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.