The European Comission said on Thursday it would investigate if steps announced by Microsoft to make it easier for users of an open-source rival to work with Microsoft Office give consumers greater choice.
The European Commission has taken note of Microsoft's announcement on 21st May concerning supporting ODF in Office.
"The Commission would welcome any step that Microsoft took towards genuine interoperability, more consumer choice and less vendor lock-in." the EC said in a statement. "In its ongoing antitrust investigation concerning interoperability with Microsoft Office, the Commission will investigate whether the announced support of ODF (OpenDocument format) in Office leads to better interoperability and allows consumers to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice," it added.
Microsoft announced on Thusday that it is expanding the range of document formats supported in its flagship Office suite.
With the release of Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) scheduled for the first half of 2009, the list will grow to include support for XML Paper Specification (XPS), Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5, PDF/A and Open Document Format (ODF) v1.1.
When using SP2, customers will be able to open, edit and save documents using ODF and save documents into the XPS and PDF fixed formats from directly within the application without having to install any other code. It will also allow customers to set ODF as the default file format for Office 2007. To also provide ODF support for users of earlier versions of Microsoft Office (Office XP and Office 2003), the company said that it would collaborate with the open source community in the ongoing development of the Open XML-ODF translator project on SourceForge.net.
In addition, Microsoft has defined a road map for its implementation of the newly ratified International Standard ISO/IEC 29500 (Office Open XML). Microsoft company plans to update that support in the next major version release of the Microsoft Office system, code-named "Office 14."
The company has also announced it will be an active participant in the future evolution of ODF, Open XML, XPS and PDF standards.