Adobe joins anti-Vista sentiment

Written by Brett Thomas

September 22, 2006 // 4:23 p.m.

Tags: #acrobat #adobe #microsoft #pdf #symantec #vista

In any release of a new product, you're bound to step on a few toes. Microsoft has been pretty good at that, lately, particularly with the Zune. But Windows Vista is also making some waves, and former partners like Symantec have been getting more and more upset about being shut out or replaced. Well, add Adobe to that list.

The issue behind Adobe is a complex one. For years, the PDF document provided by Acrobat files has been the de facto standard of documents. It is powerful, small file size, and has a free reader. Of course, if you want to make those files, you need to purchase a full version or a program that bought rights to do so. Acrobat is by no means a small cash-crop for Adobe - it's one of the company's biggest revenue producers, despite being free for the end user.

It makes sense, then, why Adobe is so scared of Vista - Microsoft intends to incorporate the new open XML document standards right into the OS, which could render Acrobat obsolete for many of its purposes. Both a reader and writer of the format are set to be released in the OS, which could put a substantial dent in Adobe's favourite cash-cow. On top of that, Microsoft wants to license the Acrobat PDF printing feature in its next version of Office, which means many business consumers would have little need to buy Acrobat as a seperate product.

In order to combat this, Adobe is discussing following the move of Symantec and filing a petition with the European Union. Symantec is expected to do this next week in regard to Patchguard, a feature of Vista that prevents any program from having direct kernel access (this interferes with virus scanners that wish to check the kernel). The hope is to force these additional features to be left out of the EU version, much like Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer.

Of course, more special subtractions means more delays, and there are already rumours of Vista being pushed out to May of 2007. Whether or not that is for worldwide or EU launch has not been ascertained. Microsoft has asked the Competition Commission to please sign off on Vista as complying with anti-trust laws now, so that it will not be subject to suits in the future...but suddenly, the Commission is "just a regulatory body" and will not "certify" the program is compliant or not with EU antitrust statutes.

Have you got a thought on these claims? Do you think Adobe has a case, or is this just an effort to hinder lower-cost products? What about the possible release date change? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.

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