EU will probe Microsoft's ODF move

Antitrust regulators cautious over Microsoft's committment to add suport for ODF into its Office suite

European Union antitrust regulators reacted cautiously Thursday to Microsoft's announcement this week that the software maker will add support for Open Document Format (ODF) to its Office suite next year.

"The Commission would welcome any step that Microsoft took towards genuine interoperability, more consumer choice and less vendor lock-in," the EU's Competition Commission said in a statement.

Wednesday, Microsoft said it would add support for ODF and Adobe Systems' PDF format to Office 2007 in the first half of 2009, the six-month window for launching Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2). The changes will let users open, edit and save those formats -- as well as Microsoft's own XPS (XML Paper Specification) -- without adding translators or other extra code. Users will also be able to set ODF, PDF or XPS as Office's default file format.

The Commission is already investigating claims that Microsoft abused its market-leading position in the application suite business by not providing competitors the technical information they needed to craft software that worked smoothly with Office. That investigation was launched in mid-January after a complaint was filed by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), a trade group whose members include some of Microsoft's longest-running rivals, including Adobe Systems, Corel, IBM, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.

Thursday, EU regulators said that their investigation would continue with an eye on Microsoft's proposed ODF support. "The Commission will investigate whether the announced support of ODF in Office leads to better interoperability and allows consumers to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice," the agency's statement continued.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a call for comment. The ECIS was also not available for comment

However, the ODF Alliance, a group that includes many of the same Microsoft rivals as the ECIS, took a much harsher tone than did the EU.

The ODF Alliance in a statement of its own (download PDF) on Wednesday greeted the news "with skepticism." The group's managing director, Marino Marcich put it plainly: "The proof will be whether and when Microsoft's promised support for ODF is on par with its support for its own format. Governments will be looking for actual results, not promises in press releases.

"Because Microsoft has a history of broken promises, no one should celebrate this news until we see what is actually done and how quickly it is put in place," Marcich added.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?