In a decision that would have been unthinkable in the past, Microsoft said this week that it will build support for Adobe's Portable Document Format into its Office business application bundle.
The move seemed to be a testament to the popularity of the PDF format: Microsoft acknowledged that it has been getting 120,000 requests a month for a way to use PDF files in Office. "There is healthy 'co-opetition,'" Adobe executive Pam Deziel said. "That's the way the game works in this industry."
But given the way Microsoft has played the game in the past, this is unlikely to be the final chapter in the format competition.
Blog community response:
"Microsoft Advances To 1999! The great thing about being able to publish a Word document to PDF is that it will finally eliminate a Word document's horrid instability. How many times when I was working did I put together a nicely formatted Word document, only to have it go to hell as soon as a co-worker opened it on their PC. No more with PDF!"
"I cannot remember a time when Microsoft added support for a third party's technology when they were the dominant player in the market (They always do in the reverse scenario). Anyhow, it is good news for the consumer. :)"
"This is wonderful news for the PDF platform. It confirms, in case there was any lingering doubt, that PDF is here to stay as the de facto standard for 'final form'digital equivalents of paper records. It also raises a lot of questions."
--Macduff Hughes on PDF and Acrobat