Adobe Goes Mobile With App Updates, Touch Capabilities And Microsoft Partnership

The message from the Adobe MAX 2014 conference in Los Angeles Monday was clear: Adobe Systems is going mobile.

"The way that Adobe looks at mobile creativity is different than how other companies look at it. We believe that we need to make sure that, not only are these app tools not toys, they have to be full extensions of our applications delivered in a mobile device," said Scott Morris, Adobe senior marketing director of Creative Cloud and Creative Suite. "That’s really how our approach to mobile is different."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made an appearance on stage at the event to reveal an extended partnership between the two companies to optimize Adobe software for the Surface 3. While Adobe and Microsoft have been working together for decades, there is "renewed energy" in the partnership to bring the "next generation of what hardware, software can be," Nadella said on stage.

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The news for Microsoft and Adobe comes as both companies look to push their strategies further into the mobile market. The two companies didn't dig deep into specifics, but Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said the end goal is about making sure creative end users can work the way they want to.

"What I want you to take away from all of this is that we're going to do everything we can to make sure our apps work great across all the platforms that you use," Narayen said on stage with Nadella.

"We think there is a lot of opportunity here, so we're working very closely with Microsoft to optimize our entire family of apps across this entire category of devices," Morris said.

Adobe's news also extended to the mobile applications the company unveiled in June, as it added four more apps, including additions for drawing, photo editing, video and photo capture. All of the apps are tied together with the Adobe Creative Profile, which helps track a user's "creative identity" across platforms, including fonts, color palettes and more.

For users working together, Adobe announced Creative Cloud Libraries, which allows users to create and save work and images into the cloud for use across all devices. In the future, Morris said Adobe intends to add sharing capabilities to the Cloud Libraries. For example, teams working together on a project for a client can use a shared folder to standardize logos, color palettes and more and then save project drafts in the cloud.

For developers, Adobe unveiled Creative SDK 1.0, which Morris said is Adobe packing up its core software library for developers to build directly into their own mobile apps. The platform was unveiled in private beta in June and is available to developers now at no charge. Morris said more than a dozen developers already have signed up to use Creative SDK 1.0. Another addition, called Creative Cloud Extract, will help simplify the workflow between developers and designers by extracting design information without needing to open the programs.

"We're really excited about what people are going to do with it," Morris said.

While most of the updates were focused around mobile enablement, Morris said Adobe was not "slowing down innovation for the desktop." The vendor also unveiled feature updates across the entire line of desktop applications.

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The mobile push comes as Adobe's Creative Cloud is picking up steam in the marketplace, said Rob Giglio, Adobe vice president of consumer and SMB sales. Giglio said there have been more than 2.8 million subscribers to the Creative Cloud so far, with a record increase of 500,000 subscribers in the last quarter.

The opportunity for solution providers, Giglio said, is to move beyond a seat-by-seat application migration and into a "brand-new way for resellers to sell" with constant communication and deeper penetration into their customers' end users. With both desktop and the new push into mobile, Giglio said that he sees a particular opportunity for solution providers o boost hardware sales in tablets as well as more powerful desktops.

Sandy Nasseri, CEO of Southern California-based MelroseMAC, an Adobe reseller serving mostly post-production creative clients in Hollywood, said that she "loves" the updates the vendor has made to the apps. As Adobe has moved to the Creative Cloud model, Nasseri said that she has been able to shift the way that her business sells licenses to clients. She said that, while adoption was initially slow with her clients to the Creative Cloud, over the past year they have been more willing to adopt it.

"I think more and more of our customer database is getting used to using it," Nasseri said. "I think we had a slow start but now it's just taking off."

Nasseri said that she has seen boosts in her hardware sales, as MelroseMAC packages the solution with hardware such as the new Apple Mac Pro desktop. On top of that, she said MelroseMAC bundles it with other third-party solutions and add-ons to build extra value.

"For us, it's just this is a tiny piece of a bigger solution," Nasseri said.