Office 12 to Support PDF Documents

Microsoft over the weekend revealed that PDF support would be integrated into the next version of its productivity software, known as Office 12. The announcement was made on Saturday at the Global MVP Summit, Microsoft's annual confab for its most valuable professionals.

The company says that it's adding the new format to promote "sharing across multiple platforms." However, the move fits in with Microsoft's other recent efforts to take on Adobe in areas where its rival has enjoyed considerable success.

Metro is arguably Microsoft's answer to PDF; Acrylic is Microsoft's digital imaging tool that works much like Photoshop; and to some extent, Sparkle could pose a threat to Flash, which Adobe recently acquired through its purchase of Macromedia.

Brian Jones, program manager for Office, explained why Microsoft is making the effort to support PDF in a post to his Web log on Saturday.

"This really all comes down to the basic theme of content sharing. We realize that this is a really important scenario, and that's why we're making the move to default XML formats that are fully documented," Jones wrote.

"Now we've moved to the files being in open, redistributable, and archivable formats; and we can focus more of our innovations around ways to act on those formats."

Jones reported that on the Office Online support site, Microsoft receives approximately 30,000 searches a week for PDF support. That made for a pretty easy decision as to what new feature would interest the most users.

However, the addition of PDF support may come as a surprise to some considering the Metro announcement earlier this year. It is unclear as to how Metro may play a role in Office 12, although the format will be natively supported by Windows Vista.

Few other details have emerged from the MVP Summit; Microsoft expressly forbade attendees from saying anything about what was discussed at the yearly meeting.

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