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While you were sleeping... (off your holiday cheer)

January 11, 2006

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The world of PDF has been far from idle over the Northern Winter, and much has happened in and around the format that we know and love. Among other things, Adobe announced its Q4 financial results, Sony released a new dedicated eBook reader and Microsoft has made progress in its quest for standardization.

First, Adobe's news. The owner of the PDF specification announced another record quarter to complete a record year on the heels of its acquisition of former graphics rival, Macromedia. Despite circa 700 expected layoffs as a result of the acquisition as the two organizations continue to integrate their operations, the acquisition has many PDF pundits salivating over the possibilities of a PDF/Flash hybrid.

Microsoft's Office Open XML Formats were formally accepted by standards body Ecma International. Following the State of Massachusetts' defection, the move towards standardization by Microsoft has been widely regarded as a blocking maneuver to avoid losing government contracts to products based around the Office formats' open source rival, OpenDocument.

Sony has released an eBook reader based around the revolutionary E Ink technology, which provides a high-resolution, passive (albeit monochromatic) display that can be read in bright light. Further, the screen only consumes power when the display is changed or refreshed. In addition to reading Sony's proprietary BBeB (Broadband eBook) format, the Sony Reader will also view PDF, which greatly expands the catalog of available content. It has been suggested that Sony hopes that this device will become to eBooks what the iPod is to digital music, but others have claimed that the release's timing is off. Perhaps the primary legacy of this device will be its display technology -- E Ink even has a color version in the works.

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