CyberTech Rambler

February 25, 2006

Using AntiTrust to force Microsoft to adopt ODF?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:38 pm

In one of his blog post, Andy Updegrove suggests that ECIS is using anti-trust action in Europe to force Microsoft to adopt OpenDocumentFormat. This, however, is not my reading of the Antitrust Complain. If it is, it is bound to fail and it is not a good thing for EU to force Microsoft to do.

Why is it bound to fail? Because if found guity, the correct remedy is not to force Microsoft to support one format or another, but to force Microsoft to open up its own formats. (Since newer versions of Microsoft Office products is going to use MS Office XML, it means openning up the legacy formats, e.g. .doc.) Forcing it to support other formats raises a lot of questions (whose format? for one), does not solve the problem completely as specified in the complain (access to data stored by MS format) and may be unfair to Microsoft because it is forced to do work (conversion filters etc) that are by common sense, the jobs of its competitors.

It is not a good thing for EU to do because it is simply the wrong solution and send the wrong message. Wrong solution coz it does not solve the problem in the complain as detail above, and wrong message because it means companies can force competitors to adopt their formats or way of doing things.

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