A group of the world's largest technology companies complained to the
European Commission on Thursday that Microsoft was guilty of anticompetitive
The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which includes IBM,
Nokia, Oracle and RealNetworks, claimed Microsoft was hampering competition in
the software market.
ECIS said in a statement: "We are at a crossroads. 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 EC 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 prevents the makers of other productivity
suites from being fully interoperable with Microsoft Office.
Simon Awde, chairman of the group, said: "ECIS deeply regrets that strong
antitrust law enforcement appears to be the only way to stop the sustained
anti-competitive behaviour of Microsoft."
A spokesperson for the EC told journalists the Commission was examining the
But Microsoft downplayed the significance of ECIS' move.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said: "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
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. 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 EC traded blows over the 2004 antitrust ruling,
with Microsoft accusing the EC of disregarding evidence and failing to follow due process. This enraged the Free Software Foundation which said
Microsoft's attack was outrageous.