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EU exploring potential antitrust issues in Open XML voting

Regulators at the European Union ask Microsoft for information on the company lobbying on an ISO Open XML vote in September, report says.

European Union antitrust officials are looking into whether Microsoft violated regulations in its pursuit of making Open Office XML a standard, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

In September, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) voted on an accelerated schedule to make Office XML a standard.

Microsoft was hoping to get the green light for a "fast track" voting process at the ISO and lobbied national standards bodies of many countries who have a vote in the process.

Opponents of Open XML said lobbying by Microsoft and its business partners was an attempt to manipulate the standards process in Microsoft's favor. Microsoft executives, meanwhile, counter that IBM has been lobbying national standards bodies just as much to defeat ISO certification of open XML.

The EU is now looking into whether Microsoft violated its market dominance in office software in the months leading up to the vote, according to the Journal.

The measure to fast track Open XML at ISO in September failed to pass. Microsoft and other backers of Open XML are now gearing up for a technical resolution meeting at the end of this month where technical feedback regarding the specifications is meant to be addressed.