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Eric Bangeman –
Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen told German-language newspaper Euro am Sonntag that his company is prepared to battle Microsoft in court over some of Vista’s new features, a threat we have heard before. Chizen said that the inclusion of Microsoft’s new XML Paper Specification (XPS) in Vista and Office 2007 leaves Adobe with two options. “[Adobe can] sue Microsoft directly, or work together with the regulatory authority [the European Commission] and provide them the essential information,” said Chizen. “We will do the latter, then we will wait and see.”
Microsoft’s XPS is a new document format that will be supported in both Vista and Office 2007. When Microsoft first announced XPS, Adobe cried “foul” to the EC. Adobe’s protestations backfired when Microsoft responded to the EC’s concerns by submitting XPS to a standards-setting body while ensuring that its licensing terms are compatible with open source licenses.
In addition to supporting XPS, Microsoft had also planned on incorporating support for PDF into Office 2007. Agreeing to licensing terms turned out to be struggle, and when the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement, Microsoft changed its plans for PDF support.
Adobe will continue to work with the EC, providing it with the data Adobe believes the it needs in order to determine whether Microsoft’s decision to bundle XPS marks an abuse of its position as the dominant maker of operating systems and office productivity software.
Over the past several months leading up to Vista’s launch, Microsoft has been especially cautious in its dealings with the EC, attempting to ensure that Vista would be fully compliant with the EC’s antitrust rules. Finally, Microsoft announced last month that Vista would ship on time in Europe. At the time, the EC noted that it had not given Microsoft a “green light” on Vista, but did say that it had engaged with “constructive dialogue” with Microsoft over potential areas of concern.
Microsoft’s experience with the EC over the past two-and-a-half years has been challenging, to say the least. The company is currently appealing the EC’s March 2004 antitrust findings and is looking at another several hundred million euros in fines if it fails to meet a new EC deadline for documenting its server software for would-be licensees. Adobe is hoping that the EC will continue holding the software giant’s feet to the fire after the Vista launch. If not, then expect Adobe to launch another round of antitrust litigation.
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