Friday, June 02, 2006

Strange Lawsuit

Those who have known me for any length of time are usually aware that I'm not a big Microsoft fan, but the latest lawsuit against them by Adobe has left me scratching my head. Adobe has been promoting PDF has a de facto standard for some time now, to the point that Massachusetts adopted it as such in its requirements for official document formats. There are many non-Adobe products which create PDFs, including a variety of open-source products, OpenOffice, and Mac OSX.

Which is why Microsoft was a little surprised when Adobe threatened to sue them for antitrust for including PDF creation in the next version of Office. After all, it's no more than what's being offered by their chief competition. Adobe apparently feels that this would kill the market for Acrobat.

They might find some sympathy in Europe, but my feeling is that Adobe just got hit by the law of unintended consequences. They opened up PDF as a format to drive adoption, effectively making it a standard. And if it's a standard, anyone can implement it -- even if they have 90% market share. Standards are explicitly exempt from the rules of anti-trust, since it is in the public interest that companies comply with them.

Sorry, Adobe. Of course, if you're looking for more product revenue, there's a big Linux market that would probably be interested in Flash creation and video editing...

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