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Neelie Takes to the Soapbox
Recommends that Business and Government Adopt "Open Standards"

Europe’s antitrust chief Neelie Kroes, who has now taken on the role of open standards evangelist, gave a speech at OpenForum Europe the other day recommending that business and government adopt “open standards.”

“Open standards” in Neelie’s mouth is code for “open source” or at least “not Microsoft.”

“I know a smart business decision when I see one – choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed,” she said, summarizing her position. “No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one.”

“I fail to see the interest of consumers in including proprietary technology in standards when there are no clear and demonstrable benefits over non-proprietary alternatives.”

She claimed vendor lock-in is a government security risk and warned against standards manipulation by “narrow commercial interests.”

She presumably had both Rambus and Microsoft in mind.

“Allowing companies to sit around a table and agree technical developments for their industry is not something that competition rules would usually allow. So when it is allowed we have to look carefully at how it is done.”

“In essence,” she said, “the competition authority has to recreate the conditions of competition that would have emerged from a properly carried out standardization process.” (And she’s had such luck designing software like when she yanked Media Player out of XP.)

She even toyed with the idea of requiring dominant companies to support open standards to be able to sell their software in Europe and forcing IP disclosure in case of de facto standards to allow for interoperability.

In a clear swipe at OOXML, whose controversial journey to ISO standardized the EC is now investigating, she said, “If voting in the standard-setting context is influenced less by the technical merits of the technology but rather by side agreements, inducements, package deals, reciprocal agreements, or commercial pressure, then these risk falling foul of the competition rules.”

As part of an investigation of Office, the EC has asked European standards group about any irregularities in the OOXML process but claims, “We have not drawn any conclusions.”

For her text, click here. (Just scroll down. It’s there.)

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Hi there,

I need to disclose the context in responding to your article first. I am a Rambus shareholder (long suffering) since 2001. Having followed Rambus over these seven years, for me it is no longer about the stock but an eye opener as far as collusion between big business and various government agencies goes.

The JEDEC SSO issue has become so convoluted that unless some digging is done, it becomes impossible to refute the lie that Rambus deceived JEDEC. A lie repeated often becomes the truth.

1/. The CAFC (Federal Appeals Court) in 2003 ruled that there was no disclosure required by JEDEC and even if required, RMBS had nothing to disclose during the time they were in JEDEC.

2/. The FTC ALJ in a seminal document reached the same decision in 2004. The ALJ decision was overturned by the FTC commissioner's completely even though it was the ALJ that had spent close to a year on the case and was the one who had heard the various witnesses.

3/. The same issues were thrashed out in front of a jury in California and there was a unanimous decision that Rambus did no wrong. This was in March 2008 in front of Judge Whyte.

4/. The CADC (federal appeals court) then dealt what i believe is a fatal blow to the FTC case and agreed with Rambus proving again that RMBS did no wrong.

In all the false communication being spread around, nobody bothers to try and understand the core issue. There is no questioning of the FTC / EU stance, no analysis of what actually happened.

From your surname, i am guessing that you have an Irish background. If so, i am grateful to your countrymen for saying no and causing a major headache to the EU project :-)

Best Rgds,
Milan Sheth
London


Your Feedback
Milan Sheth wrote: Hi there, I need to disclose the context in responding to your article first. I am a Rambus shareholder (long suffering) since 2001. Having followed Rambus over these seven years, for me it is no longer about the stock but an eye opener as far as collusion between big business and various government agencies goes. The JEDEC SSO issue has become so convoluted that unless some digging is done, it becomes impossible to refute the lie that Rambus deceived JEDEC. A lie repeated often becomes the truth. 1/. The CAFC (Federal Appeals Court) in 2003 ruled that there was no disclosure required by JEDEC and even if required, RMBS had nothing to disclose during the time they were in JEDEC. 2/. The FTC ALJ in a seminal document reached the same decision in 2004. The ALJ decision was overturned by the FTC commissioner's completely even though it was the ALJ that had spent close to a ye...
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