To revisit a little history, Adobe introduced PDF in 1993, and it put it on the map by giving away the ubiquitous Reader for free. By letting more than 1,200 independent software vendors make use of the format, Adobe has steadily nurtured PDF from cult favorite (by the mid 1990s) to de facto standard (by the late 1990s) to today's ISO-certified standard for archiving (PDF/A) and printing (PDF/X). To date, more than 500 million Adobe Readers have been downloaded and more than 200 million PDF documents are available for download on the Web. The format is the foundation of Adobe's "Intelligent Documents" product segment, which this year will account for more than one third ($700 million) of the company's nearly $2 billion in revenue.
Note the role of ISO certification. The market value of participation in standards committees cannot be overstated.