Adobe Moves to Make PDF a Formal Standard

Adobe plans to turn over the Portable Document Format 1.7 specification for approval as a formal ISO standard. PDF is already the de facto standard for cross-platform document exchange, and after it receives final approval will become an official standard, as well.

The specifications will be submitted to the Enterprise Content Management Association so that any potential issues can be addressed before presentation to the International Organization for Standardization. Once approved, the standardized PDF specification will be available to companies that want to incorporate it into their own products.

Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe, commented "By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness. As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years."

Adobe already allows developers to create PDF-compatible products, but in 2006 reached a stand-off with Microsoft over the use of the technology in the new version of Office for Windows. Microsoft later pulled its built-in PDF support from the Office suite.

By creating an official PDF standard, Adobe will likely be able to avoid run-ins like the one it had with Microsoft in the future. The change could also potentially allow Apple to add enhanced PDF features into upcoming versions of Mac OS X.