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EU antitrust chief says in favor of open standards

The EU antitrust chief said governments and businesses should favor open standards over closed technology as a blunt criticism of Microsoft's practice.

“When open alternatives are available, no citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to use a particular company's technology to access government information,” EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told a seminar organized by Open Forum Europe, a non-profit group supporting open standards.

Kroes said the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, could do its part by not relying on one vendor or accepting closed standards.

“It must refuse to become locked into a particular technology, jeopardizing maintenance of full control over the information in its possession,” she said.

Ahead of the commission, the German Foreign Ministry, the French Gendarmerie, and the Dutch government and Parliament have already been moving towards open standards.

“Choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed,” Kroes said.

Kroes' remarks were an apparent attack at the US software giant Microsoft, which is facing its second antitrust case with the European Commission for reluctance to disclose interoperability information to its competitors.

Microsoft managed to make its Office Open XML as an international standard in April, defeating another existing open format backed by IBM and open source developers. (Xinhua)