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Danish Unix User Group Files Complaint With EU Commission Against Denmark For Mandating MSOOXML
Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 05:23 PM EST

The Danish Unix User Group, DKUUG, has filed a formal complaint with the EU Commission regarding Denmark's mandating ECMA 376, better known by us as MSOOXML, for certain procurements.

The complaint [PDF] is grounded in breach of the EC Treaty article 81 on unfair competition. The press release says that the regulation "can be seen as an attempt to continue the de facto monopoly of Microsoft in the Danish state on office software, as the various public agencies and institutions need to buy the products of Microsoft to comply to the regulation." ECMA, the complaint states, has stated that its goal is "to enable the implementation of the Office Open XML formats ... in a way that is fully compatible with the large existing investments in Microsoft Office documents." For that reason, the complaint alleges that "the ECMA 376 specification favours a specific product of a specific company."

Further, they express concerns about a lack of openness. A report "procured by ITST itself" -- National IT and Telecom Agency -- found a lack of openness, and openness is a condition of the Danish Parliament acceptance of the regulation. The report [PDF] concluded, "OpenXML cannot be considered as entirely open, as it is considered that Ecma does not work in an entirely transparent manner."

I'll say. Or at all. They seem to believe they have zero responsibility to be transparent in any way, barring reporters from the BRM, not publishing the comments and responses, swearing members to secrecy, and thus excluding the public altogether.

Procurement, the complaint states, should be open to all parties within the EU "where the company Microsoft has an unreasonable competitive advantage, as the ECMA 376 specification is aimed at supporting their product MS Office. Furthermore there are many specifications in ECMA 376 for backwards compatibility of MS Office that are not specified in ECMA 376 nor elsewhere, as they are the private undisclosed technology owned by Microsoft."

DKUUG asks that the EU Commission nullify the Danish regulation on ECMA 376 and that ECMA OOXML be withdrawn from the list of mandatory IT standards to be used in the Danish State.


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