Posted by: kurtsh | June 3, 2006

INFO: The battle to keep “Save as PDF” included Office 2007

Recently, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that discussed the relationship between Microsoft and Adobe and their concerns over Office 2007 & Windows Vista. 

 

Over the last several months, Adobe has expressed concerns to us about some new features in Office and Windows Vista. Specifically, they have complained about the “Save as PDF” capability in Office 2007 and the “XPS” feature in Windows Vista. (XPS is our own version of a fixed format document capability)  While these features have been carefully designed to comply with all regulatory obligations, in an effort to accommodate Adobe, we have offered make changes to our products and even to ship their products with Windows. 

 

Specifically, these changes include:

  • We are planning to remove Save as PDF, as well as Save as XPS, from Office 2007 and make both available only as a separate download
  • We will give OEMs the option to remove XPS from Windows
  • We have offered to ship Adobe’s Flash and Shockwave software with every copy of Windows Vista worldwide

Unfortunately, these steps are not enough for Adobe and they are threatening to take legal action.  As a result, we wanted to share with you the background information on this as well as highlights.

 

Background:

 

PDF as open standard:

 

Our “Save as PDF” feature was initially included in beta versions of Office 2007 in response to the more than tens of thousands of inquiries we receive from customers each month requesting this specific feature. We added it because Adobe had previously released its Portable Document Format (PDF) specifications as an open standard, one which has been widely implemented for free by other software developers including Apple, Sun, Corel and OpenOffice. 

 

When asked recently about the “openness” of PDF by a Massachusetts senator, an Adobe executive explicitly stated that “no one needs permission from Adobe to build their own product with the PDF standard.”  The executive also said that Adobe makes the PDF standard “available for free, without restrictions, to anyone who cares to use it.”  Given statements such as these, we felt including support for the format in our products was an entirely reasonable course of action.

 

We have been asked by Adobe to not only remove “Save as PDF” from Office, but to charge customers a price for it as well.   We are willing to remove it and make it a download, but will not charge our customers for something that our competitors are allowed to offer for free.

 

Windows Vista XPS:

 

While Adobe’s predominant concern has been over Office, they also have some concern over our decision to provide fixed format document capabilities – XPS – in Windows Vista as well.   The product team had not made a final decision on the XPS approach, and making it optional to OEMs was one option under consideration.  Given Adobe’s concerns, we made the final decision to make it optional. 

 

 

Highlights:

 

    We have taken a number of significant steps to accommodate Adobe, and offered many proposals in an effort to avoid a dispute, but we have now reached a point where we feel what they are asking for is not in the best interest of our customers.

 

    In an effort to accommodate Adobe, we have offered make changes to our products and even to ship their products with Windows. 

 

o      We are planning to remove Save as PDF from Office, as well as Save as XPS, and make both available only as a separate download

o      We have offered to ship Adobe’s Flash and Shockwave software with every copy of Windows Vista.

o      We will give OEMs the option to remove XPS from Windows

 

    Unfortunately, the changes we are planning to make are not enough for Adobe and they are pressuring us to do even more.   Adobe is asking us to charge our customers a price for using what everyone else in the world can use for free.

 

    Adobe has long claimed that PDF is an open standard and dozens of companies, including a number of our competitors, have implemented that standard, but Adobe insists we need to charge a price.

 

    When we design products, we are very sensitive to potential competitor complaints, and we’ve tried to address Adobe’s concerns as best we can.  But first and foremost, we have to design products for customers, not competitors.  We are extremely mindful of our regulatory obligations, but that does not mean we should not innovate on behalf of our customers.

 

    Removing features that customers want from popular products is not a good outcome.  Customers should know, however, that even though we are planning to take the PDF feature out of Office to accommodate Adobe, we will offer this capability through a free download. 


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