Microsoft, Adobe Continue Spat Over Office Integration
Microsoft Corp. said it has canceled plans to include an automatic way to save
documents in the popular PDF format in the next version of its Office software,
amid an ongoing dispute with Adobe Systems Inc.
Instead, users who purchase Office 2007, due out to consumers in January, will
have to download separate, free software to save documents created in Office
products such as Word and Excel as PDFs.
The spat with Adobe, which developed the popular PDF, or Portable Document
Format, comes as Microsoft is preparing to launch its own competing format for
saving documents that cannot be easily modified. Microsoft's technology is called
XPS, which stands for XML Paper Specification.
Microsoft had previously said Office 2007 would be able to save PDFs. But on
Friday, a Microsoft lawyer said Adobe had objected to Microsoft's plans and
discussions between the two companies had broken down.
David Heiner, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said Adobe had wanted Microsoft
to charge customers for the ability to save Office documents in either the PDF
format or Microsoft's new, competing XPS format.
Heiner said Microsoft would not agree to charge for the capabilities, but did
decide to offer them as separate, free downloads.
He said Microsoft expects Adobe to take legal action, perhaps in the European
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Adobe spokeswoman Jodi Warner said: "As
our CEO Bruce Chizen has stated numerous times in the past, Microsoft has a
monopoly and we are always concerned about the possibility that they might abuse
Warner said Adobe has discussed those concerns with both Microsoft and regulators,
but she declined to comment on the details of any discussions with the software
A spokesman for European Union antitrust regulators said they are not involved
in the dispute at this point.
"It is an intellectual rights issue, not a competition issue," said
EU spokesman Jonathan Todd.
Adobe's PDF format is popular with government agencies and businesses in part
because it allows users to share documents that can't easily be edited or changed.
Also, users do not need to have a copy of Microsoft Word or another paid product
to see documents, and reader software is available for a wide range of computers.
Currently, creating a PDF file from Office requires separate software, ranging
from the $449 Adobe Acrobat Professional to free products like Pdf995. Other
word-processing products also ship with tools for savings documents as PDFs.
In the closed-door discussions between the Microsoft and Adobe, Heiner said
Adobe also raised concerns about new technology being built into the forthcoming
version of Microsoft's Windows operating system that would let people save documents
in Microsoft's competing XPS format.
Heiner said Microsoft agreed to let computer makers remove that functionality
if they wanted to. Microsoft also offered to ship Adobe's free Acrobat Reader,
which lets people view PDF documents, with the new version of Windows, called
Vista. He said Adobe was considering that request. Microsoft had also offered
to include a PDF creation tool.
After many delays, Vista also is scheduled to be released to consumers in January.
Heiner said he thought it would be possible to include the free Adobe Reader
in Vista and still make the planned January consumer launch, although he said
things would have to move quickly.
"We're saying to Adobe, if you have any concerns about Microsoft shipping
XPS software in Windows, we will ship anything comparable you want," Heiner