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Microsoft Under Third EU Investigation for OOXML 194

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the back-in-trouble-again dept.
The Wall Street Journal and Information Week reported this morning that EU regulators have announced a third investigation into Microsoft's conduct on the desktop. This latest action demonstrates that while the EU has settled the case against Microsoft that ran for almost a decade, it remains as suspicious as ever regarding the software vendor's conduct, notwithstanding Microsoft's less combative stance in recent years. The news can be found in a story reported by Charles Forelle bylined in Brussells this morning. According to the Journal, the investigation will focus on whether Microsoft 'violated antitrust laws during a struggle last year to ratify its Office software file format as an international standard.' The article also says that the regulators are 'stepping up scrutiny of the issue.'
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Microsoft Under Third EU Investigation for OOXML

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  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday February 08, 2008 @06:27PM (#22355690) Homepage
    It was the EU, in 2004, along with some other governments, that asked Microsoft to submit their formats for standardization. So now they don't like this?
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday February 08, 2008 @06:37PM (#22355768) Journal
    Oh come on. You can't possibly be that naive.

    Here's the facts:

    1. Many organizations, in particular governments, are beginning to mandate the use of open file formats.
    2. A potential competitor to one of Microsoft's core product lines (read: profit center), OpenOffice.org, uses ISO open file formats; ODF, and is thus of some great interest to these government agencies.
    3. Microsoft cannot afford to have its Office profit center undermined either by a competing product or by a competing, open standard like ODF.
    4. Microsoft creates OOXML, a document standard so enormous and so riddled with proprietary references that it would be impossible for anyone not privy to Microsoft's older formats (which are not published) to actually produce their own OOXML-compliant product.
    5. Microsoft then attempts to subvert the ISO by trying to buy votes. The purpose of this is to get OOXML ISO certification, so that when a government agency mandates an open document format, Microsoft can maneuver OOXML, which can only really be utilized by Microsoft Office, by trumpeting its "open" designation.

    In short, OOXML is a rather elaborate scam, involving an unimplentable format, subverting the ISO and using it to maintain its all-important Office product line from meaningful competition.
  • uh-uh (Score:3, Informative)

    by rewt66 (738525) on Friday February 08, 2008 @06:40PM (#22355796)
    No, IIRC the EU asked Microsoft to document (not submit for standardization) MS's existing file formats, not to create a new, badly-documented one.
  • Yes (Score:3, Informative)

    by aepervius (535155) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:33PM (#22356240)
    They are the one which can define what a standard is and what is not acceptable. In the pure spirit of capitalism if MS thinks EU is out of bound they can go out of EU and stop selling there (fat chance in Hell). Furthermore I don't recall EU requiring MS to buy vote in to make their own cooked stuff forcefully becoming a standard. That last part is even more damning than making a bad document format with all the trapping of a standard without the spirit of one.
  • by andersh (229403) * on Friday February 08, 2008 @09:49PM (#22357162)

    I'd be much more impressed with EU anti-trust efforts if they weren't pretty much aimed at non-EU companies

    That's just bullshit, the EU regularly goes after European companies you just don't hear or read about it because they're not American companies. Typical American complaints.

  • by Anspen (673098) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @05:40AM (#22358872)

    I'd be much more impressed with EU anti-trust efforts if they weren't pretty much aimed at non-EU companies. They're mostly a trade barrier rather than a legitimate regulatory body.
    Yeah, they [findarticles.com] never [msn.com] prosecute [bbc.co.uk] big [dw-world.de] EU [time.com] companies [forbes.com].
  • by gzunk (242371) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @06:56AM (#22359086) Homepage Journal

    The EU isn't a nation, sovereign or otherwise.
    The EU isn't a sovereign nation, but the member states are.

    This would be a contravention of the EC's rules and treaties.
    The member countries in the EU can change the rules and treaties.

    The EU isn't a government
    No, but it passes directives which must be implemented in the member countries legal systems. From Wikipedia:

    These legal powers include the ability to enact legislation which can directly affect all member states and their inhabitants (principle of 'Direct effect'). National courts are required to enforce the EU treaties and the laws enacted under them, as membership of the organisation obliges them to do so. In the case of a conflict where a law stemming from EU legislation conflicts with another national law, the EU law is considered to take precedence (principle of 'Supremacy'). Decisions regarding EU legislation may be referred to the European Court of Justice by national courts.
  • by Sri.Theo (983977) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @10:06AM (#22359894)

    I'd be much more impressed with EU anti-trust efforts if they weren't pretty much aimed at non-EU companies. They're mostly a trade barrier rather than a legitimate regulatory body.
    You serious? Have ever thought that maybe you only hear about the American ones because you're er, American? Neither Microsoft or Apple are in the top ten fines from the European commission- I don't even think any of them are American. And IT isn't even in the top ten sectors for fines. How the hell did you think you knew enough to claim the EU regulators were nothing but trade barriers?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSL215845620070221 [reuters.com]

    I would paste the whole table but it won't let me because of an annoying white space filter.

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