Adobe buys Virtual Ubiquity

Adobe Systems plans to buy Virtual Ubiquity, maker of Buzzword, an online word processor.

The move will improve the way users share and collaborate on documents across platforms, Adobe officials said. Adobe Acrobat is the most widely used electronic portable document software, they added.

'Buzzword will build on that leadership,' enhancing users' online collaboration experience, said David Mendels, senior vice president at Adobe's business productivity unit.

Buzzword is an elegant online word processor that lets users create high-quality, page-perfect documents, Adobe officials said. The application was built on Adobe Flex software and runs in the Adobe Flash Player, offering users greater document quality, page layout controls and support for integrated graphics, they said.

The application also runs on Adobe AIR, which will give users a hybrid online/offline experience and the ability to work with both hosted and local documents.

The founders of Virtual Ubiquity will join Adobe. They bring a wealth of experience in online document collaboration with backgrounds in the development of IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft's eRoom, Adobe said.

Company officials expect to close the deal by the end of November.

Adobe's efforts to provide an integrated suite of productivity software will pit the company against Microsoft's Office desktop software.

Other companies also have entered the fray. Google recently unveiled Google Apps Premium, which offers a strong set of collaborative word-processing and spreadsheet tools, in addition to e-mail and calendar capabilities. Meanwhile, IBM last month introduced a suite of free software applications for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations called IBM Lotus Symphony.

On a related note, Adobe has added a free file-sharing service to its current online document services. Codenamed Share, the beta service will make it easier for people to share and organize documents online.

Users select the documents they want to share, send a message to recipients, and set whether the files will be publicly accessible or restricted. Users can learn more about the service and sign-up here.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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