Becta refers its interoperability complaint to the European Commission

Oh goody!

Becta are once again proving to be a particularly spiky thorn in the side of Microshaft.

You may recall that they reported the evil empire to our OFT (Office of Fair Trading) back in October last year. We’ll today they have announced the following further development:

Following discussions with the OFT, Becta has now referred its interoperability complaint and related evidence to the European Commission in support of the Commission’s wider investigation. At a recent meeting with the Commission Becta set out its key areas of concern and their impact on the UK education system.

Becta believes that impediments to interoperability limit choice. In the context of the education system this can result in higher prices and a range of other unsatisfactory effects which have a negative impact on wider policy initiatives, including improving educational outcomes, facilitating home school links and addressing the digital divide.

Commenting after the recent meeting with the Commission to discuss Becta’s detailed concerns, Dr Stephen Lucey, Becta’s Executive Director of Strategic Technologies, said:

“It is not just the interests of competitors and the wider marketplace that are damaged when barriers to effective interoperability are created. Such barriers can also damage the interests of education and training organisations, learners, teachers and parents.

I therefore very much welcome the decision by the Commission to conduct a wide ranging investigation.”

Basically they are helping the EU Commission in their investigations of anti-competitive practices and particularly their awful and proprietary OOXML file format. It is so good to hear a respected and influential publicly funded body actually articulating the real problems with proprietary software and especially when it is used to support and extend an existing monopoly position.

And in a rather nicely worded conclusion that would work really well in a thriller movie…

Dr Lucey confirmed that the other aspect of Becta’s complaint, which relates to Microsoft’s School Agreement licensing model, remains under active consideration by the OFT.

This is in relation to the terrible contract Microshaft have managed to tie our schools into where they will be purchasing subscription licenses for software that they could never use… Here’s the original piece.

At least there are some public organisations in the UK which seem to have understood the threat that M$ poses to all of us. Shame that the current Government and our Standards Institute haven’t.

Roll on the next election…

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