Follow-up on PDF legal issues

There have been a ton of really great comments and questions today in relation to the news that we are going to have to pull our PDF and XPS publish support out of Office 2007. We will still offer the PDF and XPS publish functionality as a free download, but due to pressure from Adobe we are not able to ship it in the box. This is just an unfortunate added pain for our customers and doesn't really benefit anyone.

There were a few areas that I've seen a bit of uncertainty around lately, and it was mainly from folks wondering why Adobe would do this. While I can't say what the actual motivation was, I think I can help to clear up some of the speculation I've seen out there.

ISO 19005-1 compliant PDF/A

The first thing I've seen some folks suggesting is that the PDF output from Microsoft was somehow not following the PDF spec and that Adobe had to step in to stop that. I can assure you that is definitely not the case, and if you have any reason to believe that our PDF output was flawed, we would love to hear about it. If you have any feedback, you can go to Jeff Bell's blog which discussed our PDF support. He hasn't been too actively lately, but he's definitely still reading the comments. Cyndy also had a couple posts earlier on that gave more details on Office's PDF support (here and here).

To be clear, we worked really hard to follow the ISO standard for PDF. If you use the Beta 2 version of Office 2007, you'll see the following dialog when you choose to publish as PDF:

Notice that there are a number of options for how you publish your PDF. One of the key ones is to use the ISO 19005-1 standard for PDF:

You'll see that we really are trying to comply with the spec, and wouldn't have anything to gain by doing otherwise. Remember we are only a producer of this stuff (not a consumer), and doing anything non-compliant would just mean that our output would be flawed and not look right. That would of course undermine all the work we've done to build this support in the first place... we want people to use it.

Pluggable architecture

The second issue I've seen folks raise is that they thought we might have been blocking other people out from building their own solutions/formats into the product. That's also not the case. Check out this MSDN article that clearly explains how anyone could come along and add their own functionality into the publish feature:

You can see that we definitely are positioning Office as a platform for anyone to build solutions on top of. That's why we use the Open XML format as our new default format and it's why we focus on a rich object model.

Promoting XPS?

The third issue I've heard is that people think this may be a sneaky way for us to promote the XPS format. That's also not the case, as you'll see that we are removing the XPS support in the same way we are removing the PDF support. We actually separated the XPS support out because we wanted to make sure we weren't giving XPS an unfair advantage over PDF.


Please understand that this really is a pretty straightforward issue. If we could include it in the product we would, but unfortunately we can't so we had to go with the next best thing (a free download). It would be great if this could all get worked out, but from looking at the articles, our folks have been in discussion with the Adobe folks for a number of months now, and there hasn't been any progress. It's really a shame.


Comments (105)

  1. JoeM says:

    This is a real shame, some many of my customers wanted this out of the box (at least they can still download the update), but most will not download the update, if they even upgrade to the new version now.

    I hope this gets all worked out.

  2. BlakeHandler says:

    It’s additionally frustrating that Microsoft must now waste time to placate Adobe. Gee great – now people will criticize Microsoft for not making this as convenient as OpenOffice!

  3. >> now people will criticize Microsoft for not making this as convenient as OpenOffice! <<

    And they will, too!  

    Thanks for all of the straight forward information, Brian!  I realize my comments can be a bit sarcastic towards some of the anti-MS folks.  My apologies to those of you that might take offense to this… thats not my intention (to offend) and instead to (hopefully) help:

    * Present a more clear view of the historical facts that seem to be overlooked

    * Help showcase that when you step back from the situation and look at the entire picture, the pieces just don’t fit the way I know people believe that they do.  I’m not suggesting people are dishonest, just that its possible that with more information, things could be seen from a slightly different perspective.

    One thing is for sure… Conversation is healthy.  Discussion is healthy.  Thanks to both Brian, his team, and to MS for keeping these discussion boards "open" to anyone to make comments.  I learn something new every time I stop by for a visit… most of the times these are good, positive things.  Thanks to those of you who have helped me learn a thing or two throughout these discussions!

  4. The Insider says:

    Brian Jones did a follow up today on the PDF Legal issues that came about yesterday forcing the Office…

  5. As a followup to the post from yesterday, it turns out that Microsoft has decided to pull this feature…

  6. Well looks like Adobe and Microsoft have hit a bit of a bump in the

    road, after an announcement today…

  7. Rosyna says:

    Well, once I was actually able to get Office 2007 Beta 2 installed ( which took 3 attempts and 3 reboots, It’s clear that XPS wasn’t being promoted over PDF. In fact, XPS seemed far more hidden than PDF.

    It may be that Adobe is worried about MS’s history when it comes to "embracing and extending". Re: Java, OpenGL, OpenDocument, CSS, et cetera. All (except OpenDocument) started out with MS having support for the technology to the spec. But as time passed, this slowly morphed into making competing technologies and pushing those or adding things that made it no longer compatible with the spec.

  8. me says:

    From yesterday

    "* Finally, Microsoft was secretly financing the SCO copyright lawsuits which threatened companies who used Linux.

    I’ve seen these same accusations.  Yet the US Government and the EU, both of which have ZERO problems in taking MS into the courtroom for charges of illegal business engagement , don’t seem to have bought into these allegations.

    Or maybe I’ve missed something?  To be honest, I hear so many accusations being thrown MS’s way I tend to not worry about learning more about them unless they seem substantiated.  I haven’t seen anything BUT accusations.


    Business Week credible enough for you oh Mr. Skeptic Of Anything Anti-Microsoft?  For the record, there’s no evidence that Microsoft gave money directly to SCO but that they pulled strings to get money funnelled there.

  9. Fred says:

    Hi Brian,

    With XPS and PDF as separate downloads can you tell us where they will appear in the Office UI once they’re installed?  i.e. will we still find them on the File(Office Button) location they’re in now or will they be relegated to the ‘add-ins’ ribbon?

  10. Hi Rosyna,

    did you have any webbrowser open when you were trying to install Office?


  11. Fred,

    add-ins that are written for Office 2007 can appear anywhere on the ribbon and also appear in the Office button menu. If you are interested in how to program these kinds of things, check out my blog at


  12. PatriotB says:

    Ok, I would have posted this on the other entry where it belongs but since that’s been closed, I do want to say that I agree wholeheartedly with one of the bullet points that Fred posted:

    "Windows API’s have historically been released to 3d party application developers AFTER Microsoft has developed their own applications using those APIs."

    This is very true.  Office 12 uses advanced Glass/DWM APIs, which are only now just starting to be published.  I believe the Vista Beta2 Windows SDK finally has documentation for these APIs… but of course the documentation is very bare-bones and incomplete.  Office’s UI developers have an advantage over non-MS ISV’s at this point, as they obviously have been working with the Glass/DWM folks in MS in order to develop their product.

    The DOJ settlement was meant to improve this in regards to IE, but I know for a fact that there are still APIs used by IE that are not documented (see for an anaylsis).  Also, Vista’s IE uses "protected mode" which is based on a new security construct called "mandatory integrity level"–but those new security APIs have NOT yet been documented!  So, if Firefox wanted to implement the same type of protected mode, they would be out of luck; IE has the advantage.  Which is exactly what the DOJ settlement is supposed to prevent.

    Ok, this is definitely off the subject of this blog posting, but since the other posting was closed I really wanted to post this somewhere.

  13. Brian Jones has a nice follow-up post on the PDF Issue&amp;nbsp;that addresses some of the speculation around…

  14. @me (not "me" as in myself, for those who read this and wonder if I am making reference to my own comments… That’s just the name used in the comment @ )

    Thanks for the link… I’ll take a look at that now.

    One thing worth noting,

    "Or maybe I’ve missed something?  To be honest, I hear so many accusations being thrown MS’s way I tend to not worry about learning more about them unless they seem substantiated.  I haven’t seen anything BUT accusations."

    I really mean "Or maybe I’ve missed something?" as well as the rest of the above statement.  My point for stating this is simple,

    I hear SO MANY THINGS that I know for personal fact have absolutely nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with folks — I don’t know… hating Microsoft?  Thats all I can’t think of as to why people come up with some of the stories they do.  I’m not stating this is as fact (that they hate MS) and instead the only thing I can think of that would make sense of the comments I hear people make.

    So again… > Or maybe I’ve missed something? < wasn’t a sarcastic comment.  It was  a question followed by justification as to why I have come to take most of what I read/hear with a grain of salt.  In many cases this is what the "pick your accusation" is all about.

    None-the-less… I appreciate the link.  I will take a look at this now.

  15. @PatriotB

    Before I read the story at the other end of the link provided by "me" (whoever "me" is)…

    I can only assume by your comments that you are a developer?  If yes (and I assume yes), and with the disclaimer that I do not in ANY WAY speak for or represent anything that even remotely represents a true Microsoft stance (the last time I worked on campus was over six years ago, and this was as a contractor, so to say the least, my information in regards to anything that even remotely resembles an official MS stance is at best, outdated by six years, or in other words… has ZERO relavence on whats taking place on campus now… and furthermore, even six years ago, as stated, I was only a contractor.  Contractors do not gain access to ANYTHING beyond that in which is required for them to complete their task.

    With this in mind, I am speaking strictly from my own experience and opinions derived from this experience.

    With all of this…

    As a developer, you obviously understand the need for testing.  And when you are building a foundation for both your own future as well as the future of your customers, developing software against the API’s you are developing just makes common sense.

    With this in mind…  Isn’t kind of hard NOT to have early access to the API’s your building your own technological future upon?

    That said, I can’t state I have a full understanding of all of the DOJ rulings and such… so I am going to have to just leave it at that.

  16. @ Patrick Schmid

    Nice resource you have there @ 🙂  This is truly fantastic!

    As soon as I have a chance I will make a post to my blog for reference that lists your site as well as encourage folks to visit for some pretty kick butt info/tools

    Gracias 🙂

  17. Rosyna says:

    Patrick, nope. No browser was open. In fact, on the second reboot I tried installing Office 2007 without even running any applications. Still failed. On the third reboot, I did a custom install, made things like Access, Publisher, and OneNote "install when run 1st time" and the install succeeded. Sadly, the second time I attempted installing and cancelling, the Office 2007 hosed my 2003 install and even though I cancelled, it left a copy of 2007 that wasn’t usable so I *had* to try a third time. Odd since the first time I cancelled it restored all the 2003 files correctly.

  18. omz says:

    Brian, why are you complaining so much ? if you ( say Microsoft ) believe that you have legal rights to bundle the PDF writing functionality to Office 12, *just do it*, and let the issue be resolved in courts. What are your fears?

  19. follow-up to @me…

    Again, this is all unsubstantiated rumor-mill stuff.    I can’t comment on the SCO situation past the notion that everything seems completely based on hearsay and or unsubstantiated rumors.  This is also a year and half old.

    What I can comment on is what I know to be fact,

    Fact One : In the last three months Microsoft has made public their open source lab [@],

    Fact Two : Are providing their Virtual Server 2005 virtualization software free of charge, adding direct support for both Suse and RedHat Linux [@ > click the link to the press release for more info] in both software support (the addins that make that provide a better user/usability experience) as well as call center support.

    Fact Three : Over the last two years, Novell has acquired  both Ximian and Suse, both HEAVY Linux-focused companies.  MS has been working with Novell (among MANY others) in regards to the standardization of Office Open XML.

    Fact Four : Microsoft began the standardization process of the the CLI and the C# language well over five years ago, in which Ximian, headed by Miguel de Icaza (a GNU/Linux/GNOME pioneer), announced they would be building an open source CLI runtime, and a C# compiler [@].  After being acquired by Novell, they have since implemented and released full support for version 1.1 (July 2004 time frame) and are nearly complete with their support for version 2.0 (in fact, if not 100% feature complete, they are pretty dang near it) of both the C# compiler and their runtime implementation of the CLI (CLR)

    Please also note,

    While I do believe that MS is a good company that tends to get a bad rap for a lot of unjustfied reasons, I also do my best to promote Linux to the best of my ability when the various Linux communities showcase they truly "get it".  

    By "get it" I mean things like putting forth an effort to develop a desktop standard @, or showcase that even as a free, open source platform, they have still managed to to make significant headway in regards to a profitable business model [@] (note: which I later came to learn that this was probably attributed more to hardware sales that came with Linux pre-installed… but my point is that I believe Linux is a VERY GOOD THING and I stand behind the efforts of the various communities with full admiration and support).

    A search for "Linux" on my personal blog > < should help showcase that I am a firm believer in what Linux is all about.

    In short…  I simply want to make sure that I base my own beliefs on what I either know myself to be true, or what I can determine to be true based on facts.  If I allow myself to be swayed in one direction or another by every little hearsay/rumor-mill comment, I would never be able to get any work done.

    Thanks for understanding this. 🙂

  20. @omz

    How nice would it be if like could *actually* be that easy 😀

  21. Hmmm… I may have had too many links in my follow-up to @me… I don’t want to resubmit, as it was pretty long, so Just in case, I posted a copy to @

  22. Marco says:

    Given that Brian has told us what are _not_ the reasons for pulling PDF export, what exactly _are_ the (legal) grounds for doing so?

    I mean, exporting to some format – any format – is just functionality anyone can _expect_ from a word processor. So how is there an anti-trust case?

    And _if_ there is an anti-trust case, why doesn’t it exist with a free downloadable plug-in? What’s the point in that?

  23. davidacoder says:

    I actually believe omz has a good point. Here is a question to MS:

    Do you believe that your have the right to bundle a "Save as PDF" function with Office 2007 under cartell law?

    If yes, don’t wine but include it. Let Adobe take you to court and they will loose.

    If you think you would breach cartell law by including the feature, do what you just anounced and pull it.

    Arguing that this is bad for customers logically entails that you believe the current antitrust laws are bad for consumers. Is that really your position?

    In any case you shouldn’t confuse this with the "open format" discussion. It would indeed be a VERY strange position to say "It is legal to use a monopoly to crush a competitor, IF the issue at hand involves an open format. Whenever we deal with an open format, antitrust law doesn’t apply". Is that a position you want to take?

    You have argued, that the current situation is bad for consumers. If you think that anti cartell laws are good for consumers (and I assume you do) then the ONLY logical way to combine this with your position (i.e. that it is bad for consumers to not have "Save as PDF" bundled with Office) is to say that you don’t think this would constitute an unfair use of monopoly power. But if that is your position, why do you pull it? Just fight it through in court.

    So, yes, customers might wish they had this particular feature for free. But EVERY monopolist will be able to point to ONE thing that it provides which is actually great for consumers. And yet, that is not the issue of antitrust law. It preserves a greater good, namely functioning markets. In doing that consumers might loose a good feature, but a much greater good is preserved.

    I applaud you that you talk about this issue on your blog. But you should NOT only talk about this in the context of open formats. You should talk about this in the context of cartell law. And yet I don’t reat anything on that from you. You just completly avoided talking about the topic that motivated Adobe to do what it did, and instead talked about something completely different.

    I also understand that it is extremly frustrating to the individuals that work at MS when something like this happens, that they feel treated unfairly in comparison with their competitors etc. But that is the law. Monopolists play under different rules. And while this might be frustrating for some, it is for the greater good of all. I wish you had written something about that.



  24. Aaron Hall says:

    @David who writes: "I also understand that it is extremly frustrating to the individuals that work at MS when something like this happens, that they feel treated unfairly in comparison with their competitors etc. But that is the law. Monopolists play under different rules. And while this might be frustrating for some, it is for the greater good of all. I wish you had written something about that."

    — The greater good of all? Please… many things are declared and justified as being in the "good of all" when in fact they serve only the interests of a particular group.

    In this case, I would point out that if not for some freeware downloads like CutePDF and OpenOffice or WordPerfect, the only true source for the PDF format is Adobe. So tell me— WHO HAS THE MONOPOLY? Earlier in the year for my job, I was tasked with pricing out a plan to allow my organization to create PDF Forms that could be saved after they’re filled in by the end user. When I contacted Adobe and found out that the only means of doing so was through Adobe Acrobat Document Server, which incidentally would have cost us roughly $60,000 for only a handful of licenses, I was appalled. I cannot universally get that functionality through any other means that I have been able to find (even through the availability of Office 2007).

    Customers have examined alternatives to Office such as OpenOffice and WordPerfect for years and years, and despite their advancements, they continue to use Microsoft products… why? Because when it comes down to it, the products are more dependable and more compatible despite their "closed" nature. Microsoft is a business, and therefore it is their job to make money. They bend over backwards to support and improve their products, and when they demonstrate it through these means of offering their own services in conjunction with their own competing formats, it is a benefit to users. Period. Restricting the ability does in fact hurt customers whether you want to admit it or not.

    Just because a law currently exists, it doesn’t make the law "right" in every circumstance or situation. I am normally in agreement that laws have a purpose and should followed, because they serve a great purpose. But for all the reasons to have a law, there are also reasons that can exist where the law does not make sense.

    It is always amusing to me to read ideas from people who believe that things in the world should always be "fair, equal, and balanced"… only to turn around and demand special rules, restrictions, and considerations for others.

    If you want a fair market environment where Microsoft isn’t a "monopoly" then spend more time working to make Adobe and other companies compete fairly through improved development processes and marketing instead of hiding behind lawsuits.

    As a final thought— Microsoft announced the plans to included both formats months ago. Why has Adobe waited so long to file this complaint? Some, I suppose, would have us believe Adobe was working to negotiate with Microsoft. I’m sure that is probably true to some degree, but a more likely reason is that they were waiting to see what impact it would have. I think Microsoft is doing the right thing for customers, and I think it’s very generous of them to have offered to bundle licensed Adobe software as compensation. It’s certainly a position they would not have considered with previous competitors such as RealPlayer or AOL/Netscape for those of you who try to cry about the monopoly card.


    Aaron M. Hall

  25. Escamillo says:

    I don’t know why some of you (e.g. davidacoder) talking about Microsoft abusing its monopoly, when it seems to me that this is a case of Adobe using extortion tactics to protect its own monopoly in portable documents.  The extortion tactic being:

    "We’ll sue to protect our monopoly in portable document formats and creation thereof, regardless of whether we’re in the right or not.  It’ll cost you money to defend yourselves, risk delay of your products, and risk some idiot judge declaring Office to be a monopoly (this hasn’t occurred as of today), which will create a chill-effect on Office development in the future.  Furthermore, the venue for are suit will be Europe, a venue where the authorities are predisposed to rule against Microsoft regardless of the merits of the case.  Do you really want to risk that?"

    Micrososft didn’t want to deal with this (since many judges are indeed idiots, and the EC is very much anti-Microsoft), so they just accede to Adobe’s demands and move on.  Maybe the "open source community" can come up with a truly open portable document format (Adobe has shown that their format is open in name, not practice).  Oh, and Massechusettes may want to revoke blessing pdf as an "open" archival format as well.  Anyone claiming that pdf is "open" after this episode is being disingenuous (at the very least).

  26. I really don&amp;rsquo;t want to be Bill Gates.

    Yeah, you heard right.

    Even with a trillion dollars in…

  27. Escamillo says:

    Adding to my previous post regarding Adobe’s monopolostic behavior in this matter:

    First, it’s very arguable that Adobe does have a monopoly on PDF document creation (there are alternatives, but there are alternatives to desktop OSes on intel-compatible CPUs, and that didn’t stop a judge from ruling Windows to enjoy monopoly status in that market).  Given that, consider the following:

       Adobe wanted Microsoft to charge extra for the ability to save as PDF.  Presumably, they wanted the PDF-saving version of Office to increase its price to one comparable with Adobe’s own PDF creation products.  In other words, Adobe wanted to collude with Microsoft in a price-fixing scheme regarding PDF creation.  How’s *that* for monopoly abuse?

  28. Hammad Sharif says:

    There goes the ‘Open PDF format’. I feel at the end of the day, an office worker is the victam of this corporate battle. Saving PDF from office was one of the most desired feature and Adobe should have given some attention to this. After all, Adobe had declared it open.

    I really hope there is an easy way for people to know that Office still supports PDF through add-in. May be a prompt during installation or some kind of on-demand download.

  29. Lushootseed says:


    If Microsoft isn’t planning on "embrace and extend" strategy, why even have the option to turn off "ISO 19005-1 compliant" mode? Is this checkbox checked or uncheched out of the box? I strongly see a reason why Adobe isn’t buying your arguments. I think you owe it to all the readers to explain this part.

  30. Gabe says:

    I should point out here that openness of the format has nothing to do with monopoly abuse. HTML and HTTP are certainly open standards, but that didn’t stop Netscape from complaining about MS giving away a web browser.

    It sounds like Adobe isn’t asking for licensing fees, they just want MS to charge more so that as long as people have to pay for the feature, some might opt for Adobe’s product.

    Considering that Mac Office already has this feature, not to mention other free office suites like OpenOffice, it’s pretty clear that exporting to PDF is just a feature that office suites are now expected to have, such as mail merge or a grammar checker. Since the price of Office isn’t going up by including this feature, I don’t understand how it could possibly be anti-competitive. Colluding with Adobe to charge for it actually sounds a lot like the anti-comptetitive practice of price-fixing (

  31. Gabe says:

    Lushootseed, ISO-19005 actually defines a restricted form of PDF (PDF/A) which is specifically for archiving, so you probably don’t actually want your PDFs made that way.

    For example, it requires that all fonts (even standard ones like Helvetica) be embedded. Since you might not have a license to embed the fonts you use, they may have to be included as bitmaps (which is why you can’t uncheck that option when ISO-19005 is checked). Combined with the prohibition on compression, it’s quite likely that PDF/A compliant documents would be unnecessarily large. It’s nice to have the option, though.

    Other features disallowed by PDF/A are encryption, mixed color spaces (RGB and CMYK together), images without proper ICC profiles, anything interactive (like JavaScript), and digital signatures. You can read for further details.

    As Brian said, MS doesn’t make a PDF reader, so "extending" PDF would only create files that no program could read!

  32. Biff says:

    Adobe is rolling downhill with their PDF story, slowly but with great compassion. First, now, what is next on their mind,

  33. davidacoder says:

    @Aaron: I am not sure whether your stance is a) this is not a case where anti-trust law applies or b) anti-trust law applies, but leads to sub-optimal results, i.e. the law is wrong from an economic point of view, and this is one example where it shows.

    @Escamillo: You have an excellent point here. Even if Microsoft is convinced that including the feature would not constitute any abuse of monopoly power, they face a risk in taking that to court (although I have to say that I object to your point that the EU is "anti-MS". Guess what, we have laws in which you will not find the word "Microsoft" and cases like this are ultimately decided in court. The laws here might be stricter than in the US, but please don’t characterise that as "anti-MS")

    Just to make one thing clear: I am by no means an expert in anti-trust law. I don’t really have an opinion on whether MS has a monopoly (from an economic point of view), whether this constitutes a breach of anti-trust law etc. All I wanted to point out is that this discussion has to be about anti-trust issues, NOT about open formats. I have not read ANY clear position from MS on what they think the anti-trust situation is here, whereas they complain loudly about the open format point. But that is shifting away attention from the real issue.

    And finally. This should send down MS stock share (has it? I haven’t looked). It seems that by now it is enough for a competitor to threaten to take MS anti-trust issues before a court for them to pull features. Whether that is because they believe the accusations are right (and they would loose in court), or whether they simply make the business decision to avoid the risk shouldn’t matter much to investors. Before this day investors had their capital in a company that (at least in Office) did just innovate in whatever way they technically could. Since Friday they have their money in a company that is factually reduced in its actions by its anti-trust situation. That should make that investment less attractive.

    I believe the bigger question here is when MS leadership will come up with a plan to finally change the structure of the company such that MS can innovate freely again, without blocks from its anti-trust situation. Maybe break the company up and let each unit free? I really have no idea, but I believe that this is one of the questions that needs to be answered for the stock to take off again…

  34. I posted earlier that it looked gloomy for PDF support to be a part of Office 2007.&amp;nbsp; Well, it looks…

  35. Kirz Fahrji says:

    They said they will provide it as a free download… so what’s the problem? Why are people still complaining? Since when is it so hard to download an expectedly small plugin?

  36. vintner says:

    The only silver lining in this sad story of Adobe’s greed and short-sightedness is that PDF, while it was marginally OK for the desktop days, is a disaster for the web.  Anything that makes PDF harder for 96% of people to use is probably ultimately a good step.  It’s ironic that Adobe is doing the one thing which will be MOST damaging and which will do the most to reduce the remaining interest in PDF.  (I own licenses for everything Adobe sells, and I publish a lot of PDF–and I constantly hear from users who can’t make PDF docs view or print correctly on their computers.)

  37. IT Blog says:

    Es gab schon einige Stimmen die sich darauf gefreut haben, dass Microsoft Office 2007 endlich einen PDF Export enthalten wird. Leider haben diese jetzt einen kleinen D&#228;mpfer bekommen weil Adobe sich strittig stellt. Obwohl PDF/A (for Archiving) ein

  38. Gerry says:

    "Save as PDF" in Office 2007 would be really nice.  Perhaps Adobe is worried that there’s more to the "Save as PDF" feature than what is known so far.  How extensive is the support for PDF in Office 2007 anyway? Is it just to save to PDF format? If so, then that should be just the same as in other Office suites, and there should not be any problem for Adobe’s Acrobat & related solutions.

  39. Mabsterama says:

    Don’t know how many of you have seen this.

    Microsoft stated a while back that Office 2007 would have…

  40. me says:

    Thanks for the discussion, Brian.

    I am sorry to see the removal of PDF from Office 2007. It was _the_ single most important feature that I was looking forward to.

    My workplace recently decided to switch from Office to OpenOffice specifically due to the free built-in PDF features. Since then, our productivity has dropped. At least it will be available as a separate download. I only hope that will be enough to switch back.

  41. <i>(I own licenses for everything Adobe sells, and I publish a lot of PDF–and I constantly hear from users who can’t make PDF docs view or print correctly on their computers.)</i>

    <b>This is absolutely true!…</b>

    Visually and print-wise , it is an inferior option for Desktop publishing – as well as being  bloated file size..  

    Web wise, it really is an unpleasant experience opening a PDF web page in a browser as compared to an HTML file.

  42. FARfetched says:

    I’m no fan of Microsoft by any stretch, but I think Adoobie [sic] is the bad guy here. The good part is, this action won’t do Adoobie any good — people who want to produce PDF will simply download the plug-in and get on with it.

    After Adoobie dropped FrameMaker on the Mac, I shifted to completely Free tools for my technical writing work: groff to format, GhostScript to produce PDF from groff’s PostScript. So by making one product unavailable for me, I ended up dropping <i>two</i> of theirs.

    I can only hope lots of other people end up doing this (replacing two Adoobie products with something else, Free or otherwise).

  43. SkunkWorks says:

    &quot;Todo el mundo contra mi&quot; es el dicho favorito de mi vecina, la paranoica. Cuando sale a la calle, pasa…

  44. Nightingale says:

    Well then, WHY are you unable to use the generic license for using PDF format that allows ANYONE (including OpenOffice, pdflatex etc.) to implement PDF writing support? You should have every right to do it no matter how much Adobe dislikes it as long as you fulfil the conditions. So what is it that your implementation doesn’t meet?

  45. Marco says:

    In my opinion (but IANAL), we should not be worried at all about the so called "generic license". Adobe does have copyright on the PDF specs, but copyright alone is not a legal basis for licensing implementations.

    Now if _patents_ would have been needed to implement the PDF export functionality, that would be a totally different matter. But I doubt this is the case, given that others offer this functionality for free.

    Adobe probably has pulled some other card. Unfortunately, we do not know which one. Has anyone seen any statement from Adobe?

  46. John says:

    Not sure what all the fuss is about.  I’ve been enjoying "Save as PDF" support in *all* my windows applications (not just Office) via the *free* CutePDF Writer for a couple years.  

    Yes, it’s a download, but it’s free, available *today*, and couldn’t be easier to use (File – Print – to PDF file).

  47. EricE says:

    @PatriotB from the previous blog:

    "Sounds to me like Adobe’s the one abusing *their* monopoly.


    Looks like Adobe could find out what it’s like to be branded an illegal monopolist. "

    The difference is MS isn’t just branded, they *are* a convicted monopolist.

    Not that I’m taking sides in this current debate – I would like to see Adobe’s story before I decide.  MS is still offering support as a plugin, so I really don’t see the fuss.  

    We create a custom install of Office and roll it into our image, so this will hardly make an impact to us.  It will make life marginally more difficult for the Small Office/Home Office folks, but I have a feeling for something that has been as desired as much as this has it won’t take long for word (pardon the pun) to get around.

  48. jace says:


    Will the free plugins be available for Office 2003 as well?

    Thank you

  49. easson says:

    If Save as PDF and Save as XPS are to be optional downloads, then make those downloads part of the *installation process* for Office 2007.  Specifically, the installation wizard should have a step for downloading and installing optional add-ons for Office 2007.  The step should have a list with options for downloading and installing: 1) Save as PDF add-on; 2) Save as XPS add-on; etc. (e.g., templates, themes). The first two items should be *pre-selected* to be downloaded by default.  Each download option should also have a "Tell me more…" next to it that the user can click, to see more information about the add-on.

  50. omz says:

    @M. David Peterson

    >omz, How nice would it be if life could *actually* be that easy 😀

    i didn’t say it would be easy … but if you are "clean" you dont have anything to fear ( the judicial system does guarantee people rights, or you don’t think so? and MS has money to afford a long litigation )

  51. Diogenes Veritas says:

    You Microsofties crack me up.  How about if I want to put Save-As-Word (or -Excel, or -PowerPoint) in my application because customers want it.  And that application happens to be OpenOffice on Linux?  Oh yeah, that’s bad for customers because "what’s good for Micro$oft is good for the world."  You want to know what customers want?  They want Microsoft to relinquish its monopolies on desktop operating systems and office productivity software so that some real innovation can happen.  And they want Microsoft to cut its prices by 50%.  Let’s have a show of hands — how many customers here would rather have "save-as-pdf" from Microsoft (and btw you can get it from Adobe) for free in Office, and how many would prefer to get Microsoft to drop all its prices by 50%?

  52. BrianJones says:

    Diogenes, what are you talking about? OpenOffice has had the ability to open and save the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats for years. We’ve never done anything to prevent that. In fact, we’re actually now doing more to encourage it by standardizing our new default file formats so that anyone can freely use them.

    What are you suggesting (other than reducing the price)?


  53. jace says:

    Brian, any comment on whether the plugins are going to be available for Office 2003?


  54. BrianJones says:

    Hi jace, sorry I missed that question earlier. The PDF support that I’ve been talking about is only for Office 2007. There are plenty of 3rd party plug-ins out there that do work with Office 2003. The PDF work that we’ve done though is only for 2007.


  55. Mike says:

    Brian Jones said "There are plenty of 3rd party plug-ins out there that do work with Office 2003. The PDF work that we’ve done though is only for 2007."

    That’s ridiculous. Why did you develop it in the first place then?

    If customers count so much for you, I wonder how you can not make the free download available to all Office versions. After all, it’s a decoupled component.

    Ah, politics again….

  56. BrianJones says:

    Mike, do you have much experience working on large scale software development projects? If so, I don’t see how you can make the statement you just did that this is politics. Office is a huge application and the PDF support was initially built directly into Office 2007. It’s going to be hard enough pulling it out and fully testing it so that it works properly with Office 2007. To make it work with older versions of Office would be a ton more work, and that hardly has anything to do with politics.


  57. Mike says:


    Should I remind you that Office 2003 provided support for the virtual printer known as "microsoft document image writer". Why did you go to PDF instead of sticking to MDI?

    Why I say it’s all politics? because there is no technological ground. Disclaimer : I am a file format generation ISV.

    "To make it work with older versions of Office would be a ton more work". Why? the internals of Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Publisher have changed so much? I thought you had to preserve "full fidelity"… I contend that the core engines are the same, just that the serialization is "ZIPPED-XML" instead of binary OLE. Again, PDF generation has nothing to do with quirks and new features introduced by Office 2007, or did I miss something obvious?

    (sorry to post a negative comment again)

  58. BrianJones says:

    Mike, the PDF output is far more powerful that what you could get through a print driver. It supports TOCs, hyperlinks, bookmarks, etc.

    The internals change every version, and it’s only through a large amount of development work and testing that we are able to maintain backward compatibility. I can’t stress enough how much work that is, and why making the PDF work with older versions wouldn’t be nearly as simple as you suggest.


  59. Escamillo says:


    "The difference is MS isn’t just branded, they *are* a convicted monopolist."


    Um, what does this even mean?  Microsoft was never "convicted" of anything, "convicted" doesn’t apply to civil cases.  According to’s entry for "conviction", "NOTE: Jurisdictions differ as to what constitutes conviction for various statutes (as habitual offender statutes). Conviction is rarely applied to civil cases."

    If I recall correctly, Microsoft lost a civil suit, appealed, much of it was thrown out and sent to a new judge to be retried under more appropriate guidelines, at which point both sides settled.  There was no "conviction".

    Also, having a monopoly isn’t illegal, so how can one be "convicted" of such anyway?  

    Please leave this "convicted monopolist" rhetoric at slashdot where it belongs.

  60. jace says:

    Brian, thanks for getting back on the pdf plugin.

    I read elsewhere, your blog i’m nearly certain, that the xps plugin will be available downlevel to 2003, is this still correct?

    Thank you.

  61. BrianJones says:

    Hi Jace, I think that’s actually a seperate XPS plugin that is just a printer driver, so it doesn’t have nearly the level of functionality that the 2007 PDF & XPS publish does. I’m not sure on the details of it, but you can probably find out more (or ask) over on Andy’s site:


  62. ecpearson says:

    It really is all about PR and politics, it is even so in most of these posts, either people are Pro or Anti-MS. Who cares?

    To me the issue isn’t about who gets what credit or profit, but what benefits consumers. Like or not, PDF has become a somewhat de facto standard for sharing documents securely with some fidelity, just as MS Office has become the productivity standard…and in the end some standards are a good thing, no chasing 40 formats for each Word Processing file etc.

    OpenOffice does have it, but the PDFs aren’t perfect, but they sure are smaller than the ones Acrobat Distiller produces.

    If Adobe want to sell more copies of Acrobat as a distribution and commerce application, the more PDFs, the more people want to use and edit them.

    I just hope this is just PR whining and Adobe and MS can agree.

    Personally as a FlashPaper user, I would rather export to it, not near the size of PDF and better quality.

  63. Francis says:

    Please leave XPS in Office by default. I understand that some people might view including XPS but not PDF as an attempt to leverage MS’ power to quash Adobe, a la Media Player and Real.

    Might renaming and repositioning XPS be a way out of this contretemps? XPS is the replacement for the spooler format. Why not move XPS to the "Print to file" option (after all, Office *already* offers this for saving PRN files)?

  64. Gabe says:

    PatriotB, IE 7 doesn’t need any special APIs to run as a low integrity process. All you have to do is start a process with a low integrity token and it won’t have access to common system resources.

    See for some code examples of how to create a low integrity process and files that it can access.

  65. Wesley Parish says:

    I’m afraid I don’t understand Adobe’s actions.  And reading the comments, the only one that has made any sense to me has been Marco’s

    "Adobe probably has pulled some other card. Unfortunately, we do not know which one. Has anyone seen any statement from Adobe?"

    To me, it doesn’t matter whether or not MS Office 2007 includes PDF as an installation option or as a download, because I tend not to use MS Office anyway.  OpenOffice, KOffice and AbiWord suit me fine.

    But this doesn’t show Adobe in the best of lights.

  66. SkunkWorks says:

    &quot;Todo el mundo contra mi&quot; es el dicho favorito de mi vecina, la paranoica. Cuando sale a la calle, pasa…

  67. Marco says:

    Not that it clears everything up, to put it mildly, but at least Adobe reacted:

    Adobe says:

    "As a matter of policy we do not comment on discussions with customers, partners or competitors. However, in response to allegations made by Microsoft to the press, Adobe has made no determination to take legal action against Microsoft. Further, with regard to any discussions we have had with Microsoft about Office and Vista, our sole motivation is to maintain a fair, competitive landscape in the software industry. Any suggestions to the contrary are unfounded."

    Well, that could still mean that they threatened with legal actions, and it is still not clear what they said to microsoft.

  68. Avi says:


    While Microsoft was never convicted in a criminal proceeding, the antitrust laws, the company was found liable for its antitrust violations. The D.C. Circuit reversed the order of remedies but affirmed the finding of liability. Furthermore, antitrust violations under Federal law can also be brought as criminal violations, but that is generally reserved for hard core price fixing rather than maintaining a monopoly.

  69. Marco says:

    I had some discussion about this today, and we found it actually more plausible that Adobe has not so much a problem with PDF export, but rather with XPS as a competing technology. It seems to me that this would make a more sensible antitrust case.

    Does the PDF export functionality rely on XPS? If not, then I could also imagine that removing XPS while keeping PDF is something that Microsoft would rather not do (despite popular demand).

  70. Sean DALY says:

    Brian – do you wish to comment on the Adobe statement?

  71. Allen Streitigkeiten mit Adobe zum Trotz will Microsoft dennoch an der PDF-Funktion in Office 2007 festhalten. In der Box-Version wird sie zwar nicht enthalten sein, aber den Anwendern gratis als Addon zum Download angeboten werden. Das gilt nicht nur

  72. BrianJones says:

    Hey Sean,

    I just saw that this morning. There are a couple articles on it, and I think the official Microsoft response pretty well sums it up:

    "We implemented the PDF specification that Adobe made

    publicly available as an open standard, which is also the very same open standard that has been adopted by Apple, Corel, Sun and


    We worked really hard to follow the standard, and since we don’t build any PDF viewers ourselves it wouldn’t have made any sense for us to extend it in anyway.


  73. marc says:

    this one from is very tough:


    Microsoft has demonstrated a practice of using its monopoly power to undermine cross platform technologies and constrain innovation that threatens its monopolies. Microsoft’s approach has been to “embrace and extend” standards that do not come from Microsoft. Adobe’s concern is that Microsoft will fragment and possibly degrade existing and established standards, including PDF, while using its monopoly power to introduce Microsoft-controlled alternatives – such as XPS. The long-term impact of this kind of behavior is that consumers are ultimately left with fewer choices.


  74. A User says:

    Despite all the ranting and blustering, we all knew all along  that the bottom line was the point quoted above from the Adobe statement, no more and no less.

  75. Marco says:

    Well, Adobe is allowed to have such concerns. But I doubt that those are the bottom line why Microsoft pulled the PDF export.

    You won’t hear me ranting about Microsofts implementation of the PDF export functionality. Until now, I have seen no evidence that it wouldn’t adhere to the standard. Indeed, as Brian pointed out, it wouldn’t make sense to not follow the standard if one does not make a viewer.

    Now to be honest, in terms of consumers eventually having fewer choices, I do not know what would be the best option. Not having XPS or not having PDF.

  76. BrianJones says:

    Microsoft just posted a response to the Adobe statement from earlier in the week. I have a seperate blog with link to both Adobe and Microsoft’s statements:

    I’m also going to shut down further comments on this particular post so we can carry on the discussion on the new post.


  77. Mabsterama says:

    Don&amp;#39;t know how many of you have seen this. Microsoft stated a while back that Office 2007 would have

  78. says:

    This is something I almost forgot, until I had to install Office 2007 to another PC in the company I work for. And this is also something probably not many people will know (or remember, from the early beta stages…

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