Adobe's chief executive has said web-based applications will take over from traditional desktop apps in a decade. Bruce Chizen warned that it would take that long for the industry to learn how to monetise online software.

"The desktop is a powerful, powerful machine in which to run applications. Broadband, as quick as it gets, is still going to have some limitations in the short term," said Chizen at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Buzzword

Chizen said desktop software is still a customer preference but that this would change over time, Reuters reports. When asked if the change would come within five or 10 years, he said it would almost certainly be closer to the latter.

Adobe has already started offering some applications online such as Buzzword, an online word processor it recently acquired plus Share, a web-based document organiser.

It will also launch Photoshop Express, a free tool that lets users edit photos online, and a free video editing tool called Premiere Express.

Chizen speculated that professional customers would rather pay a subscription for software than encounter advertising during everyday use.

Google leads the way with its web-based apps, branded Google Docs. But Microsoft has shown signs it believes web-based apps will be the future - although, as is the case for Adobe, such a shift would require a complete re-thinking of its business model.