EU to probe Microsoft's file format support

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The European Commission has revealed that it plans to investigate Microsoft’s recent decision to support rival file formats in its Office products. Among these will be Open Document Format (ODF) and the decision to introduce direct support is seen as a concession to antitrust regulators and a serious step towards improving customer choice.

“The Commission would welcome any step that Microsoft took towards genuine interoperability, more consumer choice and less vendor lock-in,” the EC said in a statement. “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.”

Normally I’m all for giving Microsoft’s monopolistic tendencies a right good probing whenever possible, preferably followed by some wrist slapping and some fining. However, it does seem a little ironic that now that the Redmond Giant has conceded to do the right thing, the EU is still riding in with its administrative endoscope firmly in hand.

Sure it’s acceptable that the regulators would want to ensure that Microsoft is really taking a more open approach to its file format support and not sneakily trying new ways of controlling everything – but what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Microsoft Office (via Computer World)

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