IT Education Body BECTA to appeal to EU about Microsoft Interoperability issue

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) is going forward with plans to appeal to the European Commission over the interoperability of Microsoft Products that are commonly used in the UK Education sector.

Microsoft has been very active in the interoperability sector; back in March, it launched a Document Interoperability Initiative whose aim was to promote user choice among document formats and expand opportunity for developers, partners and competitors.

BECTA has been pursuing two separate complaints, one regarding the way Microsoft licenses its products to schools and the other with regards to compatibility problems that have been plaguing Office 2007, especially when it comes to backward compatibility with Microsoft's own Office 2003 and Microsoft Works.

The complaint comes on the back of a $2.63 billion fine that the European Commission imposed on it earlier in February over the way WIndows interacts with competing programs.

Microsoft is one of the largest software suppliers to schools in United Kingdom and any decision taken by the European Commission could have long term effects on its collaboration with the educational sector.

The controversy comes at a time where cash-strapped educational organisations are increasingly considering moving to Open Source and other free alternatives to Microsoft products in a bid to save cash.