Back in the early 90s, Adobe came out with a new file format called portable document format (PDF). Since that time, the PDF format has become a standard file format used the world over for just about any document. Microsoft has yet to offer anything for use with the PDF format but that's changing. Office 12 will support PDF.
Microsoft's website printed a discussion with Steven Sinofsky, their Senior VP of Office product development. The discussion centered on the ability of the new Office to utilize the PDF format. According to Sinofsky, it will be able to save from any of its aspects in a PDF format.
Chances are, people with any computer experience know that PDFs are used overwhelmingly for document building and viewing and have been for years. Adobe made the basic PDF reader free so anyone would be able to at least view the documents. In recent months OpenOffice suite .
Microsoft has taken a beating in recent years from the advent of open source material to the most recent tune of the state of Massachusetts dropping Office from all its computers and going with the free OpenOffice Suite software. This may be one way Microsoft is looking to compete against such offerings although free still goes a long way.
Sinofsky said in the article that Microsoft receives 120,000 queries worldwide every month requesting PDF support. The strength of the PDF comes from the users ability to view a document without being able to alter it in most cases. This makes it popular for a variety of uses and it can be passed through emails, viewed online, and downloaded and viewed on the PC as well.
Sinofsky said in the interview, "PDF was developed by Adobe and has been available in a public specification for a long time. It has been offered by Adobe as an ISO standard. Microsoft used this standard to guide development of the PDF technology in Office ‘12'. We're happy to take advantage of the openness of the PDF format to include this in Office ‘1' for our customers. There are many other products that support the PDF format, including our own Office for the Mac."
The big question looming now is what happens to the "Metro" format Microsoft proposed as an alternative to PDF earlier in the year. Not much was said about Metro so far other than Metro was designed to compete against Adobe's Postscript, which is the basis of the PDF format. Sinofsky didn't elaborate on where the future of Metro lies, particularly since it appears Microsoft is lining up for the PDF format.
While this shouldn't be a big leap for many regarding Microsoft and Adobe's relationship in the past, they do compete more directly with one another since Microsoft came out with desktop publishing software.
Sinofsky did mention that these adjustments in Office wouldn't require altering the price point according to Reuters. The final question to ask regarding Microsoft's addition of this format is why didn't they do this years ago?