RealTime IT News

Microsoft, Adobe Drama at an Impasse

Microsoft says it is at an impasse over demands from Adobe to remove PDF features from Office and the upcoming Vista operating system.

"We've now reached a point where what they are asking is not in the best interest of our company," Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokesperson, told internetnews.com today.

Adobe was not immediately available to comment.

The software giant has agreed to remove a "Save as PDF" feature from Office 2007 and make it a separate download.

The company also plans to remove Metro, a competing document file-format, from Vista, making it an OEM option, internetnews.com has learned.

But Microsoft refused to charge for the separate products, saying that selling what it considers an open-source function would put it at a competitive disadvantage.

Drake denied a Wall Street Journal report that the Redmond, Wash., software maker expects to be sued by Adobe in European courts. More likely, Adobe will file a complaint with EU regulators.

Since its $3.4 billion purchase of Web graphics development company Macromedia in 2005, Adobe has butted heads with Microsoft over competing products.

Along with its dispute over PDF, Microsoft last year unveiled an early version of Sparkle, a tool that could compete with Adobe's other core product, Macromedia Flash.

Now known as Expression Interactive Designer, the product will be released separately from Vista, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

In February, Adobe unveiled Flex, a graphics package meant to enhance Flash and compete with Microsoft. An Adobe exec called Flex "Microsoft Vista on a diet."

In May, Microsoft was sued by Symantec, which makes security software, charging the software goliath violated an agreement by integrating security features within the Vista OS. In that lawsuit Symantec asked a Washington State federal court to stop the sale of Vista.

A group which supported Microsoft in its bid to overturn a European antitrust decision called the reported potential Adobe lawsuit "shows the insidious impact of the Commission's antitrust actions on competition and consumer welfare."

The group, whose members include Microsoft, said possible legal action is a "desperate attempt" to reduce competition.