Mercury - Biz Break: Adobe looks to future of signatures and Apple rides a strong wave

(18-Jul-11) Adobe added to its ubiquitous PDF document creation and management platform on Monday with the purchase of a Palo Alto-based electronic-signature company called EchoSign.

The San Jose software company had been attempting to develop its own such service, recently beta testing it, but decided to snatch up an existing startup instead. EchoSign has tens of thousands of paid subscribers who use the service to send out documents, and more than 3 million people have used the service to digitally sign contracts and other documents.

The purchase will allow Adobe to integrate the service with other software, such as SendNow, FormsCentral and CreatePDF.

"(The e-signature) market is in its early days and expanding rapidly," Kevin Lynch, vice president and general manager for Acrobat Solutions, noted.

"(EchoSign has) done a great job of lowering the barriers, allowing smaller companies to access this technology," Tim Hickernell, an analyst for Info-Tech Research Group, said. "Adobe bringing their brand will expand EchoSign's customer base even further because more companies will be willing to adopt the cloud-based solution."

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