Microsoft is slated to announce details of its anti-trust accord with the European Union today, 17 November, that should ease interoperability issues between its Office software suite and third-party programs.
The announcement between Microsoft and European officials is deemed one of the software giant's first major concessions inattempts to speed the settlement of its anti-trust woes in Europe.
Full details of the EU announcement remained unclear at press-time. However, Microsoft met privately with European regulators all last week and had three days of public hearings in Brussels, Belgium, to reach a settlement. In part, the hearings focused on opening up Windows Media Player and Microsoft server interfaces.
Microsoft in the US declined to comment but issued the following statement: 'Microsoft is actively working with governments as well as customers around the globe on ways it can better meet their needs. We have no announcement, however, at this time.'
One source said the XML-related announcement will help customers using Office and third-party products overseas and in the US. 'The [commission] is very concerned with interoperability issues. And let's face it, the move is potentially a major public relations
victory, said one source, who requested anonymity.
One ISV in South America was suspicious about the deal, saying any interoperability pact would have to address both desktop and server interoperability to level the playing field.
'I think it would be very difficult to force this. Microsoft has a history of being able to hide or lock functionality and formats,' said Rodrigo Andai, chief operating officer of Exedra, a software developer in Santiago, Chile.
'Having said that, Microsoft is embracing XML formats for file saving and sharing, which would make Office use open formats. The problem here is again that one of the targets is to be able to integrate office with its SQL Server, business platform applications, again making the company stronger and bigger. I think this is a problem like the one ATT/ITT faced: Microsoft is too big and pervasive to be stopped by regular measures,' Andai said.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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