October 2nd, 2007
If anyone was wondering whether or not Adobe has declared war against the (ostensibly ailing) Microsoft, the evidence became unmistakable on October 1.
I continue to marvel at Adobe’s “Mouse That Roared” approach to the battle: its market cap is slightly less than 10% of Microsoft’s. But the war has certainly begun.
We can argue about the start date. I don’t think we need to trace it back to early eBook days. I see the beginning as the battle for PDF. In a very confused set of corporate interactions, Adobe refused to allow Microsoft to have an Adobe-endorsed save-to-PDF feature in Vista and Office 2007, forcing Microsoft to make save-to-PDF a separate downloadable “feature.” At the time it seemed to me Adobe was merely being spiteful (although I recognized the beginning of a battle). Microsoft created a separate download for save to PDF or to XPS (its supposed PDF killer), available both for XP and Vista. Battle over?
Adobe soon announced PDF Mars, a version of PDF with some remarkable similarities to XPS. Round two.
Now we’re faced with round three, where Adobe has purchased a Web-enabled word-processing application. By some otherworldly coincidence, on the same day as this announcement (October 1), Microsoft announced its own Web-enabled variation on the Office suite.
Microsoft is perceived by its detractors in retrenched mode, a bit like Napoleon fleeing Moscow. Are we to believe that Microsoft has no troops still ready to fight? I doubt that. But it’s an interesting battle between the emerging Adobe and the great Goliath.