The European Union (EU) has encouraged businesses and governments to use open standard software at a conference in Brussels.
Though Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for competition policy, did not refer explicitly to Microsoft in her speech, she made it clear she was referring to the software goliath by referencing the only company in EU antitrust enforcement history to be fined for refusing to comply with European Commission (EC) orders.
The EU ruled against Microsoft in February for abusing its dominance in the software market and fined the giant a record £688m.
At a conference this week for OpenForum Europe, an industry body with members such as Microsoft rivals IBM and Sun Microsystems, Kroes said: “When a market develops in such a way that a particular proprietary technology becomes a de facto standard, then the owner of that technology may have such power over the market that it can lock-in its customers and exclude its competitors.
“And that is why the Commission has committed that for all future IT developments and procurement procedures, the Commission shall promote the use of products that support open, well-documented standards.”
Kroes said a policy adopted last year by the EC to promote the use of open standard software “needs to be implemented with vigor.”
She added: “No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one, through a government having made that choice first.
“I know a smart business decision when I see one - choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed.”
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