Adobe Acrobat 8 Released

When Adobe Systems Inc. first announced that it was buying Macromedia (at a cost of about $3.4 billion), fans of the products under each company let out a collective groan. It was a terrifying prospect – would the features that make Adobe software something we’ve come to love suddenly take on a Macromedia look? Fans of Macromedia’s own image editing program, Fireworks, didn’t want to lose the easy-to-use interface.

It’s been several years in the making, but Adobe Systems Inc. finally purchased Macromedia last December. So far, there haven’t been any major changes that users of either software could notice – until a few weeks ago, when Adobe’s Studio Exchange took on the look and layout of Macromedia’s Exchange. As of writing this, it’s still practically impossible to find downloads for Adobe’s original products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) on the new exchange, but let’s keep our fingers crossed that it gets sorted.

The latest version of Adobe Acrobat is the next major change. With the release of Acrobat 8, the design software maker offers up its first major product release since the Macromedia acquisition. Analysts of the upgrade say that it contains features users have been asking for since Acrobat first became popular – the ability to make changes in documents when working together over the Internet, and the ability to remove information from a document to keep sensitive information private.

Not only have new features been added, but Acrobat 8 is integrated with the now-upgraded Creative Suite 2.3 Premium. It also offers Acrobat Connect, a monthly subscription service which lets users connected to the Internet to discuss and edit documents in a real-time conference. If Connect isn’t good enough for the user, Acrobat Connect Professional is also available with even more features that appeal to larger meetings – including VoIP.

“They have added enough features that they will continue to have people who want to upgrade,” Tim Hickernell, an industry analyst at the information technology research firm Robert Frances Group, said. “I don’t see a change in the buying trend we have seen in the last two versions with getting people to upgrade.”

That buying trend has resulted in a recent quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts. Approximately 25% of the sales Adobe has seen are directly from Acrobat.

Continuing to look forward, Adobe has seriously upgraded the Creative Suite at the same time they released Acrobat 8. Dreamweaver 8 (one of the software products Adobe acquired when they purchased Macromedia) is now bundled into the latest Creative Suite, and they’ve thrown in Acrobat 8 Professional – so if you use any combination of Adobe/Macromedia products like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, and Illustrator, you’re definitely going to want to check out the new Creative Suite.

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