Microsoft is trying hard to work within the regulations that are in effect in Europe concerning its products. The big issue in Europe and other countries like the U.S. is that Microsoft competitors claim that it is anticompetitive to bundle IE and other software from Microsoft with Windows.
Microsoft had to pay a record fine in the EU over bundling Internet Explorer with Windows so it devised a method of using a ballot box to allow users to choose what web browser they want to use. Microsoft has also announced that it will use a similar ballot box in Office 2010.
In the case of Office 2010, the ballot box will be used to allow the user to determine what format files will be saved in. The ballot box will be seen by users the first time the application runs and will be in effect until the user goes in and manually changes the setting.
The software giant has offered no images of the ballot box – beyond Microsoft's own DOC/DOCX files and the open source ODF format, there is no word on what other formats will be included in the ballot box. Assuming the EU accepts the proposal it will be in effect for ten years reports WindowsITPro.
The Microsoft proposal reads, "Beginning with Office , end users that purchase Microsoft's Primary PC Productivity Applications in the [European Economic Area] will be prompted in an unbiased way to select the default file format for those applications upon the first boot of any one of them. Microsoft will also make tools available to enterprises in the EU so that they can auto-specify which format their users will see when using Office."