I really don’t want to be Bill Gates.
Yeah, you heard right.
Even with a trillion dollars in my bank account and enough money to buy Belgium I just really wouldn’t want to be him. There’s just so much crap going on in the Microsoft world, I sometimes wonder how he sleeps at night (on a mattress filled with BillBucks?).
Yes, yes. Microsoft is evil and all that DOJ jazz, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and they have to tread carefully when embedding things into operating systems and everyone cries foul when something comes out that’s apparently unique but has really been around for years. However this Adobe thing is just silly.
Last October when were were at the MVP Summit, Steve Sinofsky (he’s really a nice guy despite 2,000 people at a TechEd presentation walking out on him) dropped the bomb and told us Office 2007 (then Office 12) would support saving PDF formats. Out of the box. And told us to go blog about it. There was much rejoicing.
That was October. This is now.
According to CNET (which we all know how much of a technical resource for news it is) Adobe pipes up and cries foul and says that MS has to remove the saving as PDF feature or else bad things will happen (we’re not sure what those bad things are, but I’m sure they would be more court days and mudslinging).
It’s all very confusing. Joe Wilcox wrote up a good take at Microsoft Monitor on what was reality compared to the various claims being tossed around the media circuit. Brian Jones, a PM on the Office team, has a writeup on what’s going on from his side of the fence. There’s a Channel 9 interview with the Office team developer who created the feature (from back in January). Heck, even Scoble got his say on things (which doesn’t surprise me as that blogging machine doesn’t seem to sleep).
News travels fast. And wide.
So what’s with Adobe. Is PDF open or not? According to Adobe it is since they have the PDF Specification online (and have had for awhile). If it’s online and Adobe says “Adobe publishes the PDF specification to foster the creation of an ecosystem around the PDF format.” then why are they bitching about Microsoft releasing a product supporting this “ecosystem”. More importantly, why does Adobe wants MS to charge their customers extra BillBucks for this feature.
Not only do Word Perfect (sorry, I refuse to call it Word Perfect Office) and OpenOffice support this and have a PDF feature, there are gobs of free PDF tools out there all producing Adobes much touted “open” file format (and some that plug into Microsoft Office).
That’s pretty open from where I sit.
At least it looks like MS is going to play nice and remove the feature but offer it as a free download. That’s a bummer because I keep stumbling over Office workers and users who have no idea there’s a thing called the “interweb” out there, let alone downloading an add-on and installing it. Hopefully the IT guys of the world will download it and make it part of their corporate images or something so at least the untechs who know not of this thing called the internet (or is it the Internet? I can’t never be sure) will have their precious PDF functionality (which should make at least the legal suits happy).
Kinda sucks that one mega-corp goes off and tries to dictate what another mega-corp is charging their customers for. Like I said Adobe, give your head a shake and stop being such a pissant in the technical sandbox. Oh here’s how we made our sand so you can build your own sand castles if you want, but only if you’re not that big bully over there with the biggest sand castle machine of the whole beach. Sheesh.
P.S. Bill, if you’re reading this (as I know you always keep up with my blog) then feel free to hire me as your personal SharePoint guru and all around code monkey. I would be quite fine with that too.
P.P.S. Brian Jones has a second update (or maybe it’s a third) on the PDF legal issues here on his blog. Good read to round out this discussion.