Microsoft has axed plans to include a feature allowing users to save files in PDF format in the next version of its Office suite, following a dispute with Adobe Systems.
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The software giant is now planning to offer a separate free download to allow users to save documents either as PDF files or in its own XPS document format.
The decision was sparked a breakdown in talks between Microsoft and Adobe, which originally developed the PDF format. The two firms had been in discussions to allow a “save as PDF” feature to be included in the new version of Office.
Microsoft had also been expected to include the option to save files in its own format, XPS (XML Paper Specification) in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Publisher, Visio, Onenote and Infopath applications in the Office 2007 suite.
A tool to view and print XPS documents was set to be included in the forthcoming Vista version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
But a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We have been working closely with Adobe to resolve concerns regarding new features in Office and Windows Vista that give consumers a choice to save documents in either Adobe’s or Microsoft’s open document formats.
“While these features have been carefully designed to enhance consumer choice and respect our regulatory obligations, we are planning to remove Save as PDF from Office, as well as Save as XPS, and make both available only as a separate free download.”
He added, “We have taken a number of significant steps to accommodate Adobe, and offered many proposals in an effort to avoid a dispute, but we have now reached a point where we feel what they are asking for is not in the best interest of our customers.”
Microsoft may now face legal action from Adobe, possibly through the European courts. The software giant has already been embroiled in lengthy legal action following a European Commission anti-trust ruling against it for bundling its own media player into Windows.