Digital document management solutions vendor Nitro is introducing Nitro Pro 8.5, the newest release of its flagship desktop PDF application. Nitro is positioning Nitro Pro 8.5 as a replacement for Adobe Acrobat.

Nitro Looks to Boost Presence

New and upgraded features of the solution, which Nitro says offers tools for all aspects of PDF management, include conversion of PDF files to PowerPoint files, the ability to view, fill out and save dynamic XFA (XML architecture) forms, web browser plug-ins designed to increase stability and robustness of rendering enhancements, improved portfolio document handling and workflows, and better quality of images and text on printed PDF documents.

Nitro appears to be benefiting from a USD $3.5 million round of investment funding it received from Australia-based Starfish Ventures in April 2012. At that time, Nitro CEO Sam Chandler said this initial round of institutional funding would " enable us to hire aggressively and build genuinely transformative technology for the entire document lifecycle. We want to bring the 'future of work' here, now.”

A CMSWire article on the funding speculated that it would help Nitro compete with leading document collaboration technology providers such as Box. While this may be true, Nitro’s decision to directly challenge Adobe’s domination of the PDF marketplace is a bold move indeed.

Even the most dominant IT companies are not immune to competition from newer vendors (i.e., Microsoft’s battles with companies like Google and Facebook to pretty much control everything), but seeking to replace a solution as well-established and embedded as Acrobat is a tall order. Nitro likely hopes to obtain just enough of Acrobat’s market share to turn  a profit, or the vendor better have some more financing up its sleeve as the marketing costs alone will require a lot more spending.

Virus Immunity May Help Nitro

Interestingly, on the same day that Nitro announced its new effort to replace Adobe Acrobat, word spread that a “zero-day” is attacking PDFs opened in the latest updates for Adobe Reader XI 11.0.01 for Windows and Macintosh, Adobe Reader X (10.1.5) for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 9.5.3 for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. As reported by ZDNet, PDF users are being warned not to open any unknown PDF files until a new patch from Adobe is confirmed. Much as the relative infrequency of Mac viruses compared to the rate of PC viruses helped bolster Mac’s popularity as a legitimate PC alternative, it is possible that the lower likelihood of viruses targeting PDFs opened using Nitro than opened using Adobe may help give Nitro some credibility in the market.

Nitro Pro 8.5 is priced at USD $119.99 per single user license. A free, fully functional 14-day trial is available for download at:  Nitro’s Volume Licensing Program (VLP) also offers discounted licensing for larger deployments among businesses and workgroups with prioritized support and dedicated account service. Nitro Pro has close to 500,000 global customers, including more than half of the Fortune 100.