Friday, June 02, 2006


Microsoft Office 2007 and PDF (Adobe): Friction in Software Ecosystems

Microsoft had intended to offer native 'save as pdf' option within Office 2007. Adobe 9which incidentally gives the reader away free) is not too happy with Microsoft providing this functionality! This seems to be the latest friction point within software ecosystems.

This seems to be an interesting case of who likes Open Source and who embraces it under what conditions...
Here is an interesting observation from Brian Jones, a program manager working on Microsoft Office:
"I'm still trying to figure that one out given that PDF is usually viewed as an open standard and there are other office suites out there that already support PDF output. I don't see us providing functionality that's any different from what others are doing.

It looks like Adobe wanted us to charge our customers extra for the Save as PDF capability, which we just aren't willing to do (especially given that other companies already offer it for free). In order to work around this, it looks like we're going to offer it as a free download instead. At least that way it's still free for Office users, but unfortunately now there is an added hassle in that anyone that wants the functionality is going to have to download it separately."

There is a CNET post on this as well discussing the legal angle.

The path to seamless interoperability is paved with many bottlenecks and coordination across the different software entities is a key to make the system work. Such frictions are inevitable. Microsoft and Adobe should work together for the sake of the customer.

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