Two Roads Diverged
In this climate of huge change, we've compiled the following comparison of new products from Microsoft and Adobe. Of course, any fair comparison of these products must reflect that Adobe WebBuy and PDF Merchant are already publicly available, while the full version of Microsoft Reader with ClearType had not yet been widely released when this issue went to press. For this
reason, the amount of information available about the MS Reader is less detailed.
Senior representatives from both companies recently were queried on their latest products. Jeff Ramos, director of marketing for e-books, responded for Microsoft. Mark Heisten, former public relations manager of ePaper Solutions, and Rebecca Michals, senior public relations manager of ePaper Solutions, responded for Adobe.
How does MS Reader compare with Adobe's WebBuy and PDF Merchant?
Adobe: "One of the most obvious differences is that the Adobe digital rights management solution is shipping today, and tens of millions of potential customers already use Acrobat or Acrobat Reader and can easily and securely buy content. Adobe's solution is also cross-platform and cross-device -- today it operates in the Mac and Windows environments on the devices that most of us are already using, i.e. desktop or notebook computers.
"Adobe PDF is the de facto standard for the print/publishing industries, and most content today is available in PDF (or PostScript), or easily convertible to PDF. Therefore, our solution is designed to work well with existing workflows with only minimum incremental effort.
"Our strategy is based on partnerships with others in the commerce chain who provide a variety of industry standard solutions. We believe the only way to get a Microsoft solution is to work directly with them.
"Any other solution is based on technology that is not yet commercially available or tested, and this creates a great risk in terms of the reliability of the proposed solution, the time needed to implement a new solution, as well as the risk that customers won't adopt it. Acrobat and PDF have been around since the early 1990s, and there's no question they work and are widely used."