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MS Four Points of Interoperability and Adobe 274

Posted by Zonk
from the learning-experience dept.
Andy Updegrove writes "Recently, spokespersons for Microsoft's standards group have been promoting 'design, collaboration and licensing' as alternatives, rather than supplements to, open standards. There's an important difference between an open standard and any of these ad hoc arrangements among companies, however, and that is the fact that with a standard, everybody knows that they can get what everybody else can get, and on substantially the same terms. With a de facto standard, that's not the case - as Microsoft itself found out last week when Adobe refused to offer the same deal on saving files in PDF form that Apple and OpenOffice enjoy."
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MS Four Points of Interoperability and Adobe

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  • by Umbral Blot (737704) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:14PM (#15468586) Homepage
    Gee a coperation is trying to ensure that the market remains in a state of monopolistic competition [wikipedia.org] instead of perfect competition [wikipedia.org]. Big surprise!
    • In the news : "Microsoft will emerge a new standard called :"throwing chairs in the right directions"". I bet they will ensure that the market remains in a state of monopolistic competition there too!
  • Serves them right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke@NoSpaM.hunter.cuny.edu> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:15PM (#15468593) Homepage
    I think Microsoft is just getting a taste of its own medicine. If you're going to try and monopolize a field, you should expect your competitors to fight back the same way.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:48PM (#15468740)
      I think Microsoft is just getting a taste of its own medicine. If you're going to try and monopolize a field, you should expect your competitors to fight back the same way.

      Serves them right :)? Don't be ridiculous. Adobe has more to lose by denying PDF support in Office than MS.

      The decision to support PDF was long delayed and we all knew it was because MS doesn't want to give PDF an edge in their own products, thus contributing further to the spread use of the format.

      This is why the decision to support PDF in 2007 was a surprise. But now that Adobe is acting like a spoiled brat, Microsoft will remove the PDF support.

      It's really amusing Adobe doesn't want Microsoft to support PDF, given Microsoft has prepared a quite capable PDF competitor itself called XML Paper Specification (XPS), with superior features to those found in PDF (since it's newer, I'm not saying PDF can't catch up of course)...

      Why the heck is this so familiar to me? Ah yea, I remember. Sun sued Microsoft for their Java support in Windows/IE. Microsoft removed (again) the support and we know where Java is today in terms of client-side browser applets.

      At the same time Microsoft has managed to spread wide their version of Java: .NET.

      Expect the same to happen with XPS.
      • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:24PM (#15468883)
        Yep and I personally know of a 100 million dollars worth of presses that will only rip from PDF.

        If XPS is going to be worth anything, it needs to operate on more than just vista. Otherwise it's useless to those presses.

        So what's worth more several billion dollars for the printing industry who have for years used PDF to it's fullest or forcing that entire industry to change to something that isn't available to anyone other than MSFT. (hint the printing industry utilizes lot's of macs as well as windows machines)
        • by suv4x4 (956391)
          If XPS is going to be worth anything, it needs to operate on more than just vista. Otherwise it's useless to those presses.

          You're absolutely correct. But industrial manifacturers, like big presses are not what marketers call "early adopters" at all.

          XPS is far superior in their support alpha blends, composite modes, primitives, bitmap transforms and so on compared to PDF-s. Lots of printer manifacturers have working models of their printers with full XPS support.

          XPS is the designer's dream. Even if he'll hav
          • Ah, but what about the fact that graphic designers use Macintoshes extensively and it's PDF that Mac OS X is built upon, and the fact that Microsoft isn't very likely to port this to Mac?

            Platform non-neutrality is shooting yourself in the foot in the printing business.
          • by endofoctober (660252) <jk@cole.ifredsayred@com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:45PM (#15469184) Homepage
            "Once you get the innovative core audience interested, and the support of the major printer manifacturers, it's a matter of time that it becomes widespread. And one day, the big clunky conservative presses may move to XPS too."

            MS may have a competitor to PDF, but they have nothing that competes with Photoshop or Illustrator. Even if they did, I think the tight integration of PDF into the CS2 workflow would keep most designers exactly where they are, and, consequently, keep printers right where they are as well. XPS is only as pretty as it is widely used, which is to say, not very. Adobe can catch up, and most likely will.

            The question that arises, though, is when is MS going to buy Quark? They're already working on some code to compete with Adobe on the creative end, but I've always wondered why they don't just go after InDesign's biggest competitor.
          • XPS is the designer's dream. Even if he'll have to go through hell to get his work to print in massive quantities, he has flexible tools and rapid prototyping just using XPS and an XPS printer.

            Speaking as someone who has done several mass quantity print jobs, I would much prefer a stable format which is uniform across platforms, than a couple extra design tweaks. I don't want to go through hell to get my work printed. I just want to take a cd to the printshop, and get 50,000 copies. I really like the
        • PDF is great for pre-press, but it's the rare user that is actually is preparing a file for printing on a high-quality press (or even know how to build a proper multi-color PDF document.) Most user create PDF's when they want to ensure the formatting will work across different printers or are reluctant to distribute the source document (especially with Word or PowerPoint.)

          Frequently, I create PDF's so that the original can't be modified.

          Adobe will probably own the pre-press market, but is scared of lo
        • Those high-end presses mostly don't run the Adobe RIP; last I looked, they ran the Harlequin RIP. And that RIP will soon support XPS:

          http://www.globalgraphics.com/xps/ [globalgraphics.com]

          Full disclosure: I used to work on the core RIP team on the Harlequin RIP.
      • by bmo (77928) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:58PM (#15469016)
        "Adobe has more to lose by denying PDF support in Office than MS."

        Au contraire.

        Adobe is facing the same thing that Sun was facing with Java. Microsoft's strategy is to take a standard, be it an open standard or a commercial de-facto standard and change it in some way to make it ever so slightly incompatible. The people who use Microsoft's "new standard" find out that interoperating with real standards-following software is unreliable and that the only way to get "interoperability" is to buy more Microsoft licenses.

        I believe it's called "embrace, extend, and extinguish"

        Since Microsoft has a track record of doing this, Adobe's paranoia is entirely justified.

        "Sun sued Microsoft for their Java support in Windows/IE."

        Because Microsoft was throwing dead goats in the Java compatibility well. DuH.

        "Java is today in terms of client-side browser applets"

        Yeah, everywhere. It's called AJAX.

        Bad troll, no cookie.

        --
        BMO

        • "Java is today in terms of client-side browser applets"

          Yeah, everywhere. It's called AJAX.


          Me thinks someone doesn't know yet Javascript != Java.

        • by mdfst13 (664665) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:59PM (#15469249)
          "Yeah, everywhere. It's called AJAX."

          Uhm...you do realize that the J in AJAX stands for *Javascript* right? And that Javascript has *nothing* to do with Java (other than the name and a few similarities of syntax), right?

          I agreed with the rest of your post, but calling AJAX Java is clearly wrong.

          Btw, I suspect that the main reason why Microsoft was going to support PDF was to ease the transition from XPS. Microsoft would be able to talk to printers that understood *either* XPS or PDF. That would allow people to do their work in XPS, show it to others in small quantities in XPS, and then mass produce in PDF. If the mass produced PDF was inferior to the XPS samples, then that gives Microsoft leverage with the printers to switch to something XPS compatible.

          Now, Microsoft will have to spend a lot more money up front to get XPS support into hardware. In the beginning, Microsoft will offer brilliant tools and technical assistance to printer manufacturers who wanted to offer XPS support. In five to ten years, they will charge money to not display warnings that the device is not XPS certified.

          The real question is what's stopping them from doing that? It's only money. They have plenty. This is probably the correct decision for Adobe. However, Microsoft is still fully capable of moving into the market. It's just going to be a bit harder now.
        • Since Microsoft has a track record of doing this, Adobe's paranoia is entirely justified.

          "Sun sued Microsoft for their Java support in Windows/IE."

          Because Microsoft was throwing dead goats in the Java compatibility well. DuH.


          You've probably missed the part where I said they need also a reader software to be able to embrace and extend PDF.

          If they produce a garbage and call it PDF, I don't the Adobe Reader will just render it nevertheless.
          When you talk about Java and HTML and so on, you shouldn't forget that
      • I think the pdf support in MS Office is a pitfall. There are bad things doomed to happen. For example, the script functionality of pdf in Adobe Acrobat is provided by embedding Spidermonkey javascript engine from mozilla.org, while in the MS Office, the only choice will be JScript from Windows Script Host. There are subtle differences between JScript and Javascript that prevent them from totally compatible. When MS Office begin to generate pdf, it will generate WSH compatible code, which will break Adobe A

        • There are subtle differences between JScript and Javascript that prevent them from totally compatible. When MS Office begin to generate pdf, it will generate WSH compatible code, which will break Adobe Acrobat. Another step I can expec is that IE will support pdf native, and some pdf files generated by Acrobat won't work in the IE. I'll be damned if I see ANY connection between WSH code and PDF export in Office, let alone IE supporting PDF. You trully pulled a Dvorak here.
    • by jd (1658)
      1. Microsoft has enough money to buy Adobe out in a hostile bid, pay off any regulators, build the CEV, and dance on the grave of Acrobat on Mars, should they so choose.
      2. Microsoft has more than enough lawyers to bankrupt Adobe through litigation - a tactic they've not used that much, but isn't unknown to them, or to the cut-throat world of corporate business in general.
      3. Microsoft can certainly splurge the business world with FUD and scare tactics - they've killed competitors off that way.
      4. They've stolen plenty of
    • by HiThere (15173) *
      1) I notice the source is listed as MS
      2) A day or two ago many were listing a substantially different version of this same story. That time it was nailed to a press release where MS was speculating to itself in public.
      3) Is there any evidence that Adobe is even involved in this? I hate to think of them as "good guys" in even a relative sense, but I suspect that they may have had no input into this at all. That this is purely MS managing the news so that when they don't include "save to pdf" they've got a
  • Cute PDF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So we'll just download CutePDF [cutepdf.com] for free. Next problem.
  • What if Adobe realized that MS was probably going to bastardize their PDF and simply didn't want MS to have a free reign with it?
    • What if Adobe realized that MS was probably going to bastardize their PDF and simply didn't want MS to have a free reign with it?

      That's my guess. It's not like MS doesn't have a history of it. OpenGL, CSS, HTML, OpenDocument, Java. Implementing or joining a committee that decides on the future of a spec, implementing the first version to the spec, then bastardizing it via embrace and extend (extend here also meaning making a version that has some serious issues such as speed or expandability like OpenGL).

      Ad
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:26PM (#15468638)
      Not far fetched. Yes, it's "Adobe PDF format". But if MS decides that X has to be Y, it is. No matter what the originator of the format, even if he holds the patents to it, says. MS wants to read it this way, so it has to be read that way.

      Don't believe it? Try HTML.
      • MS wants to read [PDF] this way, so it has to be read that way.

        In all fairness, Office 2007 cannot read PDFs. It's more of a "hmm, let's not export Word tables to PDF and say it's a limitation of PDF!" kind of future worrisome thing.
      • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:21PM (#15468876)
        Not far fetched. Yes, it's "Adobe PDF format". But if MS decides that X has to be Y, it is. No matter what the originator of the format, even if he holds the patents to it, says. MS wants to read it this way, so it has to be read that way.

        Actually it's far fetched. Microsoft just added an exporter, not a reader. The only popular and common way to see and print a PDF yet is the Adobe Reader (and some other Adobe products).

        Thus, either is Microsoft producing PDF-s that open and print in Reader, or their PDF support will just be useless.

        Bend it and twist it, but there's no sign that Microsoft wanted to bastardize the PDF format.

        What I actually believe they wanted, is to put PDF support in, and then become really agressive with their "own" PDF: the XPS.

        In that case, their support for PDF will be a really strong point when Adobe eventually files an Antithrust case against Microsoft for trying to push PDF out of the market by implementing XPS in their Windows OS. Microsoft will say "but we also support PDF in Office".

        Of course now that it's not part of Office, Microsoft can still claim all of best of intentions, so they still hold that card, and Adobe just lost what could've been a good thing for the PDF adoption and acceptance as a standard.
        • ...Adobe eventually files an Antithrust case

          Ahh, but not if you have studied your Agrippa...

        • Hmm, I don't want to dive in and be too pig headed about this, but I reckon PDF adoption and acceptance as a standard is something that Adobe are doing pretty well at all by themselves. I mean, there is no other universally acceptable document type that does what PDF does.

          What I'd be afraid of if I were Adobe (and it's been echoed a few comments back up the page) is what would happen if MS started tugging on the chain a bit too hard and started bending and shaping PDF to it's own end- creating some kind
        • Thus, either is Microsoft producing PDF-s that open and print in Reader, or their PDF support will just be useless

          ... at which point the conventional wisdom would soon become "don't use .PDF format, that format doesn't work reliably anymore. Use Microsoft's format foo instead, it always works correctly.". You can see why Adobe would not want that to happen.

        • Well thats just it - first you ebrace pdf files by making drivers for office apps.

          Then you extend them with your own software (in this case - maybe extensions that Acrobat doesn't work with) so that everyone who wants to use office pdf's in their full capacity has to have ms's pdf viewer. (this is how IE shut out netscape...)

          Then you push XPS using your large installations of office and windows software and make pdf more and more irrelevant.
        • Bend it and twist it, but there's no sign that Microsoft wanted to bastardize the PDF format.

          Bend it and twist it, but there's no proof that Adobe was even in a meeting with Microsoft about the subject...

          It's ALL speculation, so discounting speculation other than your own is moronic.
      • Uh. No. If Adobe holds the patents, what Adobe says goes, as long as the patents are valid. We may disagree with software patents, but until the law is changed, what the law says goes.
    • There are very very few details about this, only one statement by Microsoft blaming Adobe. Sounds like FUD to me. Most likely Adobe is pissed because MS is trying to *ahem* "extend" the open standard. We've seen plenty of examples of this before.
    • I think the reason is much simpler and not conspiratoric at all: Adobe sells an incredibly expensive ($299) version of the Adobe PDF software which, among other things, adds "Save to PDF" capabilities to Microsoft Office. I guess that a lot of licenses are sold on the Office Save to PDF functionality alone. With PDF writing built into Office, their market would be marginalized.

      Personally I having Save to PDF built into Office would've been good for the PDF standard, and find it difficult to sympathize wit
  • by gatzke (2977) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:18PM (#15468609) Homepage Journal
    I have used a postscript printer driver, print-> save to file, then ps2pdf to make pdf files in the past when I did not have the Adobe software. Works fine and is free.

    This is silly for Adobe to not let MS use pdf functionality. How is it even up to Adobe if the specification is out there for anyone to use? For once, it seems like MS should just include this function for the common good.

    I wonder if MS is spinning "the breakdown of talks" so that they don't need an actual useful standard in office, so they can push their "pdf killer". The only thing that will kill PDF is a big old EMP...
    • MS Office 2007 can do PDFs better than either the postscript route or OOo (sans any custom macros.) Not just a conversion of a postscript file, but a tagged and bookmarked PDF.

      I suspect that this is the part that Adobe is balking at -- that anyone would care and duplicate the beyond-standard work that they do with PDFmaker, to the point where someone with MS office really doesn't need to contact them anymore.
      • My guess is the interoperability of forms and digital signatures. I know that those features are big in the real estate business and probably in law as well.
        I could see MS pulling something where MS/PDF digital signatures aren't compatible with Adobe digital signatures when a contract needs an addenum and you'll have to use Office 2007 to complete the form.
      • pdflatex can and does produce bookmarked pdf's rather happily with the hyperref package (at least since 2002). So I am pretty sure that the bookmarking features are very much a part of the standard.

        Please keep in mind that Adobe has refused to comment, and all we hear are the Microsoft comments and interpretations thereof. There has to be more to it than meets the eye. If I were Adobe, I would be very very skittish when dealing with Microsoft. Microsoft is a dangerous predator, plain and simple (not that A
    • I am personally using pdfcreator [sourceforge.net]. It installs as a printer and when I print to it, it pops up a dialog that ask me where I want to save the file. I think it internally prints to ps first, but as a user it is nice not having to call ps2pdf manually. There are other printer drivers that do the same, but I prefer to use an open source one.

  • I was under the impression that the PDF file format was an open standard and that Adobe Acrobat was proprietary software that could create and manipulate PDF files. In other words, if you would like for your software to work with PDF files you can either license code from them (some form of Acrobat) or roll your own.

    I guess I was misunderinformed?

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:34PM (#15468676) Journal
      The PDF Specification [adobe.com] is freely available to anyone. Adobe can not stop implementers of the spec from creating PDF documents. They have two potential legal arguments that they can use:
      1. That they had a prior contract with MS, which MS are now violating. This might have been signed way-back when Microsoft wanted Adobe's Acrobat Distiller to support MS Office.
      2. That Microsoft, by implementing the features of their software in Office, is abusing their de facto monopoly in the office suite market.
      The first argument would only work if such a contract existed, and the second only works if they can find a court that Microsoft can't just buy off (see Netscape for how well that worked in the past). It sounds just like sabre rattling to me. If Adobe decide to make the next version of PDF require an implementers license, then I suspect they will find a competing standard exists very quickly. Or people just stick with PDF 1.6; I don't think I've used any features that were introduced after 1.4 at the very latest and I create PDFs regularly.
      • There is a third option. PDF may be a registered trademark of Adobe. Or, since most lusers have no idea what a file extension is, MS may have named the save option "save as Acrobat".

        One big problem with getting your legal news online is that you get a distorted version of the facts. In this matter, there are three points of view: MS's PoV, Adobe's PoV, and the truth.

        Seeing as how MS pulled vice fighting, they were probably in the wrong.
    • PDF is an ISO standard. However, Adobe claims to hold copyrights on some of the "data structures" and also may have applicable patents.
      • All that I can relate is my 'user experience' which is that Adobe actively breaks the PDF standard and/or extends it to break it every few years. I paid a considerable amount of money ($300) for Adobe Acrobat 4.0 back when that was current. I did so because I wanted to use it for old document archiving. Since then, Adobe has gone the (common these days) path of having expensive 'tiered' versions of Acrobat, and my investment of $300 is now crippling, because my Acrobat 4.0 won't 'read' the newer PDFs tha
  • .doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:20PM (#15468614)
    If I want to send someone a .doc file right now, I can use (for example), MS Office or Open Office to get the job done. If I want to send a pdf, I either use Open Office, or I have to buy Adobe's Standard Edition to get a plugin for MS Office.

    So given that I exclusively use MS Office at work (say what you will, but the licensing program for colleges is decent value), I'm unlikely to want to pay extra £££s to use .pdf.

    Now that MS will apparently not bundle native .pdf support into Office 2007, I can't see .pdf leaping forward in terms of a distribution format for documents.

    Are Adobe trying to shoot themselves in the foot on this, or am I missing something crucial?
    • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TinyManCan (580322)
      Funny that. With OS X I have the option to print to a PDF from any application capable of printing. And that feature is built right into the OS.

      You know there are other free alternatives for creating PDF files on the windows platform besides Adobe Std. Edition, right?

      • You may not know this, but the engine that Apple uses to convert PostScript to PDF and vice versa isn't Quartz. It's software licensed from Adobe. Apple paid $$$ for it.
    • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jthill (303417) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:45PM (#15468729)
      How much do you want to bet Microsoft flatly refused to bind themselves to writing .pdf's readable by code implementing only Adobe's spec?

      Play out the scenarios. Ask yourself what Adobe could usefully say in that situation. Microsoft can't openly vandalize .pdf just yet, for reasons we all know too well, so this move just lets them make Adobe look bad. It's a set up for later. It's a damn shame all Adobe's other options are worse.

      • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Insightful)

        A PDF that doesn't open in Adobe Reader is pretty much useless. Microsoft doesn't make a PDF reader, so there's no reason for them to "extend" the PDF spec.

        Now, I suppose it's possible that MS will create PDFs that open slowly, or cause Reader to crash sometimes or something foul of that nature. But it's more likely that Adobe is just freaking out because of the potential lost revenue.
        • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Insightful)

          by StormReaver (59959)
          "Microsoft doesn't make a PDF reader, so there's no reason for them to "extend" the PDF spec."

          Yes they do, and yes there is. The reader is called "Microsoft Office". Microsoft wants you to have to buy an expensive piece of Microsoft software in order to read what is otherwise a freely available document format (PDF). That is the reason Microsoft will gladly EEE Adobe's PDF.

          Adobe may be evil for what they did to Dmitry Skylarov, but they don't hold a candle to Microsoft.
      • How much do you want to bet Microsoft flatly refused to bind themselves to writing .pdf's readable by code implementing only Adobe's spec?

        Microsoft PM Brian Jones wrote about this [msdn.com]:

        You'll see that we really are trying to comply with the spec, and wouldn't have anything to gain by doing otherwise. Remember we are only a producer of this stuff (not a consumer), and doing anything non-compliant would just mean that our output would be flawed and not look right. That would of course undermine all the work w

        • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jthill (303417)
          You know the problem with this, right?

          From that link:

          Notice that there are a number of options for how you publish your PDF. One of the key ones [jonesxml.com] is to use the ISO 19005-1 standard for PDF

          Standard PDF is ... an option.

          Fact is, they earned their reputation. A careful reading of what's in that post says volumes: nowhere in that do they promise not to. They don't consume it? Why is standard PDF "an option" then? What's going to read the non-standard PDF they can produce?

          Here's what Microsoft needs t

    • One benefit to .pdf is that it will look the same in anyone's viewer, whether Evince or Foxit or Acrobat. A .doc will look different viewed in OOo or Abi or even in different versions of MS Word.

      Anyways, if you don't care about that benefit, and would likely only use .pdf if it's in MS Office, then you're not a customer of Adobe and they really don't care. There's enough .pdfs floating around without MS Office support that Adobe doesn't have to worry about demand. What Adobe's worried about is if a pr
      • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)
        It's not like Acrobat is a cash cow for Adobe or anything! Most people in my workplace only know about Acrobat for making PDFs and snub their noses at anything "free software" because they equate it with shareware. By including PDF support in office Microsoft wipes a good 10%++ easily from Adobe's sales. Apple has PDF because they are co-owners of postscript with adobe.. so much of the early work for photoshop and such was done between Adobe and Apple that Apple has a cross-license for the techonology. O
    • If you can't see PDF taking off as a document distribution format, have another look at near enough every single install disk you get. Enclosed instruction manuals. Downloaded user manuals from manufacturers that provide them.
      Have a look at most places that actually distribute information to the public. You'll find they have a large amount of PDF, simply because they can guarantee it being read, not falling foul of proxy filter rules (yes, lots of proxies filter out Word docs, as they are still perfectly
    • PDF is a static or finalized output for documents not intended to be edited by the end user, except for adding mark-ups. It can be changed, but not as easily as taking someone's .doc and making changes.
      • Thank you! This is my biggest problem with people trying to use PDF files as an interchangeable document format. For finalized, rendered output, it is a great thing. The problem comes when you try to pass a PDF file around to a group of people to make edits on. While it can be done to some degree, it is not nearly as good (or as easy for the less technically inclinded) as editing the original Word (or plaintext, or whatever) document. The original goal of PDF was to give equal representation of the final ou
    • There are substantially cheaper ways of implementing PDF functionality in Office then buying Adobe's Acrobat product just for a plugin. If you want to use a commercial product, there is always http://www.pdf995.com/ [pdf995.com] which is substantially cheaper than Acrobat. There is also http://sector7g.wurzel6.de/pdfcreator/index_en.htm [wurzel6.de] for substantially cheaper still. Neither of these products are going to give you the wizbang super duper features Acrobat does but, you know what, they aren't missed 99% percent of the

    • Re:.doc vs .pdf (Score:3, Informative)

      by Quarters (18322)
      Our you could get PDFCreator from Sourceforge and print to PDF from any Windows application.
  • The big question is who's going to be hurt by this... and I suppose that it'll be Microsoft Office users... I'd bet that the resulting PDFs from MS's implementation would probably be a bit more efficient than some of the "print to PDF" programs available for free.

    Unless, of course, MS was "embracing and extending" and their PDFs look as horrible as their Save as HTML documents.
    • I'd bet that the resulting PDFs from MS's implementation would probably be a bit more efficient than some of the "print to PDF" programs available for free.

      I'm not sure it could get less efficient. Print to PDFs work by printing the document as an "image" and then essentially saving that inside of a PDF. Adobe Acrobat actually saves in a compressed ASCII format which is an order of magnitude or more efficient in terms of file size. MS Office would likely be the same.
  • by ObligatoryUserName (126027) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:22PM (#15468624) Journal
    My understanding is that if Adobe is talking about taking Anti-Trust action against Microsoft it isn't Adobe acting as "the inventors of PDF" it's Adobe acting as "the leading seller of PDF solutions". The fact that they have a special relationship to the PDF format is incidental to the proposed action.

    They're complaining that Microsoft is destroying a market by bundingly software functionality with their system. Is this in any way different than when Microsoft bundled IE to hurt Netscape? If so, can someone explain it to me?
    • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:33PM (#15468669)
      Well, the way I see it MS aren't bundling PDF software with their system - they were planning on including it with Office. I don't see how anti-trust applies in that case, as other office suites already do the same (eg OOo), so they're not using their monopoly position in OSes to push into another area (PDF creation tools), they're just following the same path as their nearest competitor.

      Of course, IANAL, so perhaps anti-trust law really does prevent them from doing that, although it wouldn't seem fair (assuming that the purpose of anti-trust law is to prevent unfair competition, not prevent any competition at all).
  • Acrobat Falling? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ironsides (739422) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:27PM (#15468645) Homepage Journal
    It seems like Acrobat is falling from it's peak. I know the PDF format is a defacto standard. However, the Adobe seems to be having problems on some fronts. One thing I've noticed, and I realize this is a loose correlation, is that when a company starts to fall it's products start to come with some interesting "features".

    Real Player: Naging upgrade notices whenver you didn't have the most recent version. Hard to find "free" version. Addware in the install.
    AIM has come with it's own supply of programs, ranging from advertising AOL Explorer to some programs it installed to play AIM mini games (I've forgoten which one since I uninstalled it a while ago, but it set off alerts in Ad-Aware)
    Yahoo!: Cluttered their home page with a whole bunch of adverts.

    Adobe: Acrobat Reader now tries to install Yahoo! Toolbar by default.

    Just seems like whenever a company starts bundling adds and addware programs with their software they start to fall from grace. Anyone have any other examples of software companies tanking like that?
    • They certainly will have to change the business model if ubquitous software (like Office) prints to PDF. PDF's income potential is in the software that creates PDF (all of Adobe's other software.)
    • In my experience, it's the other way around--these types of initiatives and "relationships" are evidence that the original (often founding) management of a company, who was passionate about its products and its quality, has been substantially replaced over time by MBA types who have no clue how to do anything but trade every asset (including customer loyalty) for immediate dollars to line their golden parachutes.

      In short, the gimmicky crap is evidence that the company is now headed by the type of management
  • It fears for the souvereignity over their own format. As funny as it may sound.

    Say MS includes PDF writing (and maybe reading) ability into Word. And MS decides that its PDF can also support any arbitrary feature that Adobe didn't plan to implement.

    Suddenly, Adobe would have to redo MS's work to stay compatible to its own format! Yes, it wouldn't be "official" standard, but since MS-Office is so widely used, whatever MS-Word sets as the PDF standard would be the de facto standard.
    • Unless Microsoft start producing their own reader software and somehow get millions of people to upgrade to this new Microsoft reader software and it is multiplatform then this is entirely unlikely. I don't see this as a likely scenario and the betas of Microsoft Office don't include any new reader software that I am aware of.

      More likely to me is that Microsoft might have wanted to negociate a license to distribute Acrobat Reader with Office, possibly having Office install it where necessary.

      However given o
      • It's not that unlikely; probably Microsoft would include some kind of extension to IE, the Windows shell, or what-have-you that views PDF - with their extensions, of course. And if you can't read the document in your (non-Microsoft-blessed) PDF viewer? "Gee, that's unfortunate, it works just fine on my computer... what's it run? I guess it's called 'Vista', you should try it!" Far as they're concerned, it's not Microsoft's problem, or their problem - they can read it, it must be your problem. How are you go
  • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:45PM (#15468728) Journal

    There's two very good reasons for Adobe denying easy PDF functionality to Microsoft Office users. One is obvious and good only for Adobe, but the other is subtle and better for everybody in the long run.

    The obvious reason? Adobe wants to be able to sell Acrobat Pro to its users, and if Microsoft starts bundling the functionality in Office, Office users will have less reason to buy Acrobat or the Creative Suite.

    Note: I said less reason, not no reason. See, Acrobat is more than Distiller. The full Acrobat program will let you take those PDFs you've created by whatever means, resequence the pages, add footnotes... organize the whole document. You could do that in Word, but you could end up with a single huge document, and Word isn't happy working that way. The full kit lets you shuffle pages, up to and including replacing single pages in a PDF if you must.

    The other reason has to do with Microsoft's hamfisted, even predatory way of "supporting" other peoples' standards. How does that sequence go, again? Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, Extort? Picture the Microsoft PDF format, in the same ridiculing manner that you'd consider Microsoft RTF, Microsoft HTML, and Microsoft XML: misshapen parodies of their former, more open, more rational selves. By denying Microsoft the opportunity to implement the standard, Adobe protects it for themselves and anyone else who adheres to it.

    • I agree with HTML, but I beg you to name an instance where Microsoft has bastardized XML. They may make strange XML-based formats that you disagree with, but that does not imply screwing up XML itself.
      • The "here be binary" tags in MS "open" XML clearly go against the spirit of XML and render MS documents effectively proprietary. Sure, the XML parts are documented, but only MS can properly interpret the binary blobs.
        • Point to a schema which contains such things outside of either images or OLE objects. (Hint: you aren't going to find one.)
          • For anyone else who wants to verify for themselves, you check the Office 2003 schemas (web [microsoft.com] or download [microsoft.com]). The only binary types are the expected ones (picture, icon, movie, etc.).

            If you're annoyed by the embedding of base64-encoded media, Office 2007 improves by using the Open Packaging Conventions [microsoft.com] format, which is basically a zipped collection of XML files and resources. Try it: Save any Office 2007 document and rename to .zip to view the contents. Content is stored in XML files, embedded images and fonts

    • Picture the Microsoft PDF format, in the same ridiculing manner that you'd consider Microsoft RTF, Microsoft HTML, and Microsoft XML: misshapen parodies of their former, more open, more rational selves.

      Almost as if they were infested, mutated, and corrupted by the Flood from Halo. I find it interesting that Microsoft published and promoted a game containing a vivid metaphor of their "EEE" methodology.

      Better yet are the quotes from 343 Guilty Spark [bungie.org], the ever-so-polite robotic floating ball (which I lik

    • You've been able to do all of those PDF editing functions for years with the tools from FoxIt. They're cheaper than Adobe's tools and offer the same functionality.
  • by SEMW (967629)
    Does anyone else think it's possible that the whole Microsoft XML Paper Specification "PDF rival" was invented purely as a bargaining tool against Adobe -- something to threaten them with if Adobe don't agree to let them put PDF functionality into Office?

    Think about the timing. They revealed that they were making XPS just before they needed to get the relevant permission from Adobe. If it's *not* just a bargaining stunt, then this is incredibly stupid timing by Microsoft - angering Adobe before having
  • Microsoft has, so far, been completely unwilling to make themselves compatible with formats such as OpenDocument for the explicit purpose of keeping their own proprietary format the "standard" and stifling their competition. But now that they see a semi-open format that's popular, viable, and really does suit a lot of common purposes much better than anything else available, they suddenly want in on the action. Sounds like a double standard if ever I've heard one. I'm not entirely thrilled with any rest
  • Adobe Sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:02PM (#15468795)
    I think that PDF is a great standard but the Adobe Acrobat that you currently pay for is a horrible application.

    This is a product costing hundreds of dollars (i have pro), it's buggy, doesnt work well with firefox, the process will just hang there soaking the CPU for all it's worth after it's reader application is closed, jilts me with pop up windows telling me there are updates and when I go to install them gives me errors every time. It sucks.

    PDF995 for example does the same thing more reliably than the developer of the PDF standard for free (ad supported) or for $10 if you want to get rid of the ads.

    Adobe I think here is making a huge mistake, they should just license the damn format to Microsoft for a $20 per unit royalty under a restriction that MSFT doesnt include their "pdf-killer" format and ditch the Acrobat pro line.

    In picking this fight with Microsoft now they certainly have awoken the sleeping dragon and I'm sure they are pissed. Allowing Apple and Sun to do something (MSFTs biggest competitors) but changing the rules for Microsoft?

    The Gates borg army has been on R&R for a while but I think he's going to restore all the troops into active duty to kill Adobe now. Expect Microsoft to release a really good professional grade video and graphics suites while railing hard against PDF with their new format.

    bubye Adobe, was nice to know ya!
  • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:05PM (#15468807) Homepage
    Remember folks, Microsoft is developing their own page presentation format (formerly "Metro", now xps) that's going to compete directly with pdf. Remember what happened when Microsoft decided they wanted their own audio codec? They made wma the default format in Windows Media Player, but also included annoyingly limited "support" for mp3. Whenever a user ripped a CD to mp3 format, WMP would pop up a nag screen suggesting that they use wma instead, and if the user ignored the suggestion, he got a nasty-sounding 64kbps file.

    I suspect they planned to include crippled pdf support in Office 2007 with bloated output, arbitrary resolution limits, and nag screens suggesting that using xps would make the document look better. Adobe (unlike Fraunhofer) saw what MS was doing, and told them to bug off.
  • PDFCReator (Score:3, Informative)

    by Blahbooboo3 (874492) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:11PM (#15468834)
    I don't get this argument by Adobe. This software, PDFCREATOR, is free and lets you convert any document (including MS Office documents) to PDF.

    What's the big deal? Is it that Adobe knows most users don't know that you don't have to buy Adobe Acrobat to make a PDF?


    http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/ [sourceforge.net]
  • by macentric (914166) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:25PM (#15468890)
    The greater question is what does Microsoft want to do with the Open Standard PDF. There is certain functionality of PDF that is included in the standard, and then are other parts that set it apart from the Adobe Acrobat Distiller product. Much of Adobe's use of PDF is set around print production and such is proprietary to their products. Many of these features do not react the way you would expect in program's like Apple's preview or other PDF viewers. There are a number of compression technologies that are not accessible outside of Acrobat Distiller. The question in my mind is does Microsoft want to include proprietary functions in their save to PDF functionality, or are they simply trying to print a PDF to a file?

    If Microsoft is just going to use the open standard then there is not much Adobe can do. Example, Apple removed Display PostScript from the developer previews of Mac OS X because they did not want to pay for the licensing involved with Display PostScript. Instead they built their display model on the open PDF standard. They do not use Adobe code in their product.

    Now that said if you open a complex Adobe PDF in Apple's preview IT WILL NOT LOOK CORRECT, especially if their is transparency in the document.

    The other end of the spectrum is, does Microsoft want to "embrace and extend" the tehnology much like they did with JAVA, basically bastardazing the product and killing it for all intents and purposes so that they can push their own technology.
  • This doesn't seem particularly interesting, because it's PDF.

    However, I've got something I'm developing that may eventually inspire some sort of standard, and I'm also using the .NET "standard", so this is reminding me to just be extra-sure that I don't give MS any way to embrace and extend.
  • All we have is MS preliminary press blitz. We don't know what the sticking point is. PDF is essentially open, but presumably has some usage license.

    I can't see a recourse for action unless Microsoft wants to violate that usage license. Perhaps the license precludes Microsofts usual answer to standards (embrace, extend, then envelop).

    "Association for Competitive Technology" is also quoted in the article as an unbiased source. But if you check sourcewatch.org you will find they are actually a Microsoft initi
  • by scdeimos (632778) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:13PM (#15469072)

    Microsoft seems to be playing the wounded duck at the moment, trying to convince the public that Adobe won't allow them to implement PDF creation as a standard feature in their Office 2007 and Vista environments.

    However, Adobe has published the Portable Document Format specifications since 1993, encouraging developers to create applications that both read and *write* PDF files. From page seven of the PDF Reference, Fifth Edition (v1.6, PDF format) [adobe.com] we see the following:

    Adobe will enforce its copyright. Adobe's intention is to maintain the integrity of the Portable Document Format standard. This enables the public to distinguish between the Portable Document Format and other interchange formats for electronic documents. However, Adobe desires to promote the use of the Portable Document Format for information interchange among diverse products and applications. Accordingly, Adobe gives anyone copyright permission, subject to the conditions stated below, to:
    • Prepare files whose content conforms to the Portable Document Format
    • Write drivers and applications that produce output represented in the Portable Document Format
    • Write software that accepts input in the form of the Portable Document Format and displays, prints, or otherwise interprets the contents
    • Copy Adobe's copyrighted list of data structures and operators, as well as the example code and PostScript language function definitions in the written specification, to the extent necessary to use the Portable Document Format for the purposes above

    My guess would be that in typical Microsoft style, they are probably wanting to create their own incompatable extensions to PDF and Adobe has stepped-in and said no to them.

  • Where does DRM and MS's wholesale use of it fall into this argument? Anywhere?
    If MS were going to license my format, then bash it up till only MS could really read it with the DRM inside it, that would be monopolistic in my view, and I'd have to say that I agree with Adobe on this if that is the case, or anything even reasonably similar. Its not like MS hasn't done the same in all its other dealings (more or less).

  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:49PM (#15469206) Journal
    At the risk of being redundant, I would just like to say that Apple does NOT license PDF from Adobe (OO I'm not so sure since it originates in Star Office which is from Sun). Adobe wanted Apple to license PDF back when the Quartz PDF graphic engine replaced the Postscript graphic engine (which was licensed from Adobe) from the NeXT days, but Apple declined and instead based their engine on the openly available PDF standard. This is also the reason that there are free PDF libraries for anything from Java to Perl. None of them are licensed but simply implement the standard.

    Microsoft's attempt must use features that are not part of the standard, such as Layers or advanced color features.
  • Market Share (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MattPat (852615) <MattPat&mattpat,net> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:07PM (#15469279) Homepage

    This might be redundant, but here goes...

    Now, I'm a die-hard Mac user, and a big OOo supporter, but let's face it-- they don't have a whole lot of market share. Very little, in fact, compared to Microsoft's products. Not only that, but the market share they do have is much more technology-oriented.

    Picture this scenario. Boss Billy walks down to Jim in Accounting, and tells Jim that he wants the company's annual financial report in his inbox by 2:00 that afternoon. Oh, and make it a PDF. I'd be willing to bet you the first thought through Jim's mind isn't "Ooh, I'd better download OpenOffice" or "Let me download a copy of CutePDF." The average computer user isn't very enlightened concerning those kinds of things. What Jim will think is "Hmm, PDF... that's Adobe, isn't it? Let me run down to OfficeMax and buy it."

    Adobe doesn't care if the relatively small percentage of Mac and OOo users has access to PDF support (as everyone is supposed to, if it truly is an open format), but if Office implements the technology, Microsoft has just started cutting into their Average Joe User market share-- which is where they make the most of their money I'm sure.

    The other major portion of their market share probably comes from professional designers who need more power than what's provided by free Postscript printers and OpenOffice.org. If Office implements parts of the PDF standard that aren't found in the free products, that starts chipping away at another part of their market share. If Microsoft jumps on board with PDF (like everyone else did years ago), Adobe faces a very steep, very fast drop in their Acrobat market share.

    So what do they do? They try to pull a Microsoft-style monopoly move and say "Oh, yeah, that whole thing about open standard? That doesn't apply to you. We really own it." As they say, money talks, and if MS puts PDF support in office... to Adobe, money walks.

  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Monday June 05, 2006 @02:22AM (#15470469)
    The hypocrisy on this site is astounding.

    Consider this:
    1. Adobe's market share in PDF creation software is similar to Microsoft's marketshare in desktop OSes for intel-compatible CPUs. Therefore, one could argue that Adobe has a "monopoly" in pdf creation software (not 100% share, but nearly so). But to keep some of you from bitching about the use of the term "monopoly" in this case, I'll use the term "quasi-monopoly".

    2. Adobe, wanting to protect their "quasi-monopoly", was willing to allow Microsoft Office 2007 to export PDF if Microsoft charged extra for that functionality so as to not undercut the price of Adobe's own PDF creation software. In other words, Adobe wanted to engage in price-fixing with Microsoft in order to protect Adobe's quasi-monopoly. That is what you guys are supporting! Do you really want to go down that road? Surely you'll want to rethink your position, or does your hypocrisy really go that far?

    3. Microsoft wasn't bastardizing PDF. What would be the point, since Microsoft is not producing any PDF reader? Since Microsoft isn't creating their own reader, any PDF document producted by Microsoft Office would have to be readable by other readers (and printable by printers), so why bastardize the format? Think logically.

    4. If you want to see an example of the PDF produced by Office 2007, try Office 2007 beta 2. Or you can read the PDF version of the latest draft of the OpenXML ECMA spec [ecma-international.org], a PDF document that was created by Office 2007 beta. Guess what, it's perfectly readable by Acrobat Reader and any other PDF compliant reader.

    5. Regarding XPS, XPS is a PDF competitor based on XML, but includes many advances over the current PDF spec (though future PDF specs may add such advances). XPS is part of Vista; XPS's role in Vista is similar to PDF's role in Mac OS X. Microsoft has shared with Adobe info on XPS for several years. Now Microsoft, bending over backwards to allay Adobe's hypocritcal paranoia, is removing from Office 2007 built-in support for both PDF and XPS. Furthermore, Microsoft is leaving it up to OEMs as to whether they want to include XPS support in Vista itself (except for XPS's role as a spool file format for Vista's printing enhacements).

    6. Lastly, Microsoft is still going to provide PDF and XPS export support in Office 2007 as free downloadable plug-ins. Adobe's still pissed about this because they want Microsoft to charge for the plug-ins (more of the price-fixing scheme that you guys are supporting).

    See these links for sources of the above info:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/andy_simonds/archive/2006/06 /02/XPSAdobe.aspx [msdn.com]
    http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2006/06/ 02/613702.aspx [msdn.com]
    http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2006/06/ 03/616022.aspx [msdn.com]

    Lastly, please don't you (or the state of MA) ever refer to PDF as "open" in the future. If it's not open for all, then it's not truly open, period.

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