On Microsoft, PDF and the threat to open standards

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Adobe had been in talks with Microsoft and had expressed concerns about Microsoft’s inclusion of PDF (and other document export features) in the next version of Office. This triggered quite a bit of discussion online, and I wanted to make a quick post and hopefully help to clear up some of the resulting confusion as well as help correct some misperceptions.


It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we had been talking to Microsoft around concerns we may have with Windows and Office. We are one of the largest (if not the largest) companies that target Windows, so I would imagine that we are in touch with Microsoft quite often. What surprised me though, was that Microsoft went so public with this in such an obviously coordinated (too coordinated?) press and blogging campaign, in order to spread a bunch of FUD and confusion about what was going on.Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research has a couple of good posts (here and here) that give a pretty good overview of what is going on.So, let me try and clarify a couple of things, as I understand them.First, PDF is an open ISO standard (actually incorporated into a number of ISO standards). Because PDF is an open standard, anyone can use it (i.e. export to it, import it, etc…). This fact is reflected in the widespread adoption and support of PDF.What is different in this case, is that unlike any other company or group implementing the PDF specification, Microsoft is a monopoly. As a monopoly, Microsoft is under legal constraints and can’t leverage those monopolies (in Windows and Office) to unfairly muscle into new markets.Thus, the issue doesn’t appear to be whether Microsoft can use the PDF specification, but rather whether they will be allowed to leverage their dominant position in Windows and Office to muscle into a new competitive space. Even if they included perfect PDF export in Office, does anyone actually expect them to not slowly break or abandon updates to the feature over time (especially since they are introducing their own, non-standard document format (XPS))? This would result in either a fragmented standard, or users who can’t take advantage of new features as the standards evolve.Microsoft has consistently demonstrated a practice of undermining cross platform technologies (think HTML/Browsers and Java) and constrain innovation and has not been benign in its approach to “embracing” existing non-Microsoft standards.Finally, from what I understand, if there was any legal action to be brought against Microsoft, it would most likely be brought by whichever government agencies are responsible for monitoring and regulating monopolies. Thus, Microsoft’s claims that we shouldn’t “sue people for using an open file format” seems a little odd.It is clear Microsoft sees PDF as a competitor to target with their non-standard XPS Format. And to be quite honest, given Microsoft’s history of embracing and then extending existing formats, I personally don’t see how it can be trusted to not try and do the same with PDF (or any other standard that it wants to control). It is interesting that Microsoft only seems to be interested in PDF support at the exact same time that they are trying to introduce a direct competitor to PDF, one which is non-standard, and controlled by Microsoft.Anyways, I am sure there will be much more conversation about this over the coming days and weeks. I will be the first to admit that Adobe has not been as quick in responding to this online as we should have been. I think that Microsoft’s communication strategy caught us off guard. However, I do know that we are taking steps to ensure that we can be more responsive to stuff like this online in the future.Updated : Fixed broken links.

43 Responses to On Microsoft, PDF and the threat to open standards

  1. Jack says:

    Microsoft does what they want and I’m happy to can export pdfs from the new offices software save me the money to buy the crapy pdf software form Adobe and lets hope that it can open/read the pdf files also that will let me get rid of the crapy pdf reader also 1 program less!”This would result in either a fragmented standard, or users who can’t take advantage of new features as the standards evolve.”Take advantage of new features and new evolve standards!!?? the new features that adobe added in the last 3 years just maked the file size bigger and let the reader use way too much cpu power and ram.Any way in place that adobe lossing time on something like this maybe they can bring out a 64 bit version of there photoshop cs2 and flash 8 software

  2. Amit Agarwal says:

    It’s been a long wait but finally we get to hear Adobe’s version of the story.Thank you.Reading your post, I think smaller companies that develop software for exporting PDF files from HTML and other formats can breathe a sigh of relief. Adobe won’t be going after them.

  3. Mike says:

    I have reviewed the ‘save as PDF’ functionality in Office 2007 and it automatically creates PDFs that are perfectly accessible to the disabled (‘tagged’) as long as the office document is properly stiled. It does this conversion much better automated than Adobe’s own tools (client or server side, I’ve reviewed both for accessibility). It passes Adobe’s own accessbility checks better than Adobe does.So it’s ok if everyone else can make pdfs in their software but not Microsoft because they’re a ‘monopoly’? Appearently you ignorant fools don’t know (1) the definition of an ‘open standard’, and (2) ADOBE is also a monopoly.You know what’s really funny? Adobe has been scared their whole life about the boogeyman Microsoft, and the truth is for years Microsoft never challenged Adobe in their market. Adobe had PDFs, Photoshop, Primere, all excellent tools that MS never challenged. But you were so scared of M$ you had to buy Macromedia, and guess what? THAT, and only that caught M$ attention, because now ADOBE IS NOW THE MONOPOLY in pc photo editing, video editing, web design, etc. Your own irrational fear of a Monopoly has lead you to make yourselves into a monopoly, and now you actually cry wolf when you start to face competition from them?Well you finaly get to have your fight with MS, and you’re caught completely unprepared? Given the quality of the software Adobe now puts out, I’d prefer MS to win – at least they’re a monopoly that can produce decent software.

  4. Harry Pfleger says:

    Microsoft drives technology like a Ferrari, where as Adobe drives like a 2CV. What I’d like to state is: look at XPS and PDF from a developer and future stand point. Which one would you like to use? Where is the potential? Can we wait for Adobe that they enhance PDF the way it should be? Who can challenge the PDF specification (PDF is very important!) into the XML future? Someone has to do the job. Thankx to Microsoft!!!

  5. >Who can challenge the PDF specification (PDF is very important!) into the XML future? Someone has to do the job. Thankx to Microsoft!!!I think you get at the heart of the issue. This is really about XPS and not PDF.As I wrote in my post:–Thus, the issue doesn’t appear to be whether Microsoft can use the PDF specification, but rather whether they will be allowed to leverage their dominant position in Windows and Office to muscle into a new competitive space. Even if they included perfect PDF export in Office, does anyone actually expect them to not slowly break or abandon updates to the feature over time (especially since they are introducing their own, non-standard document format (XPS))? This would result in either a fragmented standard, or users who can’t take advantage of new features as the standards evolve.–mike chambersmesh@adobe.com

  6. Philip Colmer says:

    Where is the benefit to Microsoft in creating PDF files that cannot be read properly by existing PDF tools, of which the most popular is surely the Adobe Acrobat Reader?If Microsoft don’t keep the tool up to date, customers WILL go elsewhere if they want the new features.

  7. –Where is the benefit to Microsoft in creating PDF files that cannot be read properly by existing PDF tools, of which the most popular is surely the Adobe Acrobat Reader?–I suggest looking at the history of what Microsoft tried to do with Java.>If Microsoft don’t keep the tool up to date, customers WILL go elsewhereI think that is what Microsoft is hoping. They will turn away from the standard (in this case PDF), and Microsoft will have their own competing format waiting (XPS).mike chambersmesh@adobe.com

  8. Tomas Fjetland says:

    Hm, I’m not american so there’s probably something about the process I don’t know about, but after reading about this decision coming after discussions with Adobe (doesn’t sound like it’s old strongarmin tactics to me), and this sentence:”Thus, the issue doesn’t appear to be whether Microsoft can use the PDF specification, but rather whether they will be allowed to leverage their dominant position in Windows and Office to muscle into a new competitive space. “…I’m thinking to myself. Is it really Adobe’s job to control what MSFT can and cannot do in their dominant position? Something doesn’t quite sound right here.

  9. >Is it really Adobe’s job to control what MSFT can and cannot do in their dominant position?Tomas, I posted my understanding of this in the post:–Finally, from what I understand, if there was any legal action to be brought against Microsoft, it would most likely be brought by whichever government agencies are responsible for monitoring and regulating monopolies. Thus, Microsoft’s claims that we shouldn’t “sue people for using an open file format” seems a little odd.–hope that helps…mike chambersmesh@adobe.com

  10. christian says:

    I think I understand your concerns, but I’m wondering how much can be forbidden to a monopoly company, like M$, to use an open standard format. There is not already any law that avoid to make an open stardard in a proprietary one, or your concern is that they are going to extend it in a very competitive open standar format? Always looking the past to see the future doesn’t necessary bring so far (racism teach), and to be onest I’m a bit sick on seeing Mac user being able to create pdf natively from their OS.

  11. Peter Scoler says:

    Those using Macs must be watching this recent spat with some measure of glee, given the piss poor treatment they have been getting from the largest graphics vendor on their platform.

  12. Gion says:

    Lets make some things clear here :1) Monopoly is the most powerful tool to impose something and disable anything(any software in our case).2) Open is OPEN, including for Microsoft or anyone.You have to find a way to make these things toghther, make them distribute Adobe Reader in every windows release/update. And make them produce standards compliant PDF and a valid one, make the default file association to open the file with Adobe Reader….You have your teams there, there should be a compromise from where everyone would benefit.Or else, go to linux world and help them build a pollished distro that would compete Windows.(this is probably a joke for you, but it is time to do some support in this area too, like big software companys do it already)

  13. John Hattan says:

    Given that RTF, HTML, and CSV are also standard open file formats, would you similarly support preventing new versions of Office from exporting to them too?

  14. Joeflash says:

    Whether or not you like Adobe’s implementation of the PDF standard, its products or its performance in the marketplace, or even whether Adobe is actually now a monopoly itself, is completely besides the point. I could have a bone to pick with Adobe on its not-so-lean implementation of the PDF standard myself, but I won’t.The fact of the matter is that Microsoft is up to its old tricks again: trying to discourage support for an already very strong, very open standard, in this case by insinuating that Adobe TOLD MIROSOFT to do something on pain of legal action, in this case take out the “Save as PDF” feature. If I read Mike’s response correctly, no such thing occurred. When the hell was the last time you heard of ANYONE telling Microsoft what to do, save the US Government? Sounds like a very elaborate snow job to me.I thought such devious tactics resided only in the realm of politics. Shame on them. Maybe Bill Gates should run for President.

  15. Mike,Thanks for clarifying Adobe’s position. There are always two sides to every story I guess. It makes more sense now anyhow.One minor point, while your comment that, “Microsoft has consistently demonstrated a practice of undermining cross platform technologies” has some basis for truth in days gone by, I think Microsoft has changed quite a bit over the last five years and nowadays your comment , taken out of context, could be considered a little harsh.Over the last five years, Microsoft, along with IBM and BEA and others, has played a key role in the development and promotion of several cross-platform technologies such as XML, SOAP and WS-*.

  16. Bob Smith says:

    Adobe just seems to be getting worse and worse. We have poor support for the mac (CS), and now poor support in Windows.Having system wide support for PDF’s in Windows and office would have been excellent (just like the mac), Adobe Reader is a PITA on windows, each one seems to be incompatible with the other.

  17. Benny says:

    I really hope Adobe steps over it’s fears of what MS might do with the PDF standard. Try to join forces to make PDF even better and if I understood right MS offered to include the new flash player in Vista. That should be a very worthy offer to Adobe, please take it!Even if it’s true that MS is trying to compete (overrun PDF) with their XPS format I would love to see you to take on that competition by improving PDF to make it better then XPS. Who knows maybe you could push XPS out of the market and PDF would stay the dominant format? Microsoft proved so far that they aren’t really interested in cross platform solutions (even if they say they do, take e.g. .Net) and that’s the big pre for PDF. If Adobe makes sure PDF keeps up with what XPS has to offer (I admit I even don’t know yet) then I don’t expect problems for PDF, on the contrary. Adobe should surely be able to take the wind of MS sails by improving PDF, I have no doubt about that Microsoft also know that authors/developers don’t want them to step aside of standards and that if they do that compatetive offers (like FireFox for example) will get bigger market shares. I think (well hope 😉 they by now learned that they get more satisfied customers by sticking to the standards.If you say MS has a history of extending standards on their own that may be true but isn’t it also a fact that they learned that this wasn’t always a good idea, if you look at the upcoming MSIE 7 then it’s much more standards compliant then MSIE6, well that is what I picked up from others who looked more into the MSIE7 beta.Anyway I hope Adobe will be able to find a solution which will allow Microsoft to use PDF as one off the standard save options, with addition of SWF player to Vista and a written commitment of them that they won’t extend the standard without your consent or so and maybe even a commitment to include new Flash Players in the automated Vista updates. Wow wouldn’t that be great news for future newest player penetration or what?Thanks for the openness and this opportunity to discuss this with us. It would be great to have such a discussion with you guys over other issues that mind boggles us developers. Like why Adobe doesn’t think it’s a good and okay idea for us to include the name of the Adobe products we target in our product names if they are especially written to extend those products. For example the very disappointing news that Adobe forced the maker of FlashObject to rename it without using Flash in it’s name.

  18. Harry Pfleger says:

    Nice comment Benny! In my opinion the problem Adobe is facing with PDF and XPS is time. In my view the biggest advantage of XPS is XML, I am not sure about all the pre-press stuff, but I am sure this is quite complicated and MS has still to prove that XPS is working well in this area. So one year from now, I hope Adobe has made the step to have its PDF moved to XML and the issue will be not as hot as now. But Adobe needs time and Microsoft seems to be ahead, that’s why Adobe is not co-working…

  19. Brett Brewer says:

    I’m still not sure what’s going on between Adobe and Microsoft, but it is kinda funny to hear Adobe folks complaining about someone trying to muscle in on Adobe’s PDF standards. I was fortunate enough to see John Warnock speak at FlashForward 2000 when Adobe was dumb enough to try to pull the same standards trickery with the Flash format by pushing SVG as a new vector graphics standard. I’m not sure what was funnier, watching John Warnock try to push LiveMotion to a crowd of people who were totally unsympathetic (they saw right through SVG), or finding out that the developers who put together the LiveMotion demo presentation actually used Flash because LiveMotion didn’t work right. So it seems like Adobe has a split personality when it comes to open standards and monopoly power. As a developer who came to rely on Macromedia tools while Adobe spent the better part of a decade dropping the ball on web development tools, I am quite frankly, scared shitless that Adobe is going to destroy my favorite tools or make decisions that will hurt our entire industry. Decisions such as going after Dmitry Sklyarov for hacking the encryption of the “open” PDF standard. How do you sue someone for hacking an open standard? So anyway, I guess only time will tell which monopoly we should really be worried about. I will say one thing though — I can’t imagine a future in which I would ever do creative work with a Microsoft toolset, so I’m pulling for Adobe. As for web application development, that will all depend on what happens with Dreamweaver. I do most of my development with Dreamweaver, but somtimes I’m forced to use a real IDE such as PHPed for my PHP development and I don’t see Microsoft filling that void for anything other than .NET. I’d love to see Dreamweaver incorporate that level of IDE functionality, but now I’m way off topic.

  20. Your reasoning Mike, however, belies the principle of open standard. If Microsoft tried to futz with the PDF standard — by “breaking” it or something else — it would neither be PDF nor compatible with other PDF readers. In the age when XML can undercut all of PDF’s advantages, and do so without spending a dime on software, I hope Adobe reconsiders and admits its mistake.

  21. This is a very funny story and here is the deal:If Microsoft is not allowed to built-in PDF you can bet that it is just a matter of time before everybody will start using the XPS file format as Microsoft will make sure that all their software work with XPS and also Hardware devices.I know what you guys are trying to pull. Just wait till everybody gets used to the XPS file format and then sue them for that monopoly.Seriously stop whining about it, XPS will replace PDF, it’s just a matter of time so prepare to take it like a man ;-)PS: I love the FireFox icon at the bottom of this screen, it’s so, uhm, anti-Microsoft 🙂

  22. “Like why Adobe doesn’t think it’s a good and okay idea for us to include the name of the Adobe products we target in our product names if they are especially written to extend those products.”It’s about branding. If you make a product that does or doesn’t use Flash, having the name Flash in the product name can be confusing to people who use it because they might think it is somehow supported/created by Adobe.Look at it this way: Say you created a product called BobLogic (sorry if there really is a product called this) and someone else creates a product called BobLogic Compressor. Now that may sound great, until you get a thousand eMails and phone calls from people looking for answers to questions about the product and expecting support for the product from you. Of course you tell them to talk to the other company. But now you spend your time trying to redirect people and clear up the confusion. Plus, anyone who gets frustrated with the other product understands it to be BobLogic, not some product by some other company. Now your brand of BobLogic goes down the toilet. Even if the company makes a stellar product you still have to deal with the association to your company, which doesn’t exist. And what if you wanted your product to go in a different direction from where the other product is heading? Now you have very confused users. Now expand that to Adobe’s customer-base …Adobe doesn’t clamp down without reason. I don’t think MS would want you creating a product called MS Office Exporter. Heck, they sued that guy about his web site name because it _sounded_ like their company name: Mike Row Soft.It’s not about causing trouble for the little guy, it’s about protecting your branding. Adobe doesn’t do it menacingly, they don’t want to cause grief for developers, they just need to protect themselves.

  23. >If Microsoft tried to futz with the PDF standard — by “breaking” it or something else — it would neither be PDF nor compatible with other PDF readers.Yes, that is correct and is the exact tactic that Microsoft tried to use to fragment Java.I personally don’t think it is a coincidence that Microsoft has suddenly become interested in PDF at the exact same time that they are developing their own, Microsoft controlled competitive format (XPS).mike chambersmesh@adobe.com

  24. VJ says:

    “Those using Macs must be watching this recent spat with some measure of glee, given the piss poor treatment they have been getting from the largest graphics vendor on their platform.”Yeah, like continuing to publish most of their applications for a platform that most companies had abandoned. So piss poor.”because now ADOBE IS NOW THE MONOPOLY in pc photo editing, video editing, web design, etc.”Well, except for Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, any video editing on Apple, Picasa, FrontPage, the dozens and dozens of html editors available in the OpenSource world, etc. Yeah, no competitors out there.And you know, if Adobe changed something, people would just stop using JPGs, HTML, AVI, etc. because of it’s so-called monopoly, eh?What makes Microsoft a monopoly is that one decision to take something under their wing can almost wipe out entire industries worldwide. MS is not just a monopoly of some niche industry or part of the industry, it’s a monopoly of a critical part of a critical industry that affects most of the modern world.Yes, open standards are open for everyone. That’s not the issue. Ever watch SpiderMan? “With great power comes greate responsibility.” Any one can swing a club around. But which can do more damage with it, the soldier or the 500 foot tall giant? This is not about whether MS can user the standard or not, but requiring them to use it responsibly.

  25. bryan says:

    Honestly, I don’t feel like I am getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this issue from Microsoft or Adobe.What are you guys leaving out?I do have two comments, though, and they come down a little pro-MS:1) When you talk about the Java thing, don’t forget that it took two to tango. McNealy doublecrossed MS at least as often as they doublecrossed him. He continued to be a snarky-snarky-greedyboy throughout the entire process, while other companies that worked well with MS went on to great success.2) I have seen Microsoft blossom into a much more open and transparent entity since the close of the DoJ antitrust suit. The alternate explanation for MS becoming interested in PDF at the same time they bring out XPS could simply be that they hear the customers calling for format parity – and have decided to deliver it!Mike, are you guys sure you’re not letting past sins cloud your vision of what could be a very rosy future indeed? As others have noted – if Adobe was proud of its ability to compete with MS formats, it would be happy to do this, even on MS’s home field.

  26. mark says:

    Here is an interesting question. Why would Adobe suggest that MSFT charge for the conversion tool insteading of including it in Office 12? Would it be to protect Acrobat Professional which would basically be rendered obsolete?

  27. Plain Jane says:

    It’s true that XPS is not standards based, but looking at their license, MS is being very open with the technology and the format. They essentially grant a royalty-free license to anyone who wants to read, write or render the format.

  28. Joal says:

    The repeated cry of “Look what Microsoft tried to do to Java” appears a lot more like FUD tactics to me than anything Microsoft have put out so far.In the case of Java, the problem would have been programs that work only on Microsoft’s “reader” (Java machine). The threat existed because Microsoft would have controlled the vast majority of the readers.It’s similar to how IE has caused problems with HTML and CSS standards, because again, Microsoft has control of the vast majority of the readers.In this case, though, most people use Adobe’s free reader. If Microsoft’s “save as PDF” produced PDFs that didn’t work with it, then people would just use something else to write their PDFs. If Microsoft were also bundling a PDF reader, then I could certainly see the issue (please correct me if they are). But this is about a writer, and I fail to see how them producing and bundling an out-of-date writer could hurt anyone except Microsoft.In fact, if they really wanted to hurt PDF, I would have expected them to simply bundle an XPS reader and writer and ignore PDF completely.Please feel free to correct my (clearly naive) misconceptions!

  29. Scott says:

    As a consumer, I welcome the ability to export my office docs to PDF. I think your argument is based completely on the assumption that Microsoft will “slowly break or abandon updates to the feature over time (especially since they are introducing their own, non-standard document format (XPS))”. Where is the proof of that?Adobe is not playing this farily.In the end, it really doesn’t matter because there are lots of free options out there to create PDF documents.

  30. jace says:

    If somehow Microsoft could just take over this market completely we could be rid of the behemoth that is Adobe forever…

  31. David says:

    Mike, I think you might be a little too subtle in your post. Zdnet made a post (http://www.zdnet.com/5208-12516-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=22021&messageID=418491&start=-47) talking about this, and I left a comment (in response to another one) and tried to spell the issue out more explicitly.Hang on, have we all forgotten WHY Microsoft has to play by a different set of rules? They abused their monopoly position, flaunted it in internal e-mails, and then got caught red handed. They AGREED to play by a different set of rules, instead of getting broken up.The fear from Adobe’s point of view is that MS will introduce a “Click here to convert to PDF” now and a “Click here to convert to PDF and include some fancy stuff that will make your PDF work better – maybe even editable – with Word and not any other program” in the future. Given MS history of playing loose and fast with HTML, JavaScript and Java standards, to the point where they simply do not work if you use a MS product, I think Adobe is perfectly justified in their concerns.The problem is that MS wants it’s portable document standard (XPS) to be accepted as an ‘open’ standard, when it isn’t, and won’t be accepted as such. MS has simply been flying off the handle at this point – but instead of bringing themselves up to the point where their products can be accepted as “open”, they are trying to dilute others products, so there’s very little difference between them. This, as Ryan pointed out, is hard to do under their set of rules. But hey, when they did this in the past, it was never good for the consumer, and it won’t be either, if they are allowed to do it again. IMHO.Cheers,DavidI thought that spelled things out a little more directly.David

  32. tc says:

    I find it humorous all the MS supporters here. How soon they forget history.First, let’s look at the Java story. Microsoft was a Java licensee. As such, there were certain rules to follow in regards to class files Microsoft developed. They could develop their own class files, but they needed to be in their own domain path. What did MS do? They extended Sun’s core class files. Therefore, they created an incompatibilty. It would exclude Sun from creating classes in the same classpath using the same names. There are other things that MS did, but this was one of the core issues in the lawsuit. They didn’t follow their license agreement with Sun. So, Sun revoked their license.Second, Mike correct me if I am wrong, PDF is an open specification. However, I believe some of the PDF technology does require a license to use. To use PDF SDK, one needs to sign a license agreement with Adobe. Therefore, if MS is a PDF SDK licensee, I could see the same situation occurring as what happened with Sun and Java. Being a PDF SDK licensee means you have inside knowledge how to best work with PDF. This isn’t the case of someone back engineering how to perform certain actions based on an open specification.I am reading between the lines here, but it is my guess that MS’s save to PDF was taking shortcuts that were based on Adobe’s methodology, instead of inventing their own. Further, they were utilizing this same methodolgy in their competing product. Ergo, facto, they were doing their classic embrace and extend, not just writing their own methods based on an open specification.I am not sure if Mike can comment, but from Mike’s comments, I believe their is more to the story than MS just implementing an open standard.

  33. Richard says:

    So even if Microsoft implemented your product perfectly and included it for free in the de facto standard business app, Adobe isn’t satisfied because Microsoft MIGHT break it somehow in the future? But if Microsoft allowed it to be purchased separately, suddenly that’s okay? Sorry, it’s just too fishy. I can understand the hesitation, but if Microsoft can do it perfectly and still not get it right in your eyes, that’s just ridiculous.

  34. Anand says:

    American companies are having a monopoly on computer software. Microsoft, Adobe, SUN, IBM, GOOGLE etc. So do you suggest that european,asian and afrian countries should keep all your companies under magnifying glass, so that you dont include any new technologies??If you are going to get a good product then people will buy it for sure. So instead of crying like a baby you need to get some good stuff. PDF for sure is getting crappy nowadays.FYI openoffice is a monopoly in linux based systems. So why dont you sue them as well??

  35. James Mullins says:

    Windows Media Player, Pocket PC, and Xbox. What do these three things that have been humming along inside the ‘newer, gentler’ Microsoft have in common with Microsoft’s new format? I’m pretty sure Adobe knows the answer to that one which is why they are concerned and I think they have every right to be.Hell, if I picked up dog crap for a living and Microsoft said they were looking into the market, I’d be concerned, especially if they started out by saying that they were going to buy some of the tools from me to do the job because it was “what their customers were demanding”.

  36. Matt says:

    Mike,You are wrong-wrong-wrong-wrong-wrong. (That’s 5x wrong). I’m not-at-all a Microsoft supporter. If Adobe is okay with MS doing PDF writing so long as they charge for that, it SCREAMS of an attempt to preserve Adobe’s ability to charge $250 for a full license of Acrobat Standard just to print to PDFs.There are all sorts of ways to ensure MS doesn’t break the standard. For example, you could agree to submit MS’s code to a neutral third-party who would confirm that valid PDFs are emitted. Or, MS could pay Adobe to develop a PDF printer driver that ships with office.In any event, the ‘prior restraint’ argument of ‘they’ve been bad before, they’ll do it again!’ is rather weak. MS has been fined and punished by the US government and the EU government, and a process is in place to review their business practices.What you’re saying is, despite all that oversight, MS can’t be trusted, by definition. That’s a crap argument, and I expect far better from an engineer, who should be capable of thinking logically. If they can’t be trusted at all, there’s no point in them being in business. Adobe should cease all business relationships with them. Stop taking money for writing the OpenType renderers in Vista (what if they break the OpenType standard? what if they decide not to pay the bill?). Don’t let them include Flash in Windows anymore (what if they break the binary? sneak spyware into it?). Don’t test Adobe software on beta versions of Vista (maybe they’re secret ‘spy code’ in the copies Adobe downloads that will spirit Adobe source code away to Microsoft).I know this sounds ranty, and that my arguments are a bit over-the-top. But Adobe’s (and your) argument rings hollow. It reeks of Microsoft’s equally-hollow attempts to defend ‘innovation’ when they meant abusive business practices.If Adobe assumes that MS is just going to break the law, then there’s no way Adobe can negotiate with them in good-faith and they should just terminate all business relationships with Microsoft on that basis.The continued existence of so many other Adobe business relationships with Microsoft undermines your argument that MS is incapable of honorably working this PDF thing out and points strongly to an effort by Adobe to protect their near-monopoly on PDF creation in Windows. $250 to write PDFs (especially when it’s bundled free in OS X and elsewhere) sounds like monopoly-supported pricing to me.

  37. Brent says:

    Maybe now more people will understand why microsoft doesn’t embrace open source.Placing the blame of sueing on the federal governament is no defense for Adobe’s actions.Adobe just blinked first.

  38. sky says:

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  39. barret says:

    MikeBe honest:Are you sure Adobe is the paladin of standards preservation or Adobe is just forcing to keep the $ 250 PDF printing market alive?Is this about business or ethics?

  40. Petit says:

    Mike, I share your worries, even if there isn’t much to do about it. PDF is open and an ISO standard, so anyone can use it – nobody owns it.Let’s conclude that Adobe can’t sue Msoft for using or extending the PDF format.You refer to what Microsoft tried to do with Java, which it used under a SUN license. They did make additions to the core, which they were not allowed to do. The official reason for this was that they wanted to add some by Msoft beloved programming constructs. The obvious rational was that Java threatened their business by drawing C++ programmers to Java. It had to do with Java’s multi platform behaviour and and its built in networking capabilities. It was competitive with COM/DCOM and the plans for ( yet embryonic ) .NET.Msoft wanted Java to be “just another programming language”, while SUN promoted Java as a “platform”.The idea was to “divide and conquer”, by splitting Java into incompatible Javas.So they violated the license, payed for that and developed its own Java, the C#.If PDF could be made into incompatible PDF:s, some Msoft owned format could win the battle.I don’t believe this will happen though, as PDF has good reputation and is used by lots of heavy weight institutions, such as universities and governments.

  41. John says:

    I’m sure that if the Microsoft will implement support for PDF in the next version of Office, it will be crappy support for sure, and the created pdfs will be of low quality.I don’t like Adobe Acrobat Professional either ( I personally use http://www.amicutilities.com/pdf-writer/ but there are many alternatives, some even very cheap or free, so there is no need for Microsoft to include native pdf support on windows.If they would do it in a honest way, and have strong and stable support for PDF it would be good, but that won’t be the case for sure.

  42. angela says:

    Hello Mike, hello Amit! Amit, didn’t expect to find you here, hellos from Harmond.I just wanted to talk to Adobe insiders on my recent experience with Adobe “hiring process”. Maybe, because I was dealing with a highly unprofessional man called Brian Davis(who is with Manpower, he is not Adobe employee), the experience was very strange and I’d like to ask your opinion, because surely this is not a regular practice at Adobe. I had interviewed first on the telephone, then faxed a form and interviewed in person with a man named Mike the hiring manager and Brian the team lead. They left me with a very good impression, I felt like they really liked me. However, after weeks and weeks have passed, noone got back to me. At first, Brian said: you are definitely still in the running, hang on a little more. Then, in about a month, he wrote me an email, that Mike’s wife had a baby and because of that(!!!) the hiring process is cancelled. I have not been formally rejected after being interviwed and told job offer would close. This type of treatment is inexcusable and abhorrent; but to push the envelope a little further, the Same Brian Davis contacted me soon thereafter for another position, this time for Photoshop team, and so I had to go through the same process again, and after the telephone interview which went extremely well, he had told me that “YAY! GOOD NEWS! the hiring manager wants to see you asap”. When we scheduled the appointment, the same Brian Davis contacted me ON THE DAY OF the INTERVEW to tell me that the recruiter who handled my file left for vacation and so this had not have actually been scheduled at all. At this point, I am not sure at all what to do, the only thing I know is I do not want to deal with MANPOWER again in my life, and if Adobe is willing to give me another shot, then please give me a name of another agency Adobe works with?…Thank you so much for your attention, I do appreciate any tips you guys may have for me.

  43. I am glad Adobe makes people conform to their specification – look what happenned to HTML, JavaScript, Java, etc. The point of keeping PDF compatible is so that the PDFs will look the same on any platform. And there are open source viewers and creators on almost every major platform. Apple didn’t pay Adobe anything for its PDF capabilities and I am sure they are losing out on a lot of Adobe Acrobat purchases because of it. They don’t charge for the PDF specifications. The license is pretty simple – you need to give Adobe credit and you need to try to be compatible. This is the problem with Microsoft and I know it is popular to make fun of Adobe because it is considered cool to do everything in MS Word, but PDF is a great gift and has few and only logical restrictions. PDF!=Adobe. I create PDFs with a number of different tools and view them on many different viewers. I didn’t pay Adobe anything to do that and a number of these are licensed GPL. Unfortunately Microsoft is just plain lying again. I keep on searching for Mac and Linux viewers for XPS for people who need their computers to actually work and all I get is this promise for Microsoft to help provide viewers for other paltforms but can find no such viewer. All I can find is something that converts from XPS to PDF, but it is alpha quality, there is no binary provided, and it uses Mono which Microsoft can sue out of existence any time they want to.