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EC Pokes Around OOXML

Looking for evidence that Microsoft broke anti-competitive antitrust laws trying to get its Office Open XML format

The European Commission has started poking around the rough-and-tumble of the standardization process looking for evidence that Microsoft broke anti-competitive antitrust laws trying to get its Office Open XML format (OOXML) memorialized by ISO, according to a story last Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

OOXML's standardization by ISO is opposed by the supporters of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) - particularly IBM - which is already an ISO standard. They claim Open XML isn't really open and is flawed and redundant and only serves Microsoft's purposes.

It's possible the EC probe could turn into a third full-blown investigation of Microsoft alongside the two the EC kicked off last month: one into the interoperability of Microsoft products like Office, the other into Microsoft's web browser.

Microsoft is supposed to have stacked the deck in OOXML's favor by flooding some national bodies with its cronies and tried to buy votes with co-op money ahead of a preliminary vote in September, which it lost anyway.

The stories that have been retailed about Microsoft are reminiscent of the shenanigans IBM and Sun pulled during Java's failed standardization.

The final vote on OOXML, which could go either way, is supposed to be held in Geneva later this month after some 1,000 comments are reviewed by a group limited to 120 people. Standards folk say it's going to be impossible to cover so many comments in the five days allotted for the procedure.

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The XML-Journal News Desk monitors the world of XML and SOA /Web services to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances and business trends, as well as new products and standards.

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Most Recent Comments
The Open Sourcerer 02/19/08 12:34:50 PM EST

Hi,

Your closing paragraph is incorrect.

There will be no vote in Geneva. The BRM is purely a technical review of the responses to the 3522 comments submitted last September.

At the end of March '08, all the NBs (National standards Bodies) who voted in the Sept '07 ballot, will be able to change their vote if they wish. That will be the decision point. Not at the BRM in Geneva.

XML News Desk 02/19/08 10:17:22 AM EST

The European Commission has started poking around the rough-and-tumble of the standardization process looking for evidence that Microsoft broke anti-competitive antitrust laws trying to get its Office Open XML format (OOXML) memorialized by ISO, according to a story last Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

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