XPS, PDF and Adobe

So it is certainly an interesting news day today. For those interested in the world of PDF and XPS, you probably have already read the Wall Street Journal Article about changes we are making because of Adobe. There are also a few other articles that cover the story in case you do not have access to WSJ on-line:


Brian Jones Blog also includes a discussion from the Office point of view.

Read Brian’s blog about PDF and Office. One thing I will add, is that the Office team is making both PDF and XPS ‘save-as’ support as free downloads, instead of built into Office directly. This is too bad, but is designed to try and resolve any concerns Adobe has with XPS or PDF functionality as part of Office.

Let me cover the Windows side of the story. For several years we have been sharing detailed plans on XPS with Adobe. I’d say almost to an excess, we kept them up to speed on our designs and implementation at every step and we’ve made a lot of design modifications based on their input. They attend our conferences and plug-fests (plug fest: a multi-day meeting at Microsoft where partners learn about new technologies and share implementations) and we value them as an important Microsoft partner. We see XPS as a platform and still believe that the advances we are making with XPS will have a lot of benefits to Adobe products as well as all the other millions of customers and partners that use the Windows platform

Unfortunately, Adobe has been pushing for us to remove XPS from Windows. Given the clear benefits of XPS to customers and partners, this is something we can not do. We are always sensitive to competitor complaints when we design Windows and we’ve tried to address any concerns Adobe may have. But, we have to first and foremost design our products for customers, not competitors. XPS support in many ways is a natural evolution to the Windows platform. Windows has always had a way to publish documents (in the form of printing) and it is natural to move the platform forward improving the quality of the output of documents, making them more programmable and enabling a seamless transition between view and print scenarios. This is what our customers have been asking from the Windows platform and this is what we are delivering with XPS. We are very excited to deliver innovations in Windows Vista that address long-standing customer needs.

That being said, in order to accommodate Adobe’s concerns, we have made it so OEMs making PCs can choose to not include XPS as part of Windows. The core printing enhancements that we have made in Windows, where we have used XPS as the spool file format, is not removable. Since this makes printing better for everyone, and since Adobe and anyone else that serves the printing market has keen interest in Windows printing improving, there is no contention on that functionality.

Since AIIM and WinHEC, a day does not go by where another customer or big ISV contacts us about building XPS into their document workflows. Some of these folks are extending XPS in new and exciting ways to provide unique solutions to their customers. These calls come in because they see value in XPS. XPS solves key customer problems and that will be the value that ultimately drives adoption.

- Andy