Adobe, Analysts Welcome Microsofts Move to PDF

Microsoft has announced support for Adobe's PDFs just two weeks after the state of Massachusetts announced it will use only nonproprietary document formats. Is there a connection? (PDFzone)

Analysts, and even Adobe officials, expressed some surprise over the Monday announcement that Microsoft will support Adobes PDF (Portable Document Format) after 12 years of all but denying that the file interchange standard existed.

The timing of Microsofts action also raised some eyebrows.

Less than two weeks ago, the state of Massachusetts said it will use only nonproprietary document formats in state-affiliated offices effective Jan. 1, 2007.

On Monday, Microsoft said a forthcoming beta release of Office 12 will provide native support for PDF.

"Id say its a remarkable coincidence," Eugene Lee, vice president of marketing for Adobes Intelligent Documents Business Unit, told Ziff Davis Internet. "But I doubt they wrote the code in 10 days.

"We think the timing is interesting, too, in view of all the noise the operating system group at Microsoft has been making regarding the XAML [Extensible Application Markup Language] document formats they have developed, along with the new XML-based Office formats the applications group has devised," Lee continued.

"To have invested all that time and effort into those [projects] and not realize what customers really want is very interesting."

According to Lee, Adobe is "pleased that Microsoft finally gets it, and we welcome them to the PDF party."

The timing of the announcement appears to be driven by the Massachusetts decision, as well as format movements coming later this month by other state agencies, analysts said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...