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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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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
What he learned was SHARED INFORMATION. All those who came before, freely GAVE, and then he announced "I wrote this for money."
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.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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