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MS, Adobe to be font of PC information

Microsoft and Adobe Systems announced plans to create a universal format that will simplify management of PC fonts.

Microsoft and Adobe Systems today announced plans to create a universal font format that will simplify management of existing fonts on PCs and include compression capabilities to improve performance over the Internet.

The two companies will also this week propose a standard for embedding fonts into HTML documents at the Fifth International World Wide Web Conference in Paris.

Called OpenType, the new format will combine existing TrueType and Type 1 font technologies and will work with all existing PostScript printers. Microsoft will incorporate OpenType into future versions of the Windows operating system, while Adobe said it will support OpenType in its graphics, publishing, and Internet products, beginning with an update of its Acrobat electronic document exchange sofware later this year. The two companies will also seek to broadly license OpenType to other OS and Internet vendors.

With today's announcement, Adobe is trying to bridge at least two different Web font camps. In February, the company announced an alliance with Netscape Communications and Apple Computer to develop a new standard for creating Web fonts on the fly. An Adobe spokesperson said that the two standards will not be mutually exclusive and that by supporting Microsoft's TrueType fonts, Adobe is only trying to bring both camps closer together.

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