Adobe Inc. quietly extended its collaboration abilities with the acquisition earlier this year of Antepo Inc., an enterprise instant messaging solution.Its product, called Open Presence Network (OPN) system, was designed to be a standalone application or a platform on which messaging systems can be built.
Antepo technologies aren’t expected to be integrated into Adobe applications for at least several months.
However, when it does Adobe believes it will add significant abilities to users of Acrobat and Connect, the Web conferencing application formerly called Breeze that it gained from the purchase of Macromedia.
Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s vice-president of product marketing for its knowledge worker unit, said Antepo’s online presence technology could give Connect users the ability to detect if a member of a group is online for a Web conference.
Similarly, presence capabilities could be embedded into an Acrobat document being circulated within an organization. It could detect if a person who attached a comment to the PDF file is online and could be reached for further discussion.
“What we really like about Antepo is their technology around XMPP [extensible messaging and presence protocol, an XML-based messaging standard] and SIP [session initialling protocol, an IT telephony standard] that can integrate with different presence networks like IBM Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server,” said Lynch.
“We think presence is going to be an important part of knowledge worker communication in the future,” he said. It will not only give staffers ability to chat, he said, but also to detect whether people are online and list their subject expertise for a discussion.
No date Lynch wouldn’t say when Antepo technologies will be incorporated into Adobe products. He did note that Acrobat 8 and the newly-branded Connect were only released in November.Gartner analyst David Mario Smith, who covers instant messaging and team collaboration applications, thinks Adobe’s aim is wider than mere presence because OPN also supports voice over IP.
Antepo products “opens a whole new world of being able to tie into softphones and so forth,” he said.
Adobe’s products (such as Acrobat, Flash and Photoshop) are popular with creative professionals, Smith said, but selling collaborative applications to enterprises will be different.
In essence, it will try to “sneak in” to enterprises with collaboration-enabled products, leveraging other companies’ applications, he said.
“So I see Adobe looking to not so much replace Microsoft or IBM in enterprises but looking to add value to (their) current infrastructures,” said Smith, and tie into Notes and Office data repositories.
He also cautioned that Adobe hasn’t integrated Antepo technologies yet into its lineup, which he suspects will take 12 to 18 months.
“There are going to be issues with tying it into corporate directories and all sorts of other stuff, and then market it successfully. Also, what do they do with current Antipo customers?”
Still, he said Adobe has “a very smart strategy.”
Smith also said the acquisition endangers smaller instant messaging companies, who may be swept up by larger software companies.
Lynch said that Adobe wants to capitalize on products that operate across platforms, integrating them with collaborative capabilities.
“Our strength and advantage is communicating and collaborating with people on a mixed set of platforms outside the firewall,” he said.
“As companies work with more partners and the extended enterprise, our solutions can benefit them.”