Adobe is announcing today that we have acquired Virtual Ubiquity, the company behind Buzzword, the online word processor that has generated a fair amount of buzz (no pun intended). Buzzword has been in private beta for a few months and in that time has been impressing a number of people. In addition, we have announced the availability of "Share" a way for individuals and companies to host and distribute documents on the web.
Share is a lot like Scribd which is really popular but with the backing of the company who invented PDF. Adobe has a lot of experience with documents through PDF and one of the reasons I joined the company is because we have been talking about ways to make that knowledge more "web-centric" for a long time. In some ways, Share is FlashPaper on steroids. I'll try to refrain from the marketing speak, but I think there is genuinely something very compelling about PDF and Flash combined. Share is a small taste of that.
I think the announcement is big for a few reasons. Firstly, it shows that Adobe is playing with the big guys (Google, Yahoo). If we see something that can apply to our business, we won't hesitate to jump in and acquire a company. Secondly, I think it shows where Adobe is thinking in the future. Hosted services play a huge role in the web. Adobe has both a great platform (Flash) and a great format (PDF) with which to distribute data. I think we'll be moving further and further into the hosted services space. That combination gives us a huge advantage over other companies. Thirdly I think it shows a good shift in Adobe as a company. Adobe has never really been able to monetize the platform that they've created. Now they're starting to. This isn't quite the "web office" that was touted a while ago, but if you think about the good parts of Buzzword (collaboration, great UX, document power) a a pattern starts to emerge. Adobe is definitely getting into a new game. As an employee, I'm very excited about that.
RIA platforms are much more important than people realize I think. I have no doubt that Microsoft will blow people away with a Silverlight version of Microsoft Live. They can do that because they have the rich platform. Adobe has had that for a long time. Now we're finally moving into new things and diversifying as a company.