It appears that Adobe and Microsoft are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for a brawl over the inclusion of PDF export in 2007 Microsoft Office system. Who's the villain in this drama? Beats me.
The most intelligent analysis I've read so far comes from Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Monitor.
Mary Jo Foley has the facts, as they are available at this time, in this eWEEK article.
I suspect it will take some time before this all becomes clear. I know a lot of people who will be sorely disappointed if this feature does end up getting fropped from the next version of Office.
UPDATE: More from Microsoft Watch here including this quote which sheds more light on what's been transpiring between the two companies:
Adobe is claiming that PDF export technology constitutes a separate product and that Microsoft is tying both Save to PDF and Save to XPS to Vista and Office 2007 and is making them available for free, thus undercutting Adobe's ability to charge for these kinds of plug-ins.
"I couldn't say, legally, how this would play out," said Directions on Microsoft analyst Robert Helm. "In the U.S., Adobe would need to show that Microsoft is leveraging a monopoly in one market to monopolize a second market. They will have to convince a judge that the second market exists, and that it might be possible to monopolize it. The U.S. Department of Justice was never able to pull that off. The European Commission is a different matter altogether."
As a result of its ensuing discussions, Microsoft has agreed to remove from Office 2007 the Save as PDF functionality it had been touting since last fall. While Save as PDF is part of Office 2007 Beta 2, which Microsoft began distributing to thousands of testers the week of May 22, at the behest of Adobe, it will not be part of future releases, Heiner confirmed. Instead, Microsoft will make that feature a separate, free, downloadable plug in.
Microsoft is not cutting out of Vista XPS – the technology code-named "Metro" that many consider to be an alternative to PDF and Postscript, -- Heiner said. Nor is Microsoft removing the "Save as XPS" capability from Office 2007, he said.
Can I get you some peanuts or popcorn with that program? Looks like this one is going to go into extra innings.