Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Microsoft News

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.'
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Under Third EU Investigation for OOXML

Comments Filter:
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday February 08, 2008 @06:46PM (#22355254) Journal
    Yeah, we should allow abusive monopolies to corrupt absolutely everything. That's true capitalism, fucking over the consumer at every opportunity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:02PM (#22355442)

    According to the EU, capitalism=anti-trust while communism=trust.
    IIRC some early 20th century Marxists thought this (monopolies) is exactly why capitalism inevitably leads to communism: It all slowly aggregates, eventually into one big company, so in the end you are left with a single entity on the market which through revolution or whatever is easy prey.

    Of course, the capitalists read these theories as well and were convinced that such aggregation is a real threat and is bad - thus the anti-trust laws were born out of a truly capitalist spirit.
  • Re:Compassion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuickFox (311231) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:21PM (#22355630)

    administrators in europe saw the impeding power gap and dove into that and are slowly taking over authority about important international questions.
    I like the sound of that.

    Let's hope some day, not too far in the future, we get to a point where the US and Europe work together in important international matters. Together, without trying to be identical. Rather, each having its own strong points, and filling in for each other as appropriate. Working in different ways toward a shared goal of democracy and peace.

    Maybe I sound very dreamy, but I really don't think it's necessarily unrealistic, if a new US administration introduces a vision where the US is more multilaterally cooperative rather than bullying, willing to lead where leading is called for, and willing to cooperate where cooperation is called for.

    (Presumably Europe has to modify its ways too, but I find it more difficult to pinpoint how.)
  • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:26PM (#22355682) Homepage Journal
    A reasonable savings account should let them invest their loose change and pay fines of $2,100,000,000 a year without touching the principal. (I'm using December 2007's total cash, and reckoning a decent account gives 10% interest.) Let's say that grassroots action paralyzed Microsoft completely. How long would they survive, maintaining their current level of activity, property and staff, just burning their free cash reserves? About two and a half years. That is how long they could endure a total boycott of their products and a freeze on all license renewal.

    It is not sensible to impose punishments that are completely invisible to the corporation and which Microsoft might never pay anyway. Why should they? They own most of the EU's financial computers and could easily out-last the EU itself if it ever came to a standoff.

    I don't know what the EU could do to impose the rule of law on Microsoft - suspending business licenses there might be the only thing Microsoft would really notice, and even then, that's not remotely guaranteed.

  • Learning by doing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ralof (760869) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:40PM (#22355800)
    If EU spend 1% of the time they spend on meaningless quarrels with Microsoft on presenting a plan for he use of software that DO following international standards and DO have open source code that each states security people can scrutinize for Trojans and whatnot, then maybe Microsoft would conform to whatever EU wants by their own free will. Currently enormous amounts of money is spent on Microsoft licenses in schools and public offices that could be better spent elsewhere. Such an initiative from EU would also automatically strengthen the Linux world and maybe even create an opportunity for a completely new type of OS to be developed. A OS that is designed with todays knowledge and todays needs. Mr José Manuel Barroso - we do not actually need MS Office. Just tell your colleagues to use a software that does not threaten the economic balance and does not make you paranoid. Try Open Office. You will be surprised. Microsofts Office is not Open, and quite frankly, I do not understand why someone expect it to be. Bill & the other bosses at Microsoft has a responsibility towards their company and the shareholders of that company, not towards EU.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:44PM (#22355836) Journal
    Lots of corrupt and nasty things are considered "standard" business practices. I mean, insider trading goes on a bit, so does that mean if we catch some CEO in the act, we shouldn't prosecute because it's a "standard business practice".

    Microsoft holds a monopoly position in two key areas; desktop operating systems and office integration software. It's attempt to buy itself ISO certification was a damned dirty trick, and an attempt to leverage its monopoly to maintain market dominance. It's being picked on because a monopoly is held up to a different standard than another company.

    And the EU certainly isn't picking on Microsoft alone. Both Apple and Google seem to be in its sights as well.
  • by Darth (29071) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:44PM (#22355844) Homepage
    They own most of the EU's financial computers and could easily out-last the EU itself if it ever came to a standoff.

    no matter how much money you have, it is never a good idea to get into a standoff with a sovereign nation (unless you are also a sovereign nation, and then it's only a good idea sometimes).

    I don't know what the EU could do to impose the rule of law on Microsoft - suspending business licenses there might be the only thing Microsoft would really notice, and even then, that's not remotely guaranteed.

    The EU could invalidate all intellectual property protections for microsoft products in the EU.

    Remember that the right of the corporation to even exist as an entity in the EU is at the sufferance of the government.

  • by jhol13 (1087781) on Friday February 08, 2008 @08:53PM (#22356388)
    Besides point 4 does not matter. It REALLY does not matter what is ratified at ISO: Microsoft is not going to use it. They will use their own "interpretation" and "extension" of it.

    So were there a software fully compatible with the OOXML standard it would be completely useless in practice. And were it to follow Microsoft extensions it would need to follow, i.e. play catch-up giving Microsoft a huge advantage.

    Still Microsoft could (and would) claim "ISO standard" in sales material (as you say in your point 5).
  • by fbjon (692006) on Friday February 08, 2008 @09:22PM (#22356606) Homepage Journal
    Relax, it's just the Microsoft trolls coming out of the woodwork. Every time there's a story on the EU versus Microsoft, they come out with the same lines: "MS getting picked on", "EU grabbing for pocket money", "EU is a sheeple/socialist/communist [expletive]-place". It's really getting old by now.
  • by taj (32429) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:18PM (#22357308) Homepage
    The EU could invalidate all intellectual property protections for microsoft products in the EU.

    They could but keep in mind those protections are part of the post WWII agreements. There are probably better solutions that don't involve teenagers dying.
  • by mr_death (106532) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @04:48AM (#22358566)
    The EU could try to pull this stunt, but watch what happens when/if the US retaliates. Say, the US blocks the merger of KLM/Air France, $1m landing fees and huge tarrifs on Airbus aircraft for illegal (in the US) launch aid, invalidate IP protections on Bayer, pull more US forces from Europe .. the list goes on. There are a slew of things legal in the US, but not in the EU -- and vice versa. There needs to be a uniform way to handle these things, just as aircraft certification is harmonized.

    MS is trying to get OOXML accepted by a standards body. That is hardly an act requiring retaliation by the EU.
  • Microsoft would rather give away all their european profits in fines, than lose marketshare...
    If they lose a significant share, then support for alternatives will increase and lockin will decrease, eventually causing a cascade reaction causing microsoft to lose significant levels of marketshare elsewhere and be forced to fight against competitors in a more even marketplace.
  • Word for Word Lift (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy Updegrove (956488) on Saturday February 09, 2008 @10:45AM (#22359760) Homepage
    Whoever submitted this lifted it word for word from my blog. If anyone is interested in reading the full analysis, they can find it here: http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20080208082501776 [consortiuminfo.org]

    My blog entry begins:

    The Wall Street Journal 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."
    Sound familiar?

    - Andy

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

Working...