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 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, 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

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

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

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.

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