Byebye to an Adobe cash cow

PDFMicrosoft has announced the next version of Office will support PDF creation natively.

Obviously, Adobe has faced competition before from various PDF creation applications, including the DIY method using… what was it, some kind of printer driver to get Postscript, then ps2pdf to get it into PDF? And it’s not as if Adobe has been resting, not enhancing Acrobat with extra functionality.

But this is different: the prime reason people buy Acrobat is to create PDFs from Office documents. And so far the cheapie clone Acrobat products/methods haven’t won much market share, because people trust the name brand PDF creator. But this is Microsoft, and if there’s one thing Microsoft does well, it’s blowing away other companies’ sales.

The Adobe guys must have seen this coming when they opened up the format. Maybe that was a factor in diversifying by buying Macromedia. It’ll be interesting to see their response.

5 thoughts on “Byebye to an Adobe cash cow

  1. Jeremy

    I would be surprised if Adobe doesn’t get patent royalties out of this, at the very least.

    It’s also interesting to note that this is a feature that Open Office has had for a very long time, for free. While I suppose that wasn’t really any threat to Adobe, I guess Microsoft wouldn’t have been comfortable that their “low budget” competition had such an advantage.

  2. daniel Post author

    OpenOffice falls into the same camp as the cheapie PDF creators — a non-name brand, pretty much ignored by the bulk of users.

  3. Titel

    Somehow I doubt Microsoft intends to create an application as rich and complex as Adobe Acrobat. Such an application is useful for large companies who use electronic documents a lot, PDF forms and all that, and they will continue to use Adobe’s software through its Microsoft Office plug-ins. For the general user, creating a simple PDF from a document, embedding fonts, saving formatting, creating bookmarks and preventing copying, is sufficient. Microsoft feels the pressure from OpenOffice’s PDF publishing and stepped up to match the feature. Over the years, Office has been setting new standards for its category, being as thorough and versatile as it can get. It’s hard to become number one, but harder to stay number one, so they are not going to miss any feature present in competitors’ applications challenging their position.

    Those freeware tools that install a PostScript printer then pipe the output through a PS2PDF converter have been ported on Windows for some time and have been packed up in several applications, such as Primo PDF. I remember testing out several such applications a couple of years ago and the quality of the PDF output ranged from “not bad” to “I’d be ashamed to pass this to anyone else.” Layout was more or less screwed up, text was saved as a bitmap with really bad edges, and so on. At that time, I was impressed with FinePrint’s pdfFactory‘s outstanding quality in a small and affordable package (free version added a link on the footer of each page).

  4. David Campbell

    not surprised in the least, but one should note that microsoft own a 51% share of adobe, so I doubt adobe would receive royalties from M$


  5. mgm

    >not surprised in the least, but one should note that microsoft own a 51% share of adobe.


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