The EU executive body will look into whether steps announced by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to make it easier for users of an open source rival to work with Microsoft Office would give consumers greater choice.
“The Commission will investigate whether the announced support of ODF [Open Document Format] in Office leads to better interoperability and allows consumers to process and exchange their documents with the software product of their choice,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
Without adding any special software to Office, users will be able to open documents sent to them in the open source Open Document Format (ODF), the company said.
“Microsoft is going to be providing support for three new file formats directly in the Office product,” said Erich Anderson, vice president and general counsel for Europe, in a telephone interview.
Users will also be able to edit and save documents in that format.
The Commission has fined Microsoft 1.68 billion euros ($2.7 billion) since 2004, in large part for the company’s failure to provide proper interoperability between its dominant Windows operating system and other software.
In addition to ODF, it will also support Adobe’s PDF fixed format and Microsoft’s competitor to PDF, known as XPS.