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!