Europe’s competition commissioner Neelie Kroes knows how to make Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) blood boil. She may have handed Bill Gates an honourary degree in her native Holland 12 years ago, but since 2004 she’s fined him 1.67 billion euros for antitrust transgressions surrounding Windows Media Player and more.
Kroes’ latest, a quip at a Brussels conference today: “I know a smart business decision when I see one – choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed. No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one.”
Kroes did not name Microsoft, which last month bowed to pressure to support the OpenDocument Format (ODF) in its Office suite, but the IHT reporter present certainly read it that way. Kroes still has Microsoft in her sights, likely referring (via Thomson) to an ongoing investigation in to its Internet Explorer strategy, filed by Opera: “The commission has found competition problems in at least some technology markets … and there are other cases of alleged unlawful conduct pending.”