What’s going on with XPS?
In 2006 Microsoft revealed XPS (codenamed “Metro”) to the world, it’s an an XML based final-form-file-format (try saying that 3 times in a row), with similar goals to PDF.
They included a XPS writer and viewer in Windows Vista, a Save to XPS add-on for Office 2007, as well using it as the internal Vista print spool architecture.
With its release the PR team went into full action and began touting XPS as a PDF killer, or at least, a real competitor to the PDF format…
But, Adobe’s at-the-time chief, Bruce Chizen took up defensive action and threatened to sue Microsoft over the inclusion within Office and Vista. In his interview with the Boston Globe, Chizen said:
“The promise is that if you create something in PDF, it can be read, it can be displayed on any computer, on any operating system, including a lot of mobile devices today. I don’t want that promise to ever change. Microsoft, because of their monopoly position, does have the ability to change that over time, and we don’t want them to do that.”
But since then … a touch over a year later, the XPS versus PDF talk has faded into almost nothingness, in fact the XPS Team blog has not been updated since mid-August 2007. And right now, a cursory check on the number of XPS files hosted publicly via Google reveals around 8 thousand, whereas PDF sits at about 261 million.
Meanwhile, Adobe is feverishly at work on the Mars project, an XML-based version of PDF — you can download Adobe Acrobat 8 plug-ins to create and read Mars-PDF documents from Adobe labs (note: you need the full version of Acrobat to create).
So at the moment, it seems like the most XPS-related noise is being made at Indian-based cargo management company XPS whose paramount goal is:
…to move your freight safely, efficiently, reliably and affordably.
Let’s hope Microsoft jumps back into the ring at some point, a little relevant competition is always a good thing…