XML Paper Specification, codenamed "Metro," is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's PDF: an electronic document format that can be printed without needing the actual application that created it.
Microsoft's opened the XPS format and has provided APIs so that other developers can create applications that work with the document format, but it also plans to make it a centerpiece of Windows Vista.
"This is bigger than just Office," said Joe Wilcox, an analyst with JupiterResearch.
"Microsoft's treating Adobe as a competitor much more so than in the past," he added. "Look how the deck is stacked: XPS/Metro, Expression, and Windows Workflow Foundation. It's releasing product after product that competes with Adobe."
So it goes with XPS, Wilcox argued. "It made sense for Microsoft to announce [PDF support in Office], because now it's in a position to show the advantages of its own technology against PDF. Microsoft can makes its technology look a lot better, and unlike the basic PDF capabilities it will give Office, fully support its own technology."
For example, Microsoft could support editing of XPS documents within Office 12 applications to make it possible for round-trip document journeys. The developer, however, has not announced such plans.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.