Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Microsoft Removes PDF Support from Office 2007

Microsoft announced on Friday that it will remove support for the electronic document technology after negotiations with Adobe broke down.

"We would still make this functionality available as a separate download, for free," said Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner. "Adobe is saying it must be for a price. That is the sticking point."

No PDF for You

The talks between the two software companies, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, concerned Microsoft's inclusion of a "Save as PDF" function in Office 2007 and Windows Vista. According to Microsoft, Adobe objected to the feature and threatened to sue.

Microsoft's decision to pull PDF support has experts baffled.

Kyle McNabb, an analyst at Forrester Research, said that he was "just as confused as anybody" about the reversal. McNabb pointed out that PDF is free in the Macintosh environment as well as in OpenOffice, Sun's StarOffice, and Corel's WordPerfect suite.

Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner, offered a similar take, saying analysts at Gartner are scratching their heads over the decision to remove PDF support.

"Adobe has been talking about going to the European Union that is known to be sympathetic to competitors' antitrust claims," said Silver. "Microsoft has figured out they could easily add [PDF support] back in using an upgrade."

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