Microsoft has decided to delete from its next version of Office an automatic way to save documents as a PDF after Adobe threatened to take legal action.
"We offered that we would do this, and now we've unilaterally made the decision to do it," Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans said on Friday. The company will also remove a feature to save documents as XPS (XML Paper Specification) files in Office. XPS is Microsoft's rival to PDF.
Adobe had threatened legal action against Microsoft in Europe over its use of Adobe's PDF, which allows users to create electronic documents. It's unclear whether that action will be in the form of a complaint to the EU (European Union) or a formal antitrust suit, sources close to Microsoft said on Friday. Adobe spokeswoman Jodi Warner said Adobe "has made no determination" whether it will take action.
The dispute began in February when Adobe raised concerns over Microsoft's plans to offer a Save as PDF feature in its Office 2007 suite. Beta versions of the software with this feature are already available.
With the change, users who purchase the final Office 2007, due later this year, will have to separately download free software to save documents created in Office applications as PDF or XPS files, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft says Adobe wants its software to be removed from Office and offered separately for a fee, and the companies had been trying to work out a compromise.
"We have taken a number of significant steps to accommodate Adobe and offered many proposals in an effort to avoid a dispute," Evans said. "But we have now reached a point where we feel what they are asking for is not in the best interest of our customers."