Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another Shadow

Just as HP casts a shadow across the printing and imaging industry in the hardware and supplies categories, who might one think of in the same way when it comes to the software business? Microsoft, of course! And the MS influence over the printer industry is no exception.

With the official Vista retail release last night, it was fitting that Lyra convened the after-lunch panel on the subject of Microsoft’s XPS (XML Printing System). (For historic perspective from me, see Observations for April and August 2006.) Vicki Milton led the group of eight representatives of software companies (Adobe Systems, Artifex Software ELAN GMK, Software Imaging, Global Graphics, Monotype Imaging, Peerless Systems, Software Imaging, Zoran) who deal in some respect with this new standard. Note the inclusion of Adobe Systems, whose PDF format has been often identified by industry pundits as the target of XPS.

Much of the discussion was far beyond the interest area of this blog. Despite the idea of this as a head-to-head competition, as it’s seen among many in the industry, I like the idea expressed by one panelist. To paraphrase, basically a tussle between the two companies and their two standards is good for consumers – whoever best meets customer needs, wins!

1 comment:

michaelejahn said...

If XPS main thrust was to be a replacement of PDF as an exchangeable digital document file format, one could argue that XPS is irrelevant and unnecessary, as well as point out that Microsoft is too FAR behind PDF deployment wise. However, Microsoft is using this for a spool file and a printer page description language - So Vista will use XPS to print for the three core Microsoft applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) thereby eliminating the need for "Adobe anything" when printing to XPS RIPs inside future desktop printer ors network enabled printer. Me, I had always thought this was much less about replacing PDF and more about Microsoft removing Adobe from the document creation and printing equation. As for submitting XPS to a standards body, sorry, but having participated with CGATS, we were more interested in telling a vendor what we needed, and not the least interested in being blind sided by some document that was glad handed to us as the answer to some question we never proposed.