Can Adobe Get the World to Standardize on PDF?

Opinion: While Adobe might want to rest on its laurels after releasing Acrobat 7.0, with its 500 new features, the company can't afford to waste a moment to prepare for Redmond's document management solution. PDFzone

Among the documents Adobe Systems provided the media supporting Mondays release of Acrobat 7 was a fact sheet outlining the pervasiveness of PDF (Portable Document Format) in the world.

Heres a small sampling of the eye-popping collection of stats:

  • As a de facto standard, 9.2 percent of the Webs 162 terabytes of content comprises PDF files; more than 20 million PDF files are available for download; Web content creators have linked to the Adobe Reader download 675,000 times, so far.
  • PDF/X is an ISO standard for the reliable delivery of press-ready, high-end color advertisements; PDF/A is a proposed ISO standard for the long term preservation and archiving of digital records; and PDF/Engineering and PDF/Accessible are both under consideration for adoption under their respective standards bodies.
  • As a government-mandated standard, Germany, the U.K. and many U.S. agencies have standardized on PDF for electronic document delivery; countless state and local governments have joined them.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about Adobes introduction of Acrobat 7.0.

These accomplishments attest that Adobes sales and marketing staff have turned the companys well-engineered software, originally created for the graphic design market, into a must-have application in the business world—no easy feat.

It also proves the supposition of Adobe visionaries early in Acrobats life: that if they made PDF a public file spec as Adobe had done with PostScript, a market would grow up around PDF, with third-party developers supplying applications for the document format that Adobe couldnt or didnt want to supply.

Bravo. PDF is right now, the document format of the day. But now its time to get back to work.

Adobe will have to work hard to stave off whatever it is Microsoft has up its sleeve—and rest assured, at some point the Redmond brain trust will bums-rush the show with its own PDF substitute and call it better, faster and free to those who buy Windows machines. Its not a question of if, but when.

/zimages/5/28571.gifIs Adobe heading toward open source? Read the news in "Adobe Eyes Linux Desktop Strategy."

Moreover, Adobe must continue to fight—hard—the perception that its a little, ol graphics software company catering to people who design print publications and Web sites.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead the full opinion on PDFzone: Getting More of the World to Standardize on PDF

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