Adobe acquires electronic signature company EchoSign

Adobe is integrating the electronic signature technology into its document exchange services platform

Adobe Systems said on Monday that it has acquired EchoSign, a web-based provider of electronic signatures and signature automation, for an undisclosed amount.

Adobe plans to add EchoSign's electronic signature technology to its document exchange services platform, to reduce the time, cost, and complexity associated with having a document signed, the company said.

The company plans to discontinue as a result of the acquisition a cloud-based electronic signature service, called eSignatures or eSign, that it released in May last year. The service is currently in beta and will be targeted for end-of-life, a company spokeswoman said on Monday. With the acquisition of EchoSign, existing users of Adobe eSign beta service will "benefit from a much richer and complete product offering for their electronic signature needs", she added.

The EchoSign technology, which is currently used by over 3 million users worldwide, will be integrated with other Adobe document services including SendNow for managed file transfer, FormsCentral for form creation and CreatePDF for online PDF creation.

The founders of EchoSign and all full-time employees will join Adobe, the company said.

"Together, our aim is to make electronic signatures the standard way for people to sign documents and automate contracting," Jason Lemkin, CEO of EchoSign in Palo Alto, California said in a blog post on Sunday on the company's website.

The opportunity for Adobe is large as hundreds of thousands of overnight envelopes are currently sent for signature every day, the Adobe spokeswoman said. FedEx's revenue from overnight envelopes, for example, was US$1.64 billion in 2010.

EchoSign provides a subscription-based service to individuals, small to medium-size businesses, and enterprise customers, assisting the signature process and automatically storing and managing all signed documents, Adobe said.

The EchoSign service includes a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) for integration with company-specific solutions to improve the process of sending, tracking and signing digital documents, it added. The technology is already integrated with services from vendors like Salesforce.com and NetSuite, a vendor of cloud computing business management software suites.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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