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Microsoft told to remove PDF support from Office 2007

Microsoft raised a few eyebrows when it announced that it would natively support the ability to publish documents in Adobe PDF format. Given the popularity of PDF documents (for better or worse) on the web, support from Microsoft was seen by most as a nice addition for Office 2007.

That is all about to change now due to concerns raised by Adobe. The two companies were in talks for the past four months about the inclusion of PDF functionality in Office 2007, but those talks broke down recently. Microsoft contended that it is in the clear as far as native PDF support goes and that its customers have been asking for the features. Adobe countered by saying that Microsoft should either remove the feature altogether or charge customers for it. "The 'save as PDF' feature is the second most popular request we get from customers. Adobe has told the world that PDF is an open format...and (rival) products OpenOffice, WordPerfect Office and Apple (Computer's applications) already support PDF and tout it as a selling feature. Microsoft should be able to support PDF as well," stated Microsoft attorney Dave Heiner.

As a result of the legal bickering, Microsoft will remove not only the save as PDF feature that is available in Office 2007 Beta 2, but also the ability to save documents in Microsoft’s own XPS format. Customers will, however, be able to download both options as free downloads from Microsoft's Office homepage.

Brian Jones, program manager for Microsoft Office, is really disheartened over the whole situation. He recently wrote about his thoughts on the matter in his blog:

This really is one of those cases where you just have to shake your head. Adobe got a lot of goodwill with customers, particularly in government circles, for making PDF available as an open standard. It’s amazing that they would go back on the openness pledge. Unfortunately, the really big losers here are the customers who now have one extra hassle when they deploy Office.



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gg
By rqle on 6/2/2006 9:17:18 PM , Rating: 5
i think microsoft is the only company that isnt allow to give out free software, tools, or bundle without it being call a monopoly.




RE: gg
By shortylickens on 6/2/2006 9:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
I knew it would happen.
When I downloaded the beta and first loaded Word 2007 I was pleased to see I could export PDF's.
Then I thought: "Adobe's gonna be pissed."

Oh, well. Life goes on.


RE: gg
By tuteja1986 on 6/6/2006 8:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Adobe just threaten to take Microsoft to court in EU if they didn't drop the support. If only Microsoft didn't have a such a hard time in EU court with all its anti trust case they would have a chance of winning ...


RE: gg
By hiscross on 6/2/06, Rating: 0
RE: gg
By SNM on 6/2/2006 11:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty confident Apple doesn't license it...they just use it, because it is in fact technically an open format. Shareware authors have had cheap print-to-PDF products for at least a decade.


RE: gg
By Shadowself on 6/3/2006 2:38:52 AM , Rating: 1
Apple does not currently license Adobe Postscritpt. Nor does Apple just "use" Adobe's Postscript or PDF generation software.

Apple considered getting a blanket license for Adobe Postscript for OS X from Adobe and even using Display Postscript for the OS X screen interface. However, Adobe wanted way to much money for the license.

Then Apple decided that the specs for how to make Postscript equivalent and PDF compatible documents was an open satndard. Apple then wrote all its own code to do the screen interface in a Postscript equivalent and even wrote code so all applications could "print" PDF documents documents. Adobe has not challenged Apple on this method of making equivalent documents.

Are documents generated with Apple's in house generated code 100% compatible with Adobe's own PDF generated documents? They seem to be (or are extremely close to 100% compatible) since I have never heard of any complaints of a lack of compatibility on any 'net news site or message board.

Seems as though Microsoft wanted to use Adobe's software (or software derived from Adobe's software) and not pay what Adobe wants them to. Then, rather than generate their own code to do it like Apple did, Microsoft would rather make it a pain for users (need to go do separate downloads and installs). Microsoft should just write their own, clean room version of Postscript and PDF generators and be done with it. For once I really do believe Microsoft should follow Apple's example.


RE: gg
By Bonrock on 6/3/2006 3:44:56 AM , Rating: 3
Seems as though Microsoft wanted to use Adobe's software (or software derived from Adobe's software) and not pay what Adobe wants them to.

I'm pretty sure you are wrong about that. To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft implemented their own PDF generator for Office. They did not try to include Adobe's product for free in Office; if that was what they tried to do, there would be no controversy about this. Adobe would not be saying Microsoft is a monopoly, they would be saying Microsoft is stealing.


RE: gg
By jtesoro on 6/3/2006 4:01:46 AM , Rating: 2
You can get the PDF capability for free by downloading it from the MS website, so I'm guessing that using Adobe's software isn't the issue here.


RE: gg
By stmok on 6/3/06, Rating: -1
RE: gg
By mindless1 on 6/3/2006 4:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
Well let's cut to the truth, they're a monopoly no matter how you try to slice it, these parameters don't matter.

In a way it seems only fitting, that if MS wants to treat everyone else the way they do, they shouldn't be given the same liberties as those who are such hard-liners about software.

Let's cut through all the age-old BS argument for MS and cut to the chase. Good old Bill was born ignorant as a rock, like everyone else was. What he learned was SHARED INFORMATION. All those who came before, freely GAVE, and then he announced "I wrote this for money." Well Bill, fine, so long as you don't use any of the prior art that wasn't for money because you sure as he!! didn't pay for all that prior art you used. No, you drew a line in the sand and declared "you will pay me". Fine, so long as you revert back to an ignorant soul with no possible way to know anything at all about computers, hence no possible way to write anything to sell.

Imagine if the cavemen patented fire. if the wheel were patented, or "eating food". Ludicrous as it seems, these are still the days of infancy of the computer, the operating system, and intellectual property.

Some may be older than me, others younger. I pre-date the "PC" and saw it all happening. We are in fact barely getting started in the evolution of computers. Would you buy a 1920 automobile and try to equate it to today's offerings?

The irony is that Adobe happens to be a slimeball company that got lucky when everyone adopted PDF. We need a REAL open standard, not from Adobe and not what MS is trying to pimp as it's replacement. Then again, the main reason we need it at all is MS didn't have enough competition to caus them to integrate better printing and viewing functionality into their browser. So we're back to square 1: monopoly is not good for anyone but the one company having it.


RE: mindless1
By psj6400 on 6/4/2006 8:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
I too pre-date the PC and I have also worked in the computer industry since 1986. Mindless1 you apparently forgot what it was like prior to Microsoft, hardware was proprietary, software was proprietary. Back in the day If you found a cool program that you thought was worthwhile, guess what - if it wasn't attached to the company that made the machine/os you could pretty much forget about it.

Now I am not some MS lover, but they have done alot of good things for this industry, i.e. interoperability with differing hardware/software platforms.

Because of this, we have all benefitted - so get off your high horse about MS being the bad guys and remember what it was like before them.


RE: gg
By Trisped on 6/6/2006 11:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What he learned was SHARED INFORMATION. All those who came before, freely GAVE, and then he announced "I wrote this for money."
WRONG!!!
When Bill Gates was starting out you had two groups. Yes, there were the homebrew type groups, made up of hobbyist who made their own hardware and software for fun. They would then share it with their other group members and friends for free. Then there was the other group, the corporations. The corporations (like big blue and others) made proprietary hardware and software. It only worked with what they sold. Plus, nothing was backwards compatible (like the MAC OS previous to X). What is more, they charged a fortune for their products. If companies like Microsoft had not been created there would never have been enough support for the enthusiasts. Sure, they would still be making home made PCs, but you wouldn't have one. You wouldn't have an os that is better then command line Linux.
Have you ever looked at the Linux scene? Have you ever noticed how expensive this supposedly free OS is? Have you noticed how few apps made for current Linux systems work on all Linux OSes? Have you looked at the only company that makes proprietary hardware for personal computers? If Microsoft hadn't come in with its backwards compatibility, multi hardware config support, and everything else it has brought to the table we would still be in those computing dark ages where corporations ruled with an iron fist and a small group of freedom fighters who tirelessly work on small projects to make their lives easier and more enjoyable.
You can go play with your Linux of the year, but I am going to spend $100-150 on a legal copy of MS Windows so I can work and play on a platform that provides access to everything I need at a price I can afford.


not same as full Acrobat product....
By Souka on 6/2/2006 10:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
come on Adobe...chill.

The feature in debate is "save as PDF" Not to "EDIT a PDF"

Programs like Cute PDF (free) or PDF995 ($9.95) allow users to create PDF of any document they can print.


So MS now has put this feature in "free" to their Office07 product.... so?

If anything, Adobe should be happy as it further keeps their PDF format in use.

My $.02





RE: not same as full Acrobat product....
By timmiser on 6/3/2006 12:38:16 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly! I can't believe so many people, even in this forum, don't understand the difference.

If anything, I would see Adobe profit from this because so many clueless Office 07 users would start saving as .pdf, and then realize they need to go buy Adobe's Acrobat as soon as they want to edit all those .pdf files they created in Office.


RE: not same as full Acrobat product....
By Shadowself on 6/3/06, Rating: 0
RE: not same as full Acrobat product....
By Bonrock on 6/3/2006 3:58:37 AM , Rating: 2
You made this same point in a previous post, which I responded to. Again, I need to point out that you are almost certainly wrong. Microsoft may be aggressive, but they are not retarded. You are saying that Microsoft wanted to take Adobe's non-free product and give it away for free with Office, without paying for it. How could that EVER be legal, under ANY circumstances? If that's what was happening, there wouldn't be a story here.

It's pretty clear that Microsoft WAS building their own PDF generation code, and that's what Adobe objected to.


By Locutus465 on 6/4/2006 1:35:54 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming that the PDF format actually was open as Adobe claims then what you just stated is completely irrelivant. When something becomes an "Open Standard" then it follows that any person or entity should be legally in the clear to develop any software they wish around that standard. So assuming microsoft *was* developing a 100% in house solution utilizing *no* libraries actually written by adobe they should be in the clear to do whatever they darn well please. This is the case with Open Document, Microsoft's new office document standard, .Net (more so than java), Open SSH and many other open standards.


By bldckstark on 6/7/2006 1:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm... Just because they saved it in .pdf does not mean that they can't save it as a .doc also. They can then just opent the .doc, modify it then save it as .pdf again. Kinda like saving ANY file in a format different than it's native extension.


Adobe PDF usage distinctions
By david Canada on 6/2/2006 11:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
As I recall, PDF is an open standard to read. However, Adobe always required a premium license to create a PDF files. Also at play may be Microsoft's famous extend and extinguish tactics on industry standards eg HTML. Why else would talks last 4 months and then end with the functionality available only by an Adode provided download?
I am expecting OS x systems to get more notice through 2007 in government users due to the ability to support OSx, XP and UNIX by dual booting and likely soon virtualization. So more, not less choice is ahead.




RE: Adobe PDF usage distinctions
By Bonrock on 6/3/2006 4:02:14 AM , Rating: 2
Why else would talks last 4 months and then end with the functionality available only by an Adode provided download?

Based on what I've read in numerous articles today, my understanding is that Microsoft--not Adobe--will provide the PDF functionality as a free add-on download for Office 2007. This is in lieu of including the functionality right out of the box. Nonetheless, it seems that Adobe objects even to the free download approach--this is why Microsoft is saying they expect Adobe to sue them.


By david Canada on 6/3/2006 10:13:55 AM , Rating: 2
Missed that detail....XPS might be argued to be the "extend" play. The irony though is that Microsoft has waited to this late hour to bring on PDF and is arguing for standards. It ought to be possible to more easily add standard file formats etc to Windows services and Office.. recall .zip .mp3 encoding and .pdf needed standalone programs. DVD and Divx became part of a services library.. but then Microsoft was motivated to move in the media direction due to weaknesses there and tried later to foist .wma and .wmv on the public (and gave IPOD an 80% share). I guess Adobe knows all the facts better than I do..


RE: Adobe PDF usage distinctions
By Trisped on 6/6/2006 12:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
extend and extinguish isn't likely since adobe will still provide their free reader and so many people already use the PDF format. The only thing they might do is not implement commands properly, so the viewer wouldn't display PDF files from other software properly. Since there is already a free reader available, all adobe would have to do is fix it so it actually works right, then everyone would still download it and their wouldn't be a problem.

1)acrobat reader sucks
If anything, adding a faulty PDF viewer to MSO would only help the end user. Have any of you actually looked at the acrobat reader lately? Even on reasonably fast computers it takes 3-4 times longer to load then any other desktop app. Version 7.0 isn't compatible with over half the acrobat files I come into contact with. The page viewer does not optimize for large screens well. If Adobe would put some actual money into fixing the reader, perhaps we would get a reader that is worth using. While they are at it the might as well throw in some content creation stuff too. The fact is they are just trying to squeeze every dime they can out of us, weather they have a good product or not.

2)MS didn't kill HTML
HTML was not designed to be an exceptionally robust language. As a result other languages had to be created to flush it out (like JavaScript and CSS). Microsoft didn't kill HTML, W3 (the people who created and updated HTML) declared that it would no longer be updated. Instead the created CSS to provide a more robust webpage creation tool. What Microsoft has done that is a problem is they have not properly implemented sections of CSS so those who write web pages for IE must use strange tricks to get the page to look the way they want.


Dont understand
By crystal clear on 6/3/2006 3:51:28 AM , Rating: 2
I reaaly dont understand why all these legal matters are not sorted out right in the beginning.Just why do they,MS leave such things for the last moment.
MS had all the time in the world to sort all these, items out say a year ago with Adobe/Veritas-Symntec/ & others.
Anyway we are used to work with Office 2003 & Adobe as 2 seperate softwares on our computers-we know how to manage.




RE: Dont understand
By Doug Schneider on 6/3/2006 12:36:57 PM , Rating: 3
The "last minute" is most likely not intentional on MS's part, but is on Adobe's. Adobe like everyone else now days realizes that in these (license, patent infringement, etc.) type situations it PAYS to not say anything until the last minute or until its already in use because then you can hold the company for ransom. I'm sure Adobe knew about this long ago but if they wait till now when MS has already announced it and spent time putting it in to the software they know they have more leverage to get money from MS. All these things especially the Patent infringement cases are basically boiling down to blackmail (because of the way they handle it). It starting to make me a little sick.


RE: Dont understand
By crystal clear on 6/3/2006 4:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
"It starting to make me a little sick"
There are many who think & feel the way U do-you got company.


Big gamble
By Supa on 6/2/2006 9:23:20 PM , Rating: 3
Too bad, looks like Adobe gambled and lost. Microsoft is too big to be pushed around; it's usually the other way around.

It's a good news for open office, another reason that people should give it a try.

---




RE: Big gamble
By mcphailvdoulton on 6/2/2006 9:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
i suspect it's partly cos adobe's scared of losing sales. correct me if i'm wrong, but ms office has the largest share of the office productivity market. since office (until now) lacks pdf creation support, adobe can sell many copies of acrobat pro.... wordperfect/openoffice/etc.'s native support doesn't hurt much, again because their market share isn't too large to be a cause for concern.

if ms office natively supports pdf creation, though, adobe probably fears a massive drop in sales. sure, ppl who want the extra features acrobat pro provides like document security, forms etc would still by acrobat pro, but most ppl would just want the 'save as pdf' function.that's probably why adobe wants ms to charge for it - perhaps that way adobe can then charge ms royalties to cushion their fall, or something along those lines.


RE: Big gamble
By UpajOs on 6/2/06, Rating: -1
RE: Big gamble
By PrinceGaz on 6/5/2006 8:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hey, mcphailvdoulton, you ever notice the key just to the left of "Z" on your keyboard, and another just to the right of the "/"? They're called SHIFT keys, for, you know, shifting to uppercase. Uppercase is really useful when starting sentences and writing proper names. If you'd try using those keys, we'd take your writing a bit more seriously.


Bravo. Very well put.


Aww
By Mudvillager on 6/3/2006 5:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
This sucks, I really started to like Office 07, partly because of its built in PDF creation feature.




RE: Aww
By peternelson on 6/3/06, Rating: 0
RE: Aww
By Hare on 6/3/2006 4:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
Add any free PDF-creator (cutepdf etc) and you can save pdf's. It really isn't that hard... If it doesn't come built in but you can add it in seconds, who cares?


RE: Aww
By Trisped on 6/6/2006 12:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
extend and extinguish isn't likely since adobe will still provide their free reader and so many people already use the PDF format. The only thing they might do is not implement commands properly, so the viewer wouldn't display PDF files from other software properly. Since there is already a free reader available, all adobe would have to do is fix it so it actually works right, then everyone would still download it and their wouldn't be a problem.

1)acrobat reader sucks
If anything, adding a faulty PDF viewer to MSO would only help the end user. Have any of you actually looked at the acrobat reader lately? Even on reasonably fast computers it takes 3-4 times longer to load then any other desktop app. Version 7.0 isn't compatible with over half the acrobat files I come into contact with. The page viewer does not optimize for large screens well. If Adobe would put some actual money into fixing the reader, perhaps we would get a reader that is worth using. While they are at it the might as well throw in some content creation stuff too. The fact is they are just trying to squeeze every dime they can out of us, weather they have a good product or not.

2)MS didn't kill HTML
HTML was not designed to be an exceptionally robust language. As a result other languages had to be created to flush it out (like JavaScript and CSS). Microsoft didn't kill HTML, W3 (the people who created and updated HTML) declared that it would no longer be updated. Instead the created CSS to provide a more robust webpage creation tool. What Microsoft has done that is a problem is they have not properly implemented sections of CSS so those who write web pages for IE must use strange tricks to get the page to look the way they want.


Adobe have a chance of losing everything
By InternetGeek on 6/4/2006 10:13:59 AM , Rating: 2
If this goes to court Microsoft can argue that 'if everyone else is doing it why can't we?'.

Adobe might be forced to treat every one equally and ask for payment to include PDF functionality in all programs capable of exporting to PDF. If this happens I think MS Office benefits because they can include the price of the PDF exporter in the license as an option.





RE: Adobe have a chance of losing everything
By Zoomer on 6/5/2006 12:49:55 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think it works that way. PDF is adobe property; they just decided to let almost everyone use it for free.

Let's say you buy a piece of land next to a busy street and build a toilet on it. You then decided to open the doors and let almost everyone use it for free. However, you decide not to let let your worst enemy enter it. Is that legal?

Of course it is.


By Zoomer on 6/5/2006 2:43:32 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yes, another point to note: Sticking it to microsoft does give me considerable satisfaction. ;)

Call it double standards if you will. Double standards are part and parcel of life anyway.


Office 2004
By EnzoFX on 6/2/2006 10:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
I never understood why it wasn't in Office 03, but it was in the OSX version, Office 2004, which I love. IS it then because Apple has licensed it?




RE: Office 2004
By Hare on 6/3/2006 7:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
PDF is an open format. Apple supports PDF on every level of the operating system (built-in) so writing pdf-files from a single application is trivial, no need to hardcode the functionality to the application. The OS can take care of the PDF-printing functions. I don't think there's need for a license since the format is open (one of the reasons it's popular).


What's the Adobe argument?
By maxusa on 6/3/2006 12:04:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to hear Adobe arguments before making any inferences about their motives. Can anyone elaborate... as oposed to speculate?




RE: What's the Adobe argument?
By Bonrock on 6/3/2006 4:06:05 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I haven't heard much from Adobe in response to these allegations. I suspect if they disputed any of the assertions being made today, they would have said something in response. All the Adobe commentary I've seen has been, "We think Microsoft is a monopoly and they are going to take away our lucrative PDF creation business." Never mind that Adobe has no objection to Apple and OpenOffice including PDF creation in their products free of charge.

Still, let's give Adobe a few more days to come up with a more suitable response that portrays them in the best possible light.


oh yeah....
By Souka on 6/3/2006 2:13:35 AM , Rating: 3
Just another funny thing....

I just installed Adobe Elements 4.0 on a PC of mine... during the install it tried to install Windows Media Player 10!!

Hahaha!





What a crock...
By INeedCache on 6/3/2006 4:05:02 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe Adobe should worry more about the performance of their own bloatware. I'm getting a little tired of everyone hitting up Microsoft for adding anything to Windows. It's their OS and they should be entitled to give whatever they want with it as long as the additional things can be easily gotten rid of should the user choose to. Most consumers, especially the novice ones, appreciate the better value.




So sad
By Mels on 6/10/2006 8:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
I feel so sad for Microsoft...
Brian Jones' blog made me want to cry.




smack Adobe smack
By Anemone on 6/2/2006 11:00:04 PM , Rating: 1
I guess "open" means about the same to Adobe as "unlimited" internet means to Comcast.

If you tout it as an open standard, and allow others to use it, then that is how you should stand on the matter. To say it's open then it's not open smacks of a hidden agenda, where you lure people in and then charge them when they get to liking it.

I 100% agree with MS lawyers this time, which I nearly never do, and this matter should be not even elevated to court level. Adobe, quit yer bitchn and be incredibly glad that some people really like your product.

Anyone find it kind of funny that Adobe, who charges more for a picture editor than MS does for Office, would be complaining about the use of the pdf format?

LOL! Greed is a terrible thing to miss out on...




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