It's hard to say if Adobe is saying "me first," or "me too." They've launched new applications for their suite of web-based document generation software at Acrobat.com that goes head to head with Google Docs and Microsoft's Office Live Workspace. Now you can have a virtual typing pigpile hosted by Adobe, too.
At the heart of the new launch is Buzzword, the web-based word processor that Adobe acquired last year. Buzzword’s full functionality is integrated into Acrobat.com, allowing users to create documents and collaborate on them with others. Different permissions can be assigned to each collaborator, and edits all tracked and saved with version control. Of course, since this is all done over the Web, these documents can be accessed by anyone from anywhere – a big shift from the days of emailing documents back and forth – much like what Google is attempting to do with Google Docs, and Microsoft with Office Live Workspace.
Along those lines, Acrobat.com includes a number of sharing features that move things away from the inbox and onto the Web. Documents uploaded to Acrobat.com can be shared via a URL, and rather than offering a downloadable file, they load in the browser via Flash. These flash files can be embedded on any web page – hence bringing Adobe into direct competition with startups Scribd and Docstoc who were previously “PDF killers” of sorts. Of course, if you’d like to just create standard PDFs, Acrobat also includes a conversion tool where you can upload your documents and have them turned into PDFs.
Looks like Adobe would like to move towards a Software as a Service model instead of selling expensive software like Photoshop and Flash creation interfaces. Defending high priced code as a business model is difficult, and SaaS is a good way to monetize a little bit of use over a much larger base of users. I've heard rumors that everyone doesn't pay for their copy of Photoshop.