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EU Scrutinizes Microsoft's Office 2007

The EU's Competition Commission has been looking into possible antitrust violations of Office 2007 since it first received complaints in February.

The European Union's antitrust agency continues to investigate complaints about Microsoft Office 2007, Commissioner Neelie Kroes told participants of an antitrust law conference Thursday.

The EU's Competition Commission, which Kroes leads, has been looking into possible antitrust violations of Office 2007 since it first received complaints in February, commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said Friday.

"This [investigation] isn't new," he said. He wouldn't elaborate on the complaints. Neither did Kroes, who spoke Thursday at the Fordham Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy, in New York City.

In February, the European Committee on Interoperable Systems, a lobbying group that includes some of Microsoft's biggest rivals -- Sun, Red Hat, IBM, Oracle, RealNetwork, and Adobe -- filed a complaint with the EU against Microsoft. Although the committee didn't divulge details about the complaint, it said then that the products it cited included Office.

In June, Microsoft announced it was stripping some features from Office 2007, including a Save As PDF tool, under pressure from Adobe, which threatened the Redmond, Wash. developer with a lawsuit.

The EU and Microsoft are involved in a long-running antitrust battle that has yet to work its way through the European courts. In 2004, the slapped Microsoft with a record $613 million fine, which was followed by another $357 million fine in July.

Starting last week, Microsoft and the EU have been engaged in a public relations firefight as the American developer threatened to delay Windows Vista from reaching the European market unless Kroes' commission spelled out any objections to the operating system's feature set. In return, the EU said it was Microsoft's responsibility to follow the 2004 ruling as it developed Vista.

Most recently, the argument between the two has revolved around security tools Microsoft plans to integrate with Vista, including the Windows Defender anti-phishing application.

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