February 22, 2006 9:39 AM PST

Rivals hit Microsoft with new EU complaint

A group of the world's largest technology companies complained to the European Commission on Wednesday that Microsoft was guilty of anticompetitive practices.

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which includes IBM, Nokia, Oracle and RealNetworks, claimed that Microsoft was hampering competition in the software market.

"We are at a crossroads," ECIS said in a statement. "Will one dominant player be permitted to control those conditions, or will the rules that guarantee competition on the merits prevail, to the benefit of all?"

ECIS called on the European Commission to take action against Microsoft. It cited the software giant's refusal to use the OpenDocument standard or release details of its .doc, .xls and .ppt file formats, which it said prevents the makers of other productivity suites from being fully interoperable with Microsoft Office.

"ECIS deeply regrets that strong antitrust law enforcement appears to be the only way to stop the sustained anticompetitive behavior of Microsoft," said Simon Awde, chairman of the group.

A representative for the European Commission told journalists that the organization is examining the complaint.

But Microsoft downplayed the significance of ECIS' move.

"We have come to expect that as we introduce new products that benefit consumers, particularly with the kind of breakthrough technologies in Office 12 and Windows Vista, a few competitors will complain," a Microsoft representative told ZDNet UK.

Microsoft also accused ECIS of bias and hiding behind legal processes.

"ECIS is a front for IBM and a few other competitors who constantly seek to use the regulatory process to their business advantage. When faced with innovation, they choose litigation," Microsoft said. "We will respond quickly and comprehensively to any requests for information from the Commission on this complaint, but no such requests have been received so far."

Last week, Microsoft and the European Commission traded blows over the 2004 antitrust ruling, with the software giant accusing the Commission of disregarding evidence and failing to follow due process. This enraged the Free Software Foundation, which said Microsoft's attack was outrageous.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
European Union, IBM Corp., commission, complaint, Microsoft Corp.

38 comments

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ECIS =?
ECIS, which dates back to 1989, includes IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, RealNetworks and others.

So all the major competitors are in this group
I don't think anything will come out of this complaint

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you sure about that?
The EU is looking for any pretext to stick it to MS. They'll be like: "You see?, these are american companies complaining, our actions have nothing to do with us wanting to hurt an american company". They should simply leave MS along and leave to the market. There is plenty of competition out there. Aplle is doing great. Linux is doing great, java is doing great. Real has no one to blame but their poor ad-ware ladden products, Nokia's just interrested in protectiong their symbian os from competition.MS did not have a point in market share 5 years ago. The so called "windows monopoly" has nothing to do with them gaining any share.
Posted by Pascoli (74 comments )
Link Flag
= end-run around US courts
Major US companies have complaints about another US competitor... since the U.S. court system has already dealt with the issue, the ECIS is simply an end-run for U.S. companies to competitively litigate each other. Even the "solutions" that have been previously handed down do nothing but damage the U.S. economy to the benefit of MS competitors... huge record-setting fines to the E.U.? Sure... and then the EU subsidizes european airline companies so they can compete with U.S. airplane manufacturers. Alternate versions of Windows... done... and NOBODY buys them... just another expense to damage MS. Microsoft competitors who support this subversive and unethical form of competition should be highlighted and ridiculed. Perhaps they would be better off relocating to Europe if they prefer the European legal system.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
ECIS =?
ECIS, which dates back to 1989, includes IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, RealNetworks and others.

So all the major competitors are in this group
I don't think anything will come out of this complaint

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.otherthingsnow.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you sure about that?
The EU is looking for any pretext to stick it to MS. They'll be like: "You see?, these are american companies complaining, our actions have nothing to do with us wanting to hurt an american company". They should simply leave MS along and leave to the market. There is plenty of competition out there. Aplle is doing great. Linux is doing great, java is doing great. Real has no one to blame but their poor ad-ware ladden products, Nokia's just interrested in protectiong their symbian os from competition.MS did not have a point in market share 5 years ago. The so called "windows monopoly" has nothing to do with them gaining any share.
Posted by Pascoli (74 comments )
Link Flag
= end-run around US courts
Major US companies have complaints about another US competitor... since the U.S. court system has already dealt with the issue, the ECIS is simply an end-run for U.S. companies to competitively litigate each other. Even the "solutions" that have been previously handed down do nothing but damage the U.S. economy to the benefit of MS competitors... huge record-setting fines to the E.U.? Sure... and then the EU subsidizes european airline companies so they can compete with U.S. airplane manufacturers. Alternate versions of Windows... done... and NOBODY buys them... just another expense to damage MS. Microsoft competitors who support this subversive and unethical form of competition should be highlighted and ridiculed. Perhaps they would be better off relocating to Europe if they prefer the European legal system.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Enough already
Give me a break. There comes a point when "competitors" need to... gasp! compete!
Posted by Jeff Putz (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You can't compete with
Muhammad Ali if your hands are tied behind your back.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Link Flag
Enough already
Give me a break. There comes a point when "competitors" need to... gasp! compete!
Posted by Jeff Putz (302 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You can't compete with
Muhammad Ali if your hands are tied behind your back.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Link Flag
"It prevents them from achieving full interoperability,"...
... said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer for the group."" The question is how much will a lawyer or a judge know for "fact" (and only repeat what have been told to them) about the inner workings of a computer... shouldn't technical statements/facts about computing functionalities such as the ones being presented not be left to the computer "specialists"... and; with all due respect, just as bankers should stick to what they are trained to do... lawyers and judges should stick to what they have also been trained to do - interpret the laws. Companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems cannot solely left the "technical development" of the Windows Operating System in the hands of Microsoft and then turn around a blame Microsoft's programmers for their own set backs. What is so wrong with companies who wish to compete with Microsoft having their own programmers trained to compete with Microsoft on an equal footing! Are the people that work for Microsoft "smarter" than anyone else around the world?
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
it's personal
not busines. They dont view M$ as a competitor, they view M$ as an enemy. They should quit crying and make an equal if not better product.
Posted by dave aszenine (16 comments )
Link Flag
How do they know...
... that the documentation prevents acheiving full compatability?

I would expect those companies to show their efforts at achieving compatability to back up their complaints. Somehow though I suspect these companies don't have anything to show because they've not tried.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
"It prevents them from achieving full interoperability,"...
... said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer for the group."" The question is how much will a lawyer or a judge know for "fact" (and only repeat what have been told to them) about the inner workings of a computer... shouldn't technical statements/facts about computing functionalities such as the ones being presented not be left to the computer "specialists"... and; with all due respect, just as bankers should stick to what they are trained to do... lawyers and judges should stick to what they have also been trained to do - interpret the laws. Companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems cannot solely left the "technical development" of the Windows Operating System in the hands of Microsoft and then turn around a blame Microsoft's programmers for their own set backs. What is so wrong with companies who wish to compete with Microsoft having their own programmers trained to compete with Microsoft on an equal footing! Are the people that work for Microsoft "smarter" than anyone else around the world?
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
it's personal
not busines. They dont view M$ as a competitor, they view M$ as an enemy. They should quit crying and make an equal if not better product.
Posted by dave aszenine (16 comments )
Link Flag
How do they know...
... that the documentation prevents acheiving full compatability?

I would expect those companies to show their efforts at achieving compatability to back up their complaints. Somehow though I suspect these companies don't have anything to show because they've not tried.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
Only solution is an alternative European based OS, Search engine, etc.
Look the US government is not going to do anything to stop a company that is in business of controlling the "eye ball" of the people of the planet. Since that is the same business the US government is in. In fact MS, Google, Yahoo, ebay, Oracle, Visa, MC, ICANN, etc. companies are as much part of the US government agenda to control the planet as are the US Nuclear air
craft careers positioned through out the planet, bases placed through out the planet,
invasion of one country after another under the guise of fighting Terror, etc.

So only way to stop this hegemony is by finding and using products and services that are open and de-centralized. That is why we all should use and urge all we know to use such open products/services as:

mysql for database
Linux for OS, on desktop and server
ORSN for DNS root server
AnooX for search engine

Unfortunately I have no open suggestion to replace Visa/MC/Amex. I am afraid in regard to how we buy online, we are all under the control of the US government. Which might make all other above products being open pointless since
ultimately how you pay is a root control factor. But hopefully, maybe, some company will come up with an open way of conducting online payment. Although I am not very hopeful since all such attempts have been quashed :(
Please do not say Paypal, because PayPal is a creation of Visa/MC, set aside
that now it is owned by that other bastion of freedom eBay :(
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FINE
Hey... if the solution in Europe is open-source, then they can just quit using Windows and make a complete switch to open source software. There is no legitimate blame to hand to Microsoft for this not already being done... so why haven't they done it? Hmmmmmm..... Perhaps a full OSS solution is not as attractive as some proponents would have you believe.....
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Are you high?
What kind of craziness is this? From Microsoft to US Nuclear Aircraft Carriers to VISA? I'm sure you would have added the Illuminati if you had remembered! Your concept of "6 degrees of seperation" would even have Kevin Bacon confused! You need to back up from the computer screen and go outside. Get some fresh air. I am no fan of Microsoft, but they have every right to create their products and pursue their market. Here's a novel idea - maybe the competitors should spend the money they give lawyers all on marketing and innovating products that don't require Microsoft platforms in any, way, shape or form. This is how technology moves forward. Remember when IBM was the big, evil empire? Hmmmm? Sheesh.
Posted by zevjansson (9 comments )
Link Flag
Do you really belive what you are saying?
This website should be called itconspiracytheories.com. People like you show the negative aspects of the internet because you are allowed to spew you communist, what job rhetoric.

Do you even know how INSANE you sound?
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Only solution is an alternative European based OS, Search engine, etc.
Look the US government is not going to do anything to stop a company that is in business of controlling the "eye ball" of the people of the planet. Since that is the same business the US government is in. In fact MS, Google, Yahoo, ebay, Oracle, Visa, MC, ICANN, etc. companies are as much part of the US government agenda to control the planet as are the US Nuclear air
craft careers positioned through out the planet, bases placed through out the planet,
invasion of one country after another under the guise of fighting Terror, etc.

So only way to stop this hegemony is by finding and using products and services that are open and de-centralized. That is why we all should use and urge all we know to use such open products/services as:

mysql for database
Linux for OS, on desktop and server
ORSN for DNS root server
AnooX for search engine

Unfortunately I have no open suggestion to replace Visa/MC/Amex. I am afraid in regard to how we buy online, we are all under the control of the US government. Which might make all other above products being open pointless since
ultimately how you pay is a root control factor. But hopefully, maybe, some company will come up with an open way of conducting online payment. Although I am not very hopeful since all such attempts have been quashed :(
Please do not say Paypal, because PayPal is a creation of Visa/MC, set aside
that now it is owned by that other bastion of freedom eBay :(
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FINE
Hey... if the solution in Europe is open-source, then they can just quit using Windows and make a complete switch to open source software. There is no legitimate blame to hand to Microsoft for this not already being done... so why haven't they done it? Hmmmmmm..... Perhaps a full OSS solution is not as attractive as some proponents would have you believe.....
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Are you high?
What kind of craziness is this? From Microsoft to US Nuclear Aircraft Carriers to VISA? I'm sure you would have added the Illuminati if you had remembered! Your concept of "6 degrees of seperation" would even have Kevin Bacon confused! You need to back up from the computer screen and go outside. Get some fresh air. I am no fan of Microsoft, but they have every right to create their products and pursue their market. Here's a novel idea - maybe the competitors should spend the money they give lawyers all on marketing and innovating products that don't require Microsoft platforms in any, way, shape or form. This is how technology moves forward. Remember when IBM was the big, evil empire? Hmmmm? Sheesh.
Posted by zevjansson (9 comments )
Link Flag
Do you really belive what you are saying?
This website should be called itconspiracytheories.com. People like you show the negative aspects of the internet because you are allowed to spew you communist, what job rhetoric.

Do you even know how INSANE you sound?
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Most interesting concept!
A very interesting concept, play the blame game, to divert attention, from either real facts or agenda!

Poor boys, and yet big blue, was soley responsible for their rise to the top of the heap!

Talk about biting the hand that feeds!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most interesting concept!
A very interesting concept, play the blame game, to divert attention, from either real facts or agenda!

Poor boys, and yet big blue, was soley responsible for their rise to the top of the heap!

Talk about biting the hand that feeds!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A simple case of democratic centralism...
... at work; concentrate all the "development" of the operating system in one location as is the Windows OS development (rather than have the thousand and one different locations as in the Linux example) and you have 90% plus of the world users having a preference for your product with all the bells and whistles... unlike the cases in which you have to go through hundreds of different flavors to determine your best solutions. Why agree for Microsoft to do all the OS development on one hand and then complain about "control" later! If you prefer the capital way of life then you compete; if you prefer the way of life as promulgated by the late Chairman MAO, then you live in places like China. To each (like Microsoft $$$) according to his/her ability!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oops..
.. that should have been "capitalist" rather than "capital"
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
A simple case of democratic centralism...
... at work; concentrate all the "development" of the operating system in one location as is the Windows OS development (rather than have the thousand and one different locations as in the Linux example) and you have 90% plus of the world users having a preference for your product with all the bells and whistles... unlike the cases in which you have to go through hundreds of different flavors to determine your best solutions. Why agree for Microsoft to do all the OS development on one hand and then complain about "control" later! If you prefer the capital way of life then you compete; if you prefer the way of life as promulgated by the late Chairman MAO, then you live in places like China. To each (like Microsoft $$$) according to his/her ability!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oops..
.. that should have been "capitalist" rather than "capital"
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Link Flag
 

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