Microsoft Offered Multiple Concessions To Adobe In PDF Dispute

A variety of options were on the table, including Microsoft shipping Adobe's Flash and Shockwave with Windows Vista.

Aaron Ricadela, Contributor

June 7, 2006

2 Min Read

Microsoft said Wednesday it had offered multiple concessions to Adobe Systems, including shipping Adobe's Flash and Shockwave software with Windows Vista, to try to resolve their dispute over document formats.

Adobe confronted Microsoft earlier this year over the planned ability for Microsoft's upcoming Office 2007 software to create files in the Portable Document Format, a technology Adobe developed. Adobe also complained about Microsoft's development of technology called the XML Paper Specification, a potential alternative to PDF, and its integration with the upcoming Windows Vista operating system.

Microsoft agreed to remove functions for saving documents in PDF and XPS formats from Office 2007, due early next year, and to offer the features as separate downloads. The dispute became public last week when Microsoft's lead attorney said in a report in the Wall Street Journal that Adobe was preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit in Europe over the matter.

Microsoft has said publicly that in addition to agreeing to separate the PDF- and XPS-creation features from Office, it offered to give PC makers the choice not to include XPS viewing and printing technology with installations of Vista on their machines. The Vista operating system is due early next year. A Microsoft spokeswoman said Wednesday the company had also offered to ship Flash and Shockwave, which let PC users view multimedia files, with Vista.

"Microsoft provided various options to work this out, and Adobe didn't take us up on any of them," the spokeswoman said. Adobe acquired Flash and Shockwave maker Macromedia last December.

Adobe has said Microsoft's proposed changes don't go far enough and has asked Microsoft to charge for downloads of the PDF and XPS features of Office, instead of offering them free of charge. Adobe hasn't decided whether to pursue legal action against Microsoft, the company said in a statement e-mailed to InformationWeek.

Adobe makes the PDF specification available as a freely usable standard to other software companies, and its no-cost PDF reader is available to anyone. To create PDF documents, PC users must purchase either Adobe Acrobat, which sells for $450, or software from other companies such as Apple Computer. "Our sole motivation is to maintain a fair, competitive landscape in the software industry," Adobe's statement said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's ambitions for XPS go beyond document layout and printing on Vista PCs. David Kaefer, director of business development for Microsoft's legal, intellectual property, and licensing business, said in May that Microsoft hoped to make XPS more compelling to PC users by encouraging independent software vendors to port the technology to other operating systems. Kaefer said the technology could be a "nonstarter" in the market if it only works on Windows computers.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights