Reported Complaints About Microsoft Implementing PDF Ring Hollow
Brussels – Reports that Adobe has changed course and is now complaining about Microsoft’s implementation of PDF in Microsoft Office suggest that Adobe’s commitment to open standards may be slipping, according to the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT).
“If recent reports are accurate, Adobe is turning PDF from an open standard into a double standard. It seems their new position is that this standard is now open for some to implement, but not all,” said ACT president Jonathan Zuck.
According to a piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Adobe is threatening to sue Microsoft for implementing the same version of PDF that more than 1800 companies have implemented based on Adobe’s published specifications. In addition this is a feature that Corel’s WorldPerfect Office and Open Office have had for years and Microsoft’s customers have been requesting.
As Adobe’s Rick Borstein said in his blog (http://blogs.adobe.com/acrolaw/2005/12/acrobat_and_pdf.html), “The PDF specification is “open” to the extent that anyone can look it and– if they are smart enough– create good PDF using it.” Despite espousing its commitment to open standards over the past several years, Adobe now seems to be reconsidering the value of that strategy.
“Adobe seems to be realizing that open standards have costs as well as benefits. While opening its technology to the world helped Adobe to spread Acrobat far and wide, it also limits its potential business models and incentives to continue innovating. The problem for Adobe is that they can’t put this genie back in the bottle,” said Zuck.
Adobe’s decision is particularly strange given the company’s initial embrace of Microsoft decision to implement PDF within Microsoft Office. As Adobe Vice President Eugene Lee told eWeek in October 2005, “Adobe is “pleased that Microsoft finally ‘gets it’, and we welcome them to the PDF party.”