Adobe readies release of flagship Acrobat product

Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE.O:) in November will introduce the latest version of its flagship Acrobat file-sharing product, marking the design software maker’s first major product release since its Macromedia acquisition.

Analysts said the release of Acrobat 8 contained the features that have spurred customers to buy past upgrades of the product, which makes up about 25 percent of Adobe’s overall revenue.

Tim Hickernell, an industry analyst at the information technology research firm Robert Frances Group, said the latest release addressed a demand for software that allows users to make changes to documents when working together on shared content over the Internet.

That should appeal to people working in the architectural and manufacturing fields who need to constantly update documents and could pose a challenge to AutoDesk Inc. (ADSK.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which makes AutoCad software, he said.

The ability to remove information from a document should also appeal to government, military and legal sectors amid more calls for ways to keep sensitive information private, he said.

“They have added enough features that they will continue to have people who want to upgrade,” Hickernell said. “I don’t see a change in the buying trend we have seen in the last two versions with getting people to upgrade.”

The product’s release comes after San Jose, California-based Adobe on Friday posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street forecasts and said better-than-expected Acrobat sales helped drive revenue.

Tom Hale, who runs the company’s business unit that includes Acrobat, said the latest version of the file-sharing product marked the first major software release since the company closed its Macromedia acquisition in December.

Adobe bought Macromedia for $3.4 billion to complement its strength editing and distributing static content such as text, photos, and graphics with Macromedia’s ability to create Web graphics and advertising in its Flash technology.

The company’s Acrobat Connect offering, which allows users to set-up Web conferences and share content, is an example of a product that combines the best of both companies, he said.

Both products are expected to be available in November.