Feeds

EU investigates Microsoft's OOXML campaign

Did Redmond try to pack standards groups?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft's failed attempt to get its Office Open XML (OOXML) file format adopted by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) could land the software giant in hot water with the European Commission (EC).

Last month, the anti-trust arm of the commission began formal probes against Microsoft in two cases where it has been alleged that the multinational firm had abused its dominant market position.

Under the first case, the EC said it was investigating a complaint filed by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) alleging Redmond had refused to disclose interoperability information on a range of Microsoft products. The software currently under the EC's spotlight includes several server products, Office and the firm’s .NET Framework.

As part of the investigation into the first case, the commission said that it would scrutinise Microsoft's contentious file format Office Open XML (OOXML) on the grounds that the specification doesn't work with those of competitors.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports today that European regulators have expanded their probe to include Microsoft's role in the standards-setting tug of war.

As part of its battle against proponents of ODF – which was approved as the ISO standard last year – Redmond swelled the ranks of standards bodies with Microsoft allies in the hope of ratifying its Office file format as the default standard for international use.

Microsoft had tried to fast-track OOXML via Ecma International, the group which originally rubber-stamped the format. However, a vote of the draft (DIS 29500) failed to gain sufficient approval last September.

According to the Wall Street Journal, EU officials are now considering if Microsoft's actions - which came under fire from critics who accused the firm of underhand tactics and even vote-rigging - were illegal.

An EC spokeswoman told The Register that as the two cases were ongoing it couldn't comment on any specifics of the investigations outside of this statement it released last month.

The second EU investigation was sparked by a complaint from rival web browser Opera, which alleged that the tying of Internet Explorer to its Windows operating system was anti-competitive.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.