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Adobe joins rest of industry in going for Microsoft’s throat

Adobe tonight is announcing that they’ve bought Virtual Ubiquity, makers of the very cool BuzzWord (which is now open for public trials). For the details, go and see TechCrunch’s post cause I’m too lazy to write up all the news word-for-word (I was driving when I got the call, so might have missed some important detail and we were both embargoed until 9 p.m. tonight — I’m sure this news will be covered in depth by tons of bloggers) I saw this at an Adobe event a few months ago and wondered why it hadn’t been acquired yet cause it’s a lot nicer than what other companies have shown me so far like Google’s Docs.

Adobe also announced a cool new widget that’ll make sharing files easy, especially PDFs, which will be automatically rendered by this new widget. I’ll play around with that and see how it compares to some of the others from places like Microsoft’s Folder Share and Box.net, among others.

I was briefed on Friday by Adobe and asked them whether this represented a new strategy for Adobe and whether or not we’d see more acquisitions. The non-committal answer on the other end of the phone told me the answer. Look for Adobe to make other moves in the near future to dive further into the deep end of the Web 2.0 Work 2.0 pool.

Don’t pay attention to what Adobe is doing here, though. Alone it doesn’t seem all that significant (even though, to me, it represents a real shift in strategy and an interesting one, to boot). But, rather, look at the bigger “Work 2.0” trend that’s underway here. I doubt that any one company will end up owning a monopoly share the way that Microsoft really controlled Work 1.0. It’s rare that I see an office worker who isn’t using Microsoft’s Office. Walk through an airport and on almost system you’ll see Outlook/Excel/PowerPoint/Word.

But, I love the new collaboration software that’s coming along. The trend got moving with Skype, but includes things like Zoho’s Office suite, Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets, the recent purchase of Zimbra (now owned by Yahoo), Edit Grid, Etelos, Atlassian, Skitch, 37 Signals (Basecamp, etc), 30 Boxes, ThinkFree, SmartSheet, Spresent, Grand Central or Callwave, Vyew, Stixy, and Concept Share. I’m sure I’m missing stuff, please add in your own favorites to the comments here and I’ll keep updating my post.

Or, as Jake Luer says: anything that keeps 18 versions of the same doc out of my inbox (I asked everyone tonight about what services came to mind when I said “Work 2.0.”).

These new services let you work with people in a whole new way. No more emailing around Word Docs or Spreadsheets or PowerPoints. Instead you pass around a URL, and work there.

Now, is Microsoft in trouble? No. Office is going to sell well for quite a few years still.

But there is blood in the water. If you try all these companies listed in this post you can work together with people in new ways that simply aren’t possible using Microsoft stuff.

Anyway, Adobe tonight just added onto the pile. This is significant. It’s amazing to me that Microsoft is letting all this competition build up strength and power. How long before people other than the “insiders/early adopters” start switching over to these newer services? I know I’m using Microsoft stuff less and less. There IS blood in the water even if only the early sharks can smell it.

UPDATE: More on TechMeme about these announcements.

UPDATE2: Microsoft itself is working on an online collaborative word processor, Mary Jo Foley says. Again, don’t get waylaid by the word processing announcements here. The bigger picture is more important.