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Adobe Threatens Microsoft With Suit

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the waving-a-big-stick-around dept.

362

lseltzer writes "Adobe has threatened an antitrust suit against Microsoft, over PDF writing in Office 2007. Adobe wants Microsoft to separate the feature and charge extra for it. Microsoft has agreed to remove PDF writing, but won't charge extra." From the eWeek article: "In February, Adobe Chief Executive Bruce Chizen told Reuters he considered Microsoft to be the company's biggest concern. 'The competitor I worry about most is Microsoft,' Chizen said at the time. Adobe's PDF technology lets producers create and distribute documents digitally that retain designs, pictures and formatting. "

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362 comments

Summary incorrect. (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453003)

Adobe isn't "Threatening Microsoft With a Suit" - Microsoft is speculating that Adobe will file an antitrust suit in Europe.

I think its FUD on MS's part: From Adobe's PDF Reference [adobe.com] page:
The PDF Reference provides a description of the Portable Document Format and is intended for application developers wishing to develop applications that create PDF files directly, as well as read or modify PDF document content.
Unless MS extends PDF in a manner imcompatable with adobe's PDF. (but that would never happen [slashdot.org] )

Re:Summary incorrect. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453068)

Unless MS extends PDF in a manner imcompatable with Adobe's PDF

I tend to agree, unless MS is mis-stating its case to garner early sympathy. Adobe Opened the PDF spec, unless they specifically reserved some portion as "trade secret" or the license restricted implementation of certain features. Adobe's been making money on their Portable Document Format for a decade, and if the product is doomed to slide into the non-profitable abyss, then they will need to adjust. Perhaps they could react by extending Acrobat into a full featured Word processor?

Re:Summary incorrect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453140)

Microsoft is speculating that Adobe will file an antitrust suit in Europe.
If there's no threatened lawsuit then what exactly are they supposed to be negotiating about?

Re:Summary incorrect. (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453285)

If there's no threatened lawsuit then what exactly are they supposed to be negotiating about?

Anti-trust Lawsuits are a subset of Lawsuits. Just because there are legal issues to be worked out (patents, trademarks, lecensing) does not imply that a breakdown in negotiations will result in an "Anti-trust" lawsuit.

Even pointed out on a techie website as FUD, MS FUD works. Are we all doomed?

Software Dictatorship (5, Interesting)

B_SharpC (698293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453194)

Software is a dictatorship eg Microsoft. Other businesses are more fairly partnerships eg law partnerships, real estate partnerships, medical etc.

It is because techies have such poor social skills. They talk of libertarian ideals but in reality are mostly doormats who feel safer with a monolithic dictator. Nerds sadly trade proper ownership for the false substitute of being controlled by surrogate big daddy.

Adobe software is fighting a losing battle in a totalitarian industry where the tech worker attitude enables tyranny.

What's the Correct One? (2, Insightful)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453202)

OK, I'm stumped. Why would Microsoft leak this story unless Adobe were threatening legal action? Why is Adobe refusing to comment on it?

There's no reasonable reading of the story that doesn't include an Adobe threat of legal action. And do you really find it hard to believe that another software company would threaten Microsoft with an antirust suit?

So (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453008)

will they be coming after pdftex/pdflatex next?
Or ps2pdf?

Whats the point of opening the spec for PDF, if you don't want other people's applications to be able to write them?

Re:So (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453047)

I think the real concern is spectacular PDF authoring a la Acrobat. And then there's the darndest thing - Microsoft applications seem to import other peoples formats real well, but they don't export worth a damn (if at all).

So why isn't Adobe expected to sue Apple? (3, Interesting)

dunsurfin (570404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453051)

So why isn't Adobe expected to sue Apple? Print to PDF is an integral part of OS X.

Re:So why isn't Adobe expected to sue Apple? (3, Insightful)

tak amalak (55584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453088)

Because Apple licensed it from Adobe.

Re:So why isn't Adobe expected to sue Apple? (1)

bobKali (240342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453127)

I'm guessing that's because Apple's not got a (almost) monopoly in the PC market, and therefore antitrust wouldn't apply. Looks to me like Adobe might say that MS Office has a virtual monopoly in the office suite market and that MS is using their market dominance to squeeze Adobe out.

just my wild-ass guess.

Yet another misleading summary. (4, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453009)



From TFA (emphasis mine):
Microsoft Corp. said it expected Adobe Systems Inc. to file an antitrust suit in Europe after talks to use Adobe's technology broke down this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Adobe hasn't 'threatened' anything. Nowhere in the story is the word 'threat' used.

Re:Yet another misleading summary. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453026)

Yup. I recommend the department line be changed to "from the slapping-a-braindead-Zonk-around dept."

Playing Devil's Advocate here (5, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453018)

The script "ps2pdf" has been part of the Ghostscript package installed on every Linux, Solaris and BSD system for a long time.

What do Adobe think of that?

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (2, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453079)

Well the headline is just a blatant lie as other people have pointed out but...

You don't sue people who don't have money. Why go after some shlub?

Note: The above statement does not apply to creatures and other entitites that have eruptedd out of the orifices of the devil such as the RIAA and the MPAA.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1, Interesting)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453222)

mod parent up.

openoffice has pdf export - no money - no lawsuit.

we have programmale format objects for xml in several
programming languages which can make pdf's with xml/xslt
but again - no money - no lawsuit.

kde can print into pdf (i think it may use ps2pdf internally)
but no money here neither so no lawsuit.

this is the very same reason why bittorrent's author
is not in the court of law yet neither. he doesn't make
a penny from the file sharing going on here, so he
won't be sued. but the site runners that make money
from banners, they get a highway to their lawyers, cause
they have $$$.

it's 2006, nobody sues for justice, it's just about the money.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453087)

PDF's an open standard. MS seems to be FUDding it up for some reason.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (3, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453211)

very valid reason (well on Microsofts part) They want to release a "superior format" and lock people into it by removing it from thier software and saying Adobe made us do it.

Basically they are flat out lying to ruin adobe by getting the idiot masses to rebel against Adobe.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453341)

Yeah it wouldn't surprise me if it exported to something that was called PDF, but was brain dead or broken in such a way that it only worked with other Microsoft products. Maybe it wouldn't be that way initially, but pretty soon Microsoft would be dictating to Adobe the changes to the format, and Adobe would just have to bend over and enjoy it, or else new versions of Acrobat wouldn't work with everyone's Word-exported PDFs.

It's not like MS doesn't have a long history of producing brain-damaged products. Heck, it seems like every time they try to use a standard format or protocol, they end up abusing or breaking it just slightly. It's as though they're fundamentally incapable of following somebody else's spec. (Case in point: Outlook Express and IMAP. UW-IMAP even has a special "Microsoft Brain Damage" mode to deal with their misbehavior.) That's pretty much their M.O., it seems: make a shitty product and let everyone else deal with the mess.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453102)

The script "ps2pdf" has been part of the Ghostscript package installed on every Linux, Solaris and BSD system for a long time. What do Adobe think of that?

They probably think "That's not going to be installed automatically on 90% of business computers; who cares?" Office, of course, will be. But while that is a dramatic and real difference, I don't think there's anything they can or should be able to do about it.

Personally, if it means that people stop using Word as the format of choice for passing around complex documents, I'm all for it.

TWW

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453120)

I can't speak for Adobe here, but I would speculate that they don't think a Unix-based command line PDF generating utility which has been integrated into very little with a meaningful UI to a typical office worker is a particularly big threat to their Windows-based GUI PDF generating utility which integrates into other software.

OTOH, Microsoft integrating such functionality into Office would effectively kill off a significant market for Adobe Acrobat pretty quickly. A lot of people either don't know of free Windows-based alternatives (hint: provided you don't need much more than "Print to PDF" functionality, they exist, and they don't have to be OpenOffice) or are still of the opinion that free software is free because it's worthless.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453170)

A Unix command-line utility is as powerful as it gets.

What about if someone set up a box to listen on port 9100, like it was a JetDirect-compatible printer, so you "print" documents to it; and convert the received documents to PDF and serve them out via an Apache server, so you can later download PDFs of what you "printed" from a web-based interface ?

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453346)

That's actually a very cool idea, I might set up something like that at work.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

mikesmind (689651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453207)

I only have the need to create simple PDF newsletters. Since I can't do that in Word, I installed OpenOffice.org at work. Now, I simply open up a Word document in OpenOffice.org and export it to PDF. It works like a charm for my purposes.

I can certainly see why Adobe would be scared of a PDF export funciton in Office. Many, many people would take advantage of it. As it stands now, most office workers do not even know that this capability is available in OpenOffice.org. Also, I suspect that many companies, as it is in my company, does not have OpenOffice.org on their approved software list.

PDFCreator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453328)

You don't even need to install OpenOffice to get a PDF "printer" driver. Check out PDFCreator at http://www.theopencd.org/programs/pdfcreator [theopencd.org]

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453288)

I work in an all-Windows shop, and everyone basically uses the freeware print-to-PDF utilities (there are a number of them, all more or less identical), which in at least some cases, use the GPL libraries at their core.

I'm not sure what the penetration of those things is like, but in my office it's really high, like up around 80 or 90 percent. Their most frequent use is making softcopy "prints" of web pages to send to people, to avoid the formatting getting too mangled (which would happen if you sent it as an HTML file).

Frankly I think putting PDF generation in as a printer driver, a la Mac OS X, is more powerful than putting it into the application itself. Anything that's on your screen can be made into a PDF that way.

I don't really understand why Adobe would be all up in arms about a basic Word output capability. I think there has to be something more to this: Microsoft wanted to include more advanced PDF generation capabilities than would be provided by the usual printer-driver type output plugins. That's getting into Adobe's rice bowl in a serious way: the domain of Acrobat was never just creating everyday PDFs (at least since everybody and their cousin could make them for free), but in making more advanced ones: forms, signed documents, encrypted documents, etc.

I think that Microsoft must have wanted to implement the whole "PDF workflow" (creation, editing/markup, signing, encryption, management, etc.) instead of just PDF export; that's the only reason why I can think that Adobe might have not been cool with the idea. Otherwise, more people producing PDFs means more demand for Acrobat, because you need it to do all the things you'd expect to do with paper besides print and file.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (2, Interesting)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453196)

There's different possibilities.

One is that some subset of distiller is in Microsoft Word under an agreement with Adobe. If you install Adobe Acrobat (not the reader, the full version), it adds a subset of distiller to Word.

There is a LOT of business out there that converts Word documents to PDF. Adobe makes a lot of money from it, and Microsoft is speculating that when they add PDF capabilities to Word for no extra charge, that this market will be quashed and Adobe will lose money.

Kinda like when Microsoft gave away IE while Netscape was charging for their browser. Killed the browser market, killed Netscape.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate here (4, Informative)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453267)

Remember, there are different rules for monopolies. As a monopoly, MS was found to have improperly bundled its browser with windows by US courts, while this same bundling commonly occurs in linux distros. It's improper leveraging of a monopoly position to force a competitor out of business that may be at issue here assuming you can show that MS has a monopoly in the office suite area.

What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453024)

How is it that Apple is able to get away with allowing easy generation of PDFs via OS X's printing utilities, but Microsoft can't? Did Apple pony up Adobe's danegelt? Or are they too small for Adobe to care?

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (1)

SaturnTim (445813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453081)

Apple's Display technology - known as Quartz - utilizes the PDF Drawing model.
Source:apple [apple.com]

So I'm guessing that apple took care of the licensing issues far in advance.

--ST

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (5, Informative)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453091)

Neither. Microsoft said they *think* Adobe will want to sue them, and so Microsoft is releasing preemptive FUD against Adobe.
Regards,
Steve

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453116)

Apple are too small, i.e. they haven't been found guilty of leveragin a monopoly.

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453119)

How is it that Apple is able to get away with allowing easy generation of PDFs

How is it that the MS fanbois leap to defend MS & Bash Apple without reading the article?

Adobe's threatened nothing. Microsoft is spreading FUD.

(and Apple uses PDF for a helluva lot more then what you've mentioned)

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453151)

Well, NeXT did have a license to use Display PostScript in NeXTSTEP. So even if there were licensing fees for PDF (which there aren't, afaik), Apple would probably have been covered under NeXT's previous license agreement. This is pure speculation, of course...

Re:What's sauce for Apple isn't sauce for Microsof (1)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453340)

This is true for Crystal Reports as well. We export PDFs all the time via Crystal and have never had to install Adobe Standard to be able to do so. Although if you're willing to pay the outrageous amount of money for Crystal, they may as well give you the ability to export as a PDF since you've already been raped.

When you whine... (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453029)

When you whine next time how come Vista doesn't have built-in the OneCare service or doesn't have this and that feature, remember this article and think again why it doesn't.

Adobe is wrong in this instance. They've opened the format for anyone to implemement since it's good for them gaining market share and ubiquity.

Now that Microsoft wants to add PDF support like thousands other 3-rd party PDF writer products out there (including OpenOffice), Adobe threatens with suit.

PDF is either an open format for anyone to implement, or licensed. You can't open it but threaten to sue if you don't like who implements it.

Re:When you whine... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453070)

If you actually pulled your head out of your arse and read the article you would see it has nothing to do about that.

It has to do with MSFT wanting to pay much MUCH less for licensing the advanced PDF features (signing, forms, etc..) and not about the 99% of the PDF readability features.

BTW, Ghostscript makes a better PDF than Acrobat Pro does. take a source PS and ghostscript makes it 3K while Acrobat Pro makes it 23K.

They are trying to bloat their own crap!

This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453071)

The argument isn't that Microsoft doesn't have a license -- it's that Microsoft is leveraging a monopoly. The dichotomy isn't whether something is open or licensed; Adobe isn't arguing that PDF isn't open, or that Microsoft needs a license. What it's being speculated that Adobe may argue is that Microsoft, by taking advantage of that open format, is illegally extending their monopoly.

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453114)

And if MS implemented the OpenDoc format in Office and Windows, would that also be MS illegal extending their monopoly? Time and again there has been calls for MS to implement open formats, and on the first one of any significance they run into potential difficulties with competitors, is it any surprise that they hold back on others?

MS needs to compete as well, and if its competitors (openoffice et al) contain the ability that they are including, I dont see how it can be considered an extension of their monopoly by illegal means.

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453148)

The potential claim is that Microsoft is leveraging their monopoly into a different product space, ie. that PDF creation tools are a different product space than office suites. Traditionally this has been the case, even if it isn't so much anymore. If that claim were to hold up in court (and it well may not), that wouldn't have all that much leverage on whether ODF-writing tools are a different product space from office suites; they obviously are not.

(IANAL, and the bits of law I've formally studied have nothing to do with this. Take with a grain of salt, etc).

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453245)

The problem with that potential claim is that MS is giving their customers the choice of what formats to output to - PDF is an open standard, albeit one controlled by Adobe, and it has been implemented many times in other areas. There is little reason to suggest why PDF creation should remain in the domain of a third party tool, when it is as easy to create a PDF file as it is any other format within the scope of the origional document creation tool. Its a file format, pure and simple, exactly the same as ODF - if PDF cannot be implemented in MS Office, then it acts as a potential barrier to any format that both has a champion elsewhere and is not MS based.

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453303)

The problem with that potential claim is that MS is giving their customers the choice of what formats to output to

Yes, but that's not their legal basis to have an antitrust argument; their basis for having a legal leg to stand on is that a pre-existing monopoly is being leveraged into a different market area. Can that argument be made with regard to PDF support? Yes, but badly: PDF creation tools have historically been in different market space than office suites. Could it be made with regard to ODF support? No, because ODF creation tools are not only in the same market space as office suites -- they are office suites.

To the extent that there's a legal argument to use antitrust law here, it doesn't apply to writing formats where there isn't a market for products which are not office suites that write those formats.

(Again, I am not a lawyer, this isn't legal advice, and to the extent that I have formal legal training it's completely inapplicable to this discussion).

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453381)

PDF and ODF are both document formats. PDF "creation tools" were just apps that created PDF documents as their output. We could just as easily dub OpenOffice an ODF "creation tool" and claim Microsoft is entering the "ODF creation tools" market if they implement it. Microsoft has had product creating documents in so many formats I find it hard to believe anyone would think that PDF should somehow be protected. If anything, the case has been made as to why Microsoft shouldn't implement standards. The niche players already implementing those standards will sue them for it!

Re:This isn't licensing, it's antitrust. (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453258)

So instead of letting MS embrace an open standard they may want to stop it because MS is a monopoly? That doesn't make sense unless Adobe is afraid MS will embrace and EXTEND the spec in ways that break the open standard and cost Adobe $$$.

Re:When you whine... (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453080)

If you didn't RTFA, well, this is Slashdot...but you also didn't Read The Fscking First Post! RTFFP!

I, too, didn't RTFA, but I'm quite aware that Adobe isn't threatening with a suit at all -- Microsoft is spreading FUD that they speculate that Adobe will.

Re:When you whine... (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453096)

When you whine without reading the article, someone will point out to you that Adobe hasn't threatened anything.

You are wrong in this instance. They've opened the format for anyone to implemement since it's good for them gaining market share and ubiquity.

Now that Microsoft wants to add PDF support like thousands other 3-rd party PDF writer products out there (including OpenOffice), they're spreading FUD about adobe, rather then just quietly implementing PDF support.

PDF is an open format for anyone to implement.

Quiche-eating Socialists (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453201)

And the fact that Adobe is going to start this fight in Europe (home of the quiche-eating Socialists) and not here in the Good-Old-United-States (home of red-blooded freedom-loving Americans) shows that Adobe is "up to no good".

The whole story is FUD. Microsoft is up to something. I suspect it's part of their idea to "expose" the flaw of "open standards".

Apple's system wide convert to PDF? (-1, Redundant)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453031)

So did Apple pay Adobe for this feature in their OS? If so, why wouldn't Adobe want MS to license this as well? It would just make PDF's that much more standard for sending documents that aren't OS/Software dependant.

I used the PDF export in Office 2007 Beta 2 (4, Interesting)

timecop (16217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453034)

And it's great.
Its integrated, its almost as quick as saving the file, and most of all, it doesn't require 300megs of crappy Adobe junk to be installed which hogs your system, installs a printer driver, and adds its toolbars to every fucking application.

I hope microsoft does NOT remove PDF export functionality, because the alternative (adobe acrobat) is annoying and bloated. Sure, it might have OCR and some other niceties, but it should stick to that, instead of trying to take over every document publishing app on my PC.

Re:I used the PDF export in Office 2007 Beta 2 (1)

HaydnH (877214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453251)

If you're on Windose, try CutePDF Writer [cutepdf.com] then, it act's as a printer driver using ps2pdf so any application can create pdf's.

There is an easier way than Adobe Distiller (4, Informative)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453349)

...it doesn't require 300megs of crappy Adobe junk to be installed which hogs your system, installs a printer driver, and adds its toolbars to every fucking application.

There is an easier way. See PDFCreator. [sourceforge.net] It's a simple printer driver, doesn't take up but a meg or two, installs no toolbars or nag crap. It just makes PDF files.

It's simple, clean, accurate and elegant, IMHO.

Short on Details (1)

moehoward (668736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453035)


The article is a bit brief and can be interpreted in many ways. The summary implies that saving to PDF will not be supported in the final release of Office 2007, even though the feature appears in the latest Public Beta 2 that is out there for all to use.

The article further does not say that this is just a European problem, as that where the alleged future theoretical lawsuit might be filed someday maybe. So, are US consumers off the hook and we will see the feature?

OOo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453036)

How will this affect OpenOffice's ability to write PDFs if at all?

Also, should this really be under YRO?

What about Apple and Mac OS X? (0, Redundant)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453043)

What about the "Print as PDF" feature that is native in Mac OS X?

Much of Mac OS Xs' display technology (Quartz) is based upon PDF which grew out of "Display Postscript" on NeXTstep & Openstep.

Isn't PDF an open standard ? (1, Redundant)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453044)

I don't want to be a MS fanboy here but how comes Adobe can sue MS if they want to implement pdf output ? Does that mean that as a linux user I should stop writing so much pdf because some day Adobe can charge LaTeX team in order them to continue producing pdflatex ?

Re:Isn't PDF an open standard ? (1)

Samari711 (521187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453152)

It is an open but proprietary format. I'm not exactly sure what restrictions are on it, if any, but I would tend to belive that Adobe would only sue if MS put some non-standard, MS-Proprietary hooks into the PDF. This is probably a direct result of MA's switch to open formats. Rather than, you know, play nice and support open formats, Microsoft is going to smear the formats that MA named as acceptable and open. Creating this fictitious threat from Adobe is step 1, step 2 is bitch and moan about how unfair MA is being by choosing a format that will get them sued (step 3 of course is profit). This has all the marks of dis-information and creative interpretations of reality.

Well, if you RTFA... (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453210)

...it's *antitrust* (read: monopoly-busting) law they're potentially going to be using, not anything regarding copyright or patents -- so yes, it's an open standard; and no, the Ghostscript team isn't vulnerable to the same argument.

Re:Well, if you RTFA... (2, Insightful)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453278)

It's not really open when the vendor producing the operating system that 90+% of the world uses can't use it, is it?

Well.... (2, Funny)

linuxkrn (635044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453050)

Like most /.ers I hate Microsoft, and love it when they get it stuck to them. However, this does worry me a bit. Right now MS-Office is the industry standard. For both work and home I use OpenOffice.org and tell everyone else to use it to.

What worries me about this is that OOo has PDF export that gave them a nice "feature" that MS-Office didn't have. Now Adobe is going after MS, I have to wonder if OOo gets popular enough they will demand that it be removed too.

Maybe it's just my cynical anti-big-corporation views, but I don't trust Adobe enough to not use their big stick against OOo.

They can't. (4, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453115)

This "big stick" is anti-monopoly laws. OOo isn't a monopoly in any way, shape or form.

Re:Well.... (1)

tehshen (794722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453308)

I have to wonder if OOo gets popular enough they will demand that it be removed too.

Even if they could, I don't think they would. I think Adobe would rather see their PDF format used as much as possible (such as including it in OpenOffice) than suing and losing a bit of market share.

gimme a break (3, Informative)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453052)

if any of this is really true it should be pretty embarassing for adobe. i would NEVER buy an acrobat product. the free acrobat reader is such a disaster on windows, especially in browsers, that buying an advanced version is like a joke to me.

for reading i use foxit: http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php [foxitsoftware.com]

for saving i make an html page and run it through some pdf generator online (i have to do that maybe twice a year for clients who will only take pdf invoices)

not to mention, isn't "Save As PDF..." built into like every other apple application, and can't pdfs be opened with apple's Preview?

Re:gimme a break (1)

Quarters (18322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453082)

Why not just get PDFCreator from Sourceforge. It installs as a printer driver under Windows. Very handy to have.

Re:gimme a break (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453174)

OpenOffice.org's PDF export can create PDF form fields as well.
Most print variants can't.

Re:gimme a break (1)

HappyUserPerson (954699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453126)

You may want to try the freeware version of CutePdf [cutepdf.com] for creating PDFs. It installs as a printer driver and works great from Word, Quicken/Quickbooks, etc.

Re:gimme a break (1)

g00dn3ss (549008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453271)

Everyone's favorite, the US Patent Office, provides a free PDF writer called ABXPDF [uspto.gov] . It's allegedly based on CutePDF.

Re: You're probably not their target market then (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453307)

Adobe Acrobat Pro can actually do quite a few advanced things with PDF creation that you're not going to get with one of the freeware or shareware "PDF writer" utilities or plug-ins.

Most of the time, a Windows user can simply install a free package like "CutePDF Writer" which adds a printer device that makes PDFs out of anything you can send to a printer. I use it at work all the time to do things like conversion of AutoCAD drawings to PDF files.

But Adobe's Acrobat Pro lets you build PDF forms that allow users to make custom input in fields they can tab through in the reader (probably most often seen on govt. web sites that offer electronic downloadable versions of their paper forms, like IRS tax forms). It also has a lot of flexibility in controlling the DPI that a given document will be rendered to when it's made into a PDF, supports annotations and even embedded video clips in a PDF, etc. etc.

WTF? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453053)

The competitor I worry about most is Microsoft, Chezen said,

which is the reason why I'm going to make sure NOT to compete by, oh I don't know, actually having a superior platform; rather, I will sue and hope for the best.
Jeez how detestable... They better sue Openoffice.org and every other piece of software out there that exports to PDF before the whole industry sees through their hypocrisy. Besides... Adobe has the best PDF suite out there. Anybody who works with PDF is using it and not switching to Office just because it exports to PDF now. Or do you really think that exporting is what matters? Hell no. There have always been free pieces of software that enabled you to export to PDF, yet professionals paid the price for Acrobat and related plug-ins, and for a reason: it's a bloody good software.
But hey this is MS and they'll probably settle and pay a decent chunk of money to Adobe. Shareholders of Adobe and Macromedia, rejoice! Billy G. will foot your bill this year.

Re:WTF? (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453229)

They better sue Openoffice.org and every other piece of software out there that exports to PDF before the whole industry sees through their hypocrisy.
Suing OpenOffice.org or ghostscript under antitrust law is going to be kinda' hard.

Re:WTF? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453318)

Platform compitition is exactly what Adobe (and the industry) needs. Basically, they should have all their products on other platforms, namely Mac and Linux. As it is, MS can keep selling and as they elect to take over an area, they can then focus on a company at a time. Now that Adobe is in MS's sights, I wonder how long they will last without a lawsuit.

Suck it Adobe (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453054)

If Adobe can't take competition from a MS product, then their product must not be that spectacular. (Their PDF reader sucks....memory hog. Try FoxIt Reader.) I would not shed a tear for them if they lost share in the PDF market.

Re:Suck it Adobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453321)

Then by the same logic, Windows must not be that spectacular. Clearly MSFT cannot take competition from Linux, relying on FUD and underhanded business practices rather than the qualities of their "superior product".

You Failk It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453075)

my effor7s were ass of them all, Stead1ly fucking

Maybe they'll pull an Apple (1, Flamebait)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453086)

... and roll their own PDF compatibility. The format is 'open' (sorta, kinda). Adobe has been famously protective of PDF before, what with arresting Russian programmers and whatnot. Who knows what kind of terms they want for the license.

On a slightly related note, I still think its really odd that the bundled Preview app in OS X just completely smokes Acrobat Reader, in terms of display speed.

WTF? (1)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453090)

According to the article, Adobe wants MS to charge it's cutomers for the ability to write PDF documents. Why would Adobe do that? I mean, Office 12 (er, Office 2007) can only create PDFs, it can't read or modify them. To do that, you have to use Adobe's software. Don't they like the fact that Office users are still going to be foreced to use Adobe Acrobat? This makes no sense to me.

Bill

Re:WTF? (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453145)

The charge for thing it to stop MS saying "yeah we removed it" when the first time you start word it says "Hey! There's a PDF update! Download it free!"

Which would be exactly like bundling but with 150kb of network traffic.

OFFTopic (0, Offtopic)

Arbin (570266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453113)

Anyone else finding digg.com a big fat 404 right now?

Re:OFFTopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453282)

YEP!

couldnt microsoft countersue on the same grounds? (0, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453118)

I mean, adobe is trying to compel microsoft to price fix here!

I don't understand why people still are using PDF (2, Interesting)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453125)

when dvi is much better. Personally I stop creating PDf file long time ago. There is nothing like that feeling when your browser (Firefox) is trying to open up 10 MB pdf file, "Oh, crap..."

Re:I don't understand why people still are using P (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453157)

I think it's only Adobe acrobat that's so slow and memory heavy. Evince on Linux and Preview on Mac OS X are hugely faster and have better UIs as well, I'm sure there must be Windows alternatives.

Time to reconsider Linux PDF (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453132)

How much of a liability will PDF writing support be in the next generation of the Cairo graphics library [cairographics.org] ?

Cairo with the PDF writing backend was set to ship with the next crop of distributions as the bugs have been pretty comprehensively fixed over the last few months.

It would be a shame if PDF writing support ends up tainting Linux distributions and slowing their adoption in large organisations. It seems that making at least a branch of Cairo without the PDF writing backend would be a good move for now.

The risk of having free distribution FTP sites, the free Ubuntu ShipIt service etc. threatened and forced to charge for the software they distribute because of PDF writing capabilities just seems too great.

PDF - Profit Driven Form (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453146)

or Pretty Fukdup Document ;~)

Isn't PDF format in the public domain ? (1)

ravee (201020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453160)

Isn't creating PDFs a default feature in openoffice.org ? And there are many programs in Linux which can convert a file into PDF. So how is what Microsoft is doing different from what we have in Linux ?

What PDF writer? (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453189)

Adobe wants Microsoft to remove the feature and offer Adobe's technology separately for a fee. Microsoft has agreed to remove the feature, but is unwilling to charge for it, the Journal reported.

Where is this alleged PDF writer in MSFT apps? I've got Office 2003 Enterprise Edition, and I had to go out and find and install a 3rd party PDF writer.

Re:What PDF writer? (2, Informative)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453232)

In Office 2007.

Re:What PDF writer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453312)

Man, RTFA, or if that's too much for you at least read the whole /. summary, which clearly states:

"Adobe has threatened an antitrust suit against Microsoft, over PDF writing in Office 2007

Office 2007. You know, 2007, like next year, not released yet, not the 2003 version you've got.

Fuckwit.

In other news.. (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453199)

In order to continue to include PDF functionality, OpenOffice.Org has been forced to double the price of their product.

Will PDF be the next gif? (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453234)

Does this mean that Adobe will pull the same stunt as UniSys did? Will another format be required for everyone to migrate to?

Clearly FUD (3, Interesting)

LWGLIN (98225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453236)

It's clearly FUD. There is absolutely no ground for such a lawsuite. Everybody can write a PDF engine and distribute it for free.
The proof? Adobe is shipping a product (MacroMedia's Cold Fusion Server) with my F/OSS library iText [lowagie.com] to produce PDF from Cold Fusion pages. I never heard anybody at Adobe complain because I wrote a free PDF engine.
As a PDF specialist I know that the big money isn't in the conversion from Word to PDF. PDF is a lot more than text documents. The Acrobat product family is used for completely different reasons than a product like MS Word or a free library like iText.

Re:Clearly FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453276)

They're not suing based on them writing an engine, they're suing on Anti-Trust grounds. It seems that Adobe doesn't want Microsoft taking over yet another Office based market.

ultimate job security (1)

big dumb dog (876383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453239)

I wonder if lawyers for Microsoft ever worry about job security. What if the cost/benefit analysis on screwing everyone over didn't prove to be profitable and Microsoft stopped. Then who would file law suits against Microsoft?

PDFs are the scurge of the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453256)

Queer, clunky documents with no heirachical structure, no reliable flow, no exportable images, and a single God-awful, bloated, buggy, overpriced proprietary editor.

Re:PDFs are the scurge of the Internet (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453320)

I don't know if I'd say "scourge" - it's not like they are virii or spyware programs or anything like that. But they are irritating.

What's really annoying is that there is absolutely no point to implement the concept of a "page" on the screen.

There should be a continuous flow like a HTML document. And even what they SAY is a continuous flow option really is not - you still see the spacing between pages.

Because the navigation is based on "pages", which do not map very well to pages on the screen (at least with readable font sizes), it's a royal pain to read the document on the screen.

And how often do you print a PDF, versus how often you view it on the screen?

I do like PDF for fill-in forms and for other things you have to print. But that's less than 1% of the PDF files I've accessed.

However, don't they have a pretty good hierarchical structure in the table of contents some of them have?

D

Monopoly Show Down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453287)

Lets watch the two biggest monopolies battle it out.

This is nothing more then setting lines for no competes.

The consumers are fucked if monopolies can't competes with each other.

Hello companies of the world, ADAPT!!! (1)

Slashdot Junky (265039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453291)

Hello companies of the world, ADAPT!!! I'm getting more and more tired of hearing companies complaining about competition eating at their fat cow revenue model. If Adobe did file a suit against M$, it would be because they fear losing significant revenue from their Acrobat product line. Companies should diversify their revenue sources and be more adaptable to a changing market.

Later,
-Slashdot Junky

and so they shoud.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15453293)

Of course, whilst Adobe hasn't actually threatened MS with anything, if MS is running true to from then Adobe should sue them. This will be because they will implement something they call Portable Document Format, which looks like a PDF document and has the same file extension, but cannot be read by anything other than the Microsoft Portable Document reader due to some "enhancements" Microsoft has added to their implementation. After all, if they didn't do this you might be able to read the document on something not running Windows and that would be a disaster. To borrow from Snowcrach, Gates and Ballmer should have "Does not play well with others" tattooed across their foreheads.

This was expected. (4, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453298)

This way, with microsoft "worried" about Adobe bringing a suit, Microsoft can introduce it's PDF replace technology.

The best thing Adobe can do is publically state that it would like MS Office to include an unadultered version of PDF output ability.

Wire news * (1, Interesting)

a55clown (723455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453325)

How about the folks at /. quit posting "news" with a link to articles that have little or no informative value to them. this article is nothing but fluff. who really gives a shit?

more interesting would be, say, some insight from the author as to whether adobe has gone after open source software that produces pdf files, or online pdf generators, not speculation that there might be a lawsuit. articles that report fact are always better than ones that do not.

standard feature in OSX (1)

adrenalinerush (518023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15453376)

While I can see how Adobe might not be happy with all new copies of Word being able to produce PDFs at will, this is a standard feature for all OSX apps that have the ability to print. Any program in OSX that can print can make a PDF - it's built right into the printing API of the OS. Word for OSX supports this, for instance.

So, this leads me to believe that it's not "we don't want you to make PDFs!" that's driving the potential lawsuit, but rather that MS wants to put things into their PDFs that wouldn't be compatible (embrace and extend, anyone?).

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