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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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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.

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