Microsoft’s Metro Goes Head-to-Head with Adobe

Just weeks after Adobe acquired Macromedia in a long-term move to compete with Microsoft, the Windows maker is striking back with a new productdesigned to overtake the graphics company’s popular Portable Document Format.

Microsoft’s Longhorn, the software giant’s next version of Windows, will include Metro, an application that allows users to create files that can beprinted, viewed or archived without requiring the program that created them.

Neither Adobe or Microsoft are calling the Metro versus PDF story an all-out war, but some analysts see an eventual battle brewing in the print formatarena.

PDF Threat?

Directions on Microsoft senior analyst Greg DeMichillie told TechNewsWorld that Microsoft’s clear intent is to replace PDF as the universal way ofexchanging documents.

“Microsoft has ignored PDF for a long time and watched it become the standard way for users who want to share documents on the Internet,”DeMichellie said. “Microsoft doesn’t like that because if people exchange documents in PDF format, then it weakens the hold of Office as the programyou must have.”

Cross-Platform Capability

Analysts said part of the reason PDF has been so successful is because Adobe has developed readers for every conceivable operating system. Microsoft’scurrent version of cross platform is limited to XP and Longhorn support.

“It’s the ubiquity of the Adobe reader that makes PDF so attractive to government agencies and companies publishing annual reports and otherinformation,” he said. “It would be very unlike Microsoft to produce a reader that can work everywhere. We can be darn certain that Microsoft won’t be developing a Linux reader.”

DeMichellie said unless Microsoft steps up to the plate to address cross-platform issues, or, alternatively, offers new features not available inPDF, Adobe should be able to maintain its stronghold in the printable document format world.

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