Michael Desmond, founding editor of Redmond Developer News and Desmond
File blogger, is on vacation. Filling in for him this week is John Waters,
contributing editor of RDN.
Meanwhile, the folks across the pond have launched
a new investigation that focuses on whether Microsoft violated antitrust
laws by too-aggressively pushing for adoption of its Open Office XML (OOXML)
as a global standard. As the standards geeks in the audience know, OOXML is
the Microsoft-developed, XML-aware document format implemented in Microsoft
Office 2007. It became an Ecma International Technical Committee standard in
The investigation will be especially welcome in standards circles, according
to attorney and standards specialist Andy Updegrove, publisher of the ConsortiumInfo.org
Web site, largely because of what he described as the "wide range of reports
from the field" that Microsoft has engaged in "stacking" of the
national committees voting on OOXML, as well as other "over-reaching activities"
intended to influence the result.
"While the results of this new investigation will take far too long to
become public to have much impact on the upcoming final vote on OOXML,"
Updegrove wrote in an e-mail, "the fact that the EU is opening an investigation
into Microsoft's conduct -- and no one else's -- is telling."
He added, "I particularly applaud this action because the credibility
and integrity of the standard-setting system has been called into serious question
by the events of the last year. Whichever way the final results come out, that
system will benefit from the fact that regulators were willing to get to the
bottom of things when the trust of the public in standards was increasingly
Updegrove is a longtime champion of the OpenDocument Format (ODF), an OOXML
rival standard developed earlier by the OASIS standards consortium. For more
on this topic, check out Updegrove's blog here.
Posted on 02/28/2008 at 1:15 PM
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