osp blog

Exit Save-As-PDF for Microsoft users?

Microsoft has recently announced that their 2007 release of Office will not support the "save-as-PDF"-option anymore. This might be bad news for designers' favorite file-format. PDF could become rather exotic when Microsoft users decide en masse to "Save-As-XPS" instead.

Adobe inc. owns the patents for creating and reading PDF-files, by now one of the most widely used formats to exchange documents between users on different platforms and programmes.

Adobe desires to promote the use of PDF for information interchange among diverse products and applications.
Accordingly, the following patents are licensed on a royalty-free, nonexclusive basis for the term of each patent and for the sole purpose of developing software that produces, consumes, and interprets PDF files that are compliant with the Specification

Adobe does not charge Scribus or Open Office for implementing PDF export in their packages, probably simply because these package do not make money off their product, and also: many day-to-day users might result in additional users of their high-end, and expensive products (Although apparently Adobe does not charge Apple for including this functionality?).

Because Microsoft is making lots of money with Office, and the ability to do PDF export adds to the value of the package, Adobe has tried to make Microsoft (users) pay for this functionality already for a while. But in turn Microsoft simply decided to exclude the feature from their 2007 release.

In that sense, I can see Adobe's side, even though I don't believe that any file format, simply a way of storing someone else's content, should be protected.
(Gregory Pittman, Scribus mailinglist)

It looks like Adobe will have trouble forcing Microsoft to pay because of Anti-trust laws and exactly because of them not sueing any other free and or open source use of their tool. It does give Microsoft the perfect excuse though, to move on with their own XPS-standard after all.