EC on Microsoft Interoperability Declaration: Is It April Fools' Day Already?
Color the European Commission unimpressed by Microsoft’s declaration of interoperability principles this morning. Seems the EC hasn’t forgotten that Microsoft’s made these promises before. On at least four occasions.
“The European Commission takes note of today’s announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high-market-share software products,” the EC said in a statement. “This announcement does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past. The commission would welcome any move toward genuine interoperability. Nonetheless, the commission notes that today’s announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability.”
The European Committee for Interoperable Systems, a coalition of Microsoft rivals, was equally dubious of the announcement. Noting that Microsoft announced its last interoperability initiative in August of 2007, when it had not yet complied with the EC’s 2004 ruling requiring the disclosure of interoperability information, the ECIS said the world needs a permanent change in Microsoft’s behavior, not just another announcement. “We have heard high-profile commitments from Microsoft a half-dozen times over the past two years, but have yet to see any lasting change in Microsoft’s behavior in the marketplace,” ECIS Legal Counsel and Spokesman Thomas Vinje said in a statement.
Vinje went on to suggest that if Microsoft is truly serious about enhancing its support of industry standards, it will endorse the Open Document Format at the International Standards Organization meeting next week and stop pushing forward with its proprietary Windows-dependent standard document format.