Microsoft, Adobe to Face Off in Court Over Antitrust Charges

Microsoft and Adobe Systems may soon face off in European court over Microsoft’s use of the Adobe-developed portable document format (PDF), which is used to generate electronic documents, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief counsel, told the Journal that private talks between the two companies regarding Microsoft’s inclusion of the PDF format in the upcoming release of its Office software suite stalled this week after four months of discussion.

Smith said Microsoft now expects Adobe to file an antitrust suit against it in Europe, in an effort to convince Microsoft to remove the PDF format and charge users a fee to employ it, which the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth is not willing to do, the Journal reports.

“Adobe has threatened antitrust action unless Microsoft agrees to raise its prices, in particular for the software that would allow Microsoft Office users to save a document in the Adobe PDF format,” Smith said, according to the Journal.

Adobe spokeswoman Holly Campbell did not comment directly on the meetings between the two companies, but did say that Adobe is concerned Microsoft might attempt to use its influence in the PC software space to quash competition, starting with the inclusion of the PDF format in Office 2007, the Journal reports. Adobe fears that if the format is included in the upcoming Office suite, which encompasses Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint offerings, sales of its own software for creating PDFs, Adobe Acrobat, will suffer, according to the Journal.

Microsoft already released beta versions of Office 2007, which included the PDF format, and will have to remove it for future versions, the Journal reports.

For related news coverage, read Microsoft Releases Longhorn, Vista, Office Betas.

This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.

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