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27 July 2009, 11:50

Microsoft's EC proposals now include ODF and interoperability

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Microsoft logo Microsoft's original proposal to the European Commission, that it drop the web browser entirely from Windows 7, has been superseded with a new proposal that users be offered a "ballot box" of browser options. According to analysis by Glyn Moody of the presented documentation, it also appears to go much further.

A "Proposed Commitment" document (.doc format), includes statements that Microsoft will "not retaliate" against OEMs that do not use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and that it will not enter into relationships with OEMs which restrict OEMs from developing or promoting a third parties web browser.

An associated, "Public Undertaking by Microsoft" document (again .doc format), includes a range of wider undertakings. These include the offering of interoperability information "with no more than a nominal upfront fee" and "licencing terms which are compatible with open source licences". This interoperability information appears to cover Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange and SharePoint. The document also commits Microsoft to support Open Document Format (ODF) in Word, Excel and PowerPoint and the ability for users to set ODF as their default document format.

Moody believes that, given the detail of these proposals, Microsoft already had these plans in place before they made the original proposal and that it was "being as awkward as possible". Despite the commitment to ODF as a document format, there are still issues over interoperability with Microsoft applications and other applications which produce and consume ODF documents.


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