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April 6, 1989

PAGE DESCRIPTION LANGUAGES: SUPREMACY OF POSTSCRIPT FACES MICROSOFT CHALLENGE

By CBR Staff Writer

Adobe Systems’ Postscript, considered to be the standard page description language for printers, is facing serious competition in the race to improve on what it can offer, according to 01 Informatique. In particular, Microsoft Corp is aiming to topple Adobe from its prime position. With the introduction of Presentation Manager and OS/2, the company is beginning to make its presence felt among printer manufacturers, and has won the attention of the leading users of Postscript, Apple Computer Inc and IBM. Microsoft has benefitted from its collaboration with West German company Bauer GmbH, which gave it the necessary help in developing its Generic Driver for Windows and Presentation Manager. Subsequent versions of Windows and Presentation Manager will incorporate this driver. Now faced with greater choice, IBM is wavering between Postscript and the Graphics Program Interface from Microsoft. Should the balance tip in favour of the Graphics Program Interface, Microsoft could make a bigger impact on the market than Hewlett-Packard Co, with its release of Page Control Language version 5. Facing attack on all sides, Adobe has been forced to introduce a licence plan, allowing Postscript clone manufacturers access to the company’s technology. Although inevitably these manufacturers will add to Adobe’s original fonts, the company is prepared to take this risk to compete with its rival Bitstream. Adobe has also brought out Display Postscript, which is already used by NeXT Inc and DEC, but is intended principally for Unix systems. Adobe is certainly attempting to fend off its contenders, but whether they are worth the trouble remains uncertain.

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