More fun with standards...
European regulators are examining whether Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws during a struggle last year to ratify its Office software file format as an international standard.
European Union antitrust officials have asked Microsoft for information about its activities in the standards-setting process -- an early step in an investigation -- and are stepping up scrutiny of the issue, according to people familiar with the matter. The file format in question is computer code that describes how a document such as a letter or spreadsheet is digitally stored.
In the months and weeks leading up to the vote, Microsoft resellers and other allies joined standards bodies en masse -- helping swell the Italian group, for instance, from a half-dozen members to 85. Opponents said Microsoft stacked committees. People familiar with the matter say EU regulators are now questioning whether Microsoft's actions were illegal. Microsoft said at the time that any committee expansion had the effect of making more voices heard; it also said rival International Business Machines Corp. mobilized on the other side of the vote.