Microsoft Office 12 will be more than just a pretty UI. Office 12 will support new Open XML formats and now Microsoft has announced that they will provide native support for the PDF format in Office 12.
PDF support will be built into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Visio, and InfoPath. All Microsoft Office Vista apps will have a "Save As PDF" feature so you can write Office files to PDF directly without needing a third party PDF printer driver.
It would be interested to watch the stock prices of Adobe on Monday. Ofcourse, Adobe Acrobat is more than just a PDF converter but a whole lot of people use Acrobate primarily for converting Microsoft Office Documents to PDF. Clearly, this Microsoft announcement would impact the sales of Acrobat and other small vendors that only make doc-to-pdf conversion software.
Adobe could see some tough competition ahead with Microsoft preparing a competitor for every successful Adobe Product. (Sparkle - Flash, Acrylic - Photoshop+Illustrator, PDF in Office 12 - Adobe Acrobat)
Brian Jones says that over 30,000 searches per week for PDF support were made at Microsoft Office Online site. Hence they decided to support the widely demanded PDF format in Office 12. And according to Chris, the Microsoft Publisher team did most of the work to support PDF, then the other teams hooked up to the core PDF generator that they wrote from scratch.
In the past, Microsoft has struggled to give users a good reason to update from previous versions of Office. Microsoft claims to have 400 million Office users but a majority haven't even upgraded to the current version, Office 2003. But by providing native PDF support, Microsoft has just provided a solid compelling reason to switch to Office 12.
What does PDF in Office 12 mean for "Metro" which has been called a would-be PDF killer? Metro is an upgrade to Windows' printing infrastructure, one that requires new, Metro-savvy printers to truly show its stuff - so it was clearly never designed to be something that would swoop in and render PDF irrelevant overnight. [via]
For some reason, Microsoft Project will not support the "Publish to PDF" feature.