Adobe needs rebound with latest Creative Suite

Apr 12, 2010 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Pent-up demand is expected to boost sales of the newest installment of Adobe Systems Inc.'s Creative Suite, the software package for professional designers and Web developers that brings in most of Adobe's revenue. The product launches Monday.

Bad timing hurt sales of the previous version, Creative Suite 4, which went on sale in the fall of 2008 just as the financial crisis hit. As a result, many customers - which range from small design shops and Web developers to large ad agencies - held back on buying upgrades.

In a challenge for Adobe, the launch of Creative Suite 5 comes just a few days after Apple Inc. updated the contract it has sign and effectively prevented them from importing Flash applications to the iPhone and other devices.

Adobe's Flash, the format many Web videos, games and interactive graphics are created in, does not work on the iPhone or the . Adobe has tried to work around this by giving developers a tool to translate Flash applications for the . Now, Apple says in its updated contract that developers must use Apple's own tools if they want to create apps for its gadgets.

In a statement Friday, Adobe said it was "looking into" Apple's new language and that it will continue to develop its app-generating technology and include it in Creative Suite 5.

Overall, the latest update of Creative Suite aims to make it easier for its users to include interactive elements in their designs. A new tool called Flash Catalyst, for example, lets traditional designers create interactive Web content without knowing how to code software. It uses drop-down menus that can turn boxes on a screen into buttons, for instance.

"It can take traditional print designers and help them get into interactivity," said Chris Kitchener, a senior product manager at Adobe.

This is also the first time Creative Suite includes services from Omniture, a company Adobe bought last fall for $1.8 billion. Omniture's technology helps companies measure the ways people interact with Web sites, ads and online applications.

Creative Suite 5 includes an upgrade of the Photoshop software that makes it easier to detect the borders of images within a photograph, among other new features. This could come in handy when trying to delete or move an image of a person from a photograph. Typically, detecting just where a person's hair strands end and the background begins is a painstaking process.

CS5 will cost between $1,299 and $2,599. It will ship in the next 30 days and will be available in "major languages," which in the past meant English, French, German and Japanese, by June 4, the end of Adobe's fiscal second quarter.

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