Feeds

EU investigates Microsoft's OOXML campaign

Did Redmond try to pack standards groups?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.