal and project spaces where people can communicate around certain issues and topics," said Ricky Liversidge, a product marketing manager at Adobe. "It's like having my personal meeting room--a URL where you go forward and store documents."

Connect is a rebranded edition of a Web conferencing product formerly called Macromedia Breeze.

From a PDF file, a person can use Connect to let someone else view a document or a person's entire desktop through a Web browser. Connect, which runs with the Adobe Flash Player, also lets a person start a chat with instant messaging or send an invitation via e-mail.

For individuals, Adobe will host the service, which will cost $39 per month or $395 per year. The service is slated to launch in mid-November.

For corporate customers, Adobe created an on-premise edition of Adobe Connect, a server installed and maintained by customers.

Other features in Acrobat 8 include the ability to combine multiple distinct documents with a PDF file. For example, a person could include a Word document within a larger file that maintains the original digital signature.