Microsoft to Build PDF Support into Office 12

The software kingpin also is releasing pre-Beta 1 Office 12 bits to some of its Most Valuable Professionals. (Microsoft Watch)

Microsoft will build into its forthcoming Office 12 desktop suite a "save to PDF" capability, according to Office program manager Brian Jones.

Jones communicated word of Microsofts PDF plan for Office 12 on his blog on Saturday afternoon. He posted that Microsoft will add native support for PDF in Word 12, Excel 12, PowerPoint 12, Access 12, Publisher 12, OneNote 12, Visio 12 and InfoPath 12. picked up Jones posting, with a number of posters noting that Microsoft Office rival OpenOffice already offers a similar save to PDF capability.

Jones disclosure was somewhat surprising, given Microsofts announcement earlier this year of plans to incorporate "Metro," Microsofts PDF/PostScript alternative, into Windows Vista. (Microsoft currently is using the XML Paper Specification (XPS) to refer to many of its Metro components.)

And Microsofts Metro announcement was seen by industry watchers just one of a growing number of direct shots by Microsoft at Adobes PDF/PhotoShop/Illustrator empire.

Jones post also is somewhat puzzling, given the fact that Microsoft forbade the Office 12 Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) who attended last weeks Global MVP Summit from disclosing particulars about Microsofts next-generation Office suite, which is due to ship in the latter half of 2006.

Microsoft officials did acknowledge to Microsoft Watch that the Office team did provide pre-Beta 1 Office 12 bits to MVPs who attended the conference, albeit under strict non-disclosure-agreement (NDA) terms.

"Microsoft Office MVPs will receive a pre-beta release of Office "12" code under strict NDA," a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed late last week. "The MVPs form an essential part of Microsofts customer feedback processes and are now being involved earlier than ever in providing feedback about next version of Office products.

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