EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.19.07

Microsoft Uses Position of Power to Impose OOXML on National Assets

Posted in ECMA, Europe, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is truly astonishing to find that many government bodies actually have their key positions occupied by Microsoft employees. I am intimately familiar with quite a few examples and I will name only two.

The first one is very recent. It comes from New York where Microsoft muscled the legislature and lobbied to pass a so-called ‘Microsoft amendment’ that is discriminative towards Open Source.

Microsoft’s proposed change to state law would effectively render our current requirements for escrow and the ability for independent review of source code in the event of disputes completely meaningless – and with it the protections the public fought so hard for.

An older example involved changing of an important report by a Microsoft employee.

That agreement was nearly imperiled last weekend, though. Gerri Elliott, corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector division, sent an e-mail message to fellow commissioners Friday evening saying that she “vigorously” objected to a paragraph in which the panel embraced and encouraged the development of open source software and open content projects in higher education.

So much for independent assessment for the benefit of the citizens, eh? Welfare and greed are mutually exclusive and even contradictory.

Here comes the latest finding, which is concerned with Microsoft’s OOXML — the very effective venom that Linux ‘partners’ are forced to digest. Another discussion with Mark Kent led to another example where public money is being used to promote Microsoft’s agenda by locking vital data to this monopoly. The BBC is not the only Linux-hostile establishment over here.

Watch this discussion in an article about archiving data using suitable formats

Open-source advocates claim that the Microsoft-championed format is not as open as it should be and doesn’t compare well to rival formats such as the community-developed OpenDocument Format (ODF).

“If it were, Microsoft wouldn’t need to make Novell and Xandros and Linspire sign NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) and then write translators for them,” Pamela Jones, an open-source expert and editor of the Groklaw blog, wrote recently.

But the National Archives said that it is not wedded to any particular data format and that all technology options are being considered at this time.

Mark did a little legwork and found out a little bit more about National Archives, which seemingly chose to sidle with Microsoft and even gleefully talked about OOXML in a recent BBC article.

Mark wrote:

Look at this, from the *joint* National Archives and /Microsoft/ press
release:

Adam Farquhar, Head of eArchitecture at the British Library and
co-chair of the Office OpenXML standards committee said:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
|
|
So this guy, paid for by *our* taxes, is working for Microsoft
to promote their proprietary formats. Now look at this:

“Microsoft has shown considerable initiative working with The National
Archives, The British Library and others to increase our ability to
ensure access to today’s digital information tomorrow. This announcement
represents an important step and shows the sort of value that effective
collaboration between public and private organisations can bring to the
challenge of preserving our nation’s heritage.”

Which you can sum up as:

“we’re putting national heritage, at tax-payer’s expense, into
the hands of the world’s greatest monopolist, to ensure access
to data in the future”.

So we, the taxpayer, have to *pay* to have *our* data locked into a
proprietary format which will never be readable on standard platforms,
supplied by a company which cannot even manage to add a proper ODF
format to its office suite, and pushed by a guy, Adam Farquhar, who *we*
pay for, who chairs an OOXML “standards” committee.

This is just beyond anything you could imagine. Can we get this guy
moved to a more suitable job – in Microsoft, say?

So there you go. Apparently, lock-in is about ‘politics’, not rational choices. Microsoft has always loved escaping discussions about technical merits and turning them into a political debate. It is easier. It’s diversion.

We could probably just learn from continental Europe. It understands better than most that open standards are essential. OOXML is not open, even though the acronym contains the word “open” within it. OOXML goes against the existing unified standard. On the other hand:

EU backs standard for mobile TV

[...]

David McQueen, principle analyst with research firm Informa, is not surprised that the EU has come down in favour of DVB-H.

“It is the most open standard and there are more players in the market. Finland has networks already and in France there is a satellite hybrid solution,” he said.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

4 Comments

  1. Zaine Ridling said,

    July 20, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Gravatar

    Read the national body comments and see what a real turkey MS-OOXML really is. It’s truly stunning that neither Microsoft, Ecma, or any other “expert” caught so many mistakes:

    http://www.xmlopen.org/ooxml-wiki/index.php/DIS_29500_Comments

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 20, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Gravatar

    No matter how many deficiencies are spotted, there will remain some perils, Rob once said that Microsoft would have a seemingly-credible counter argument. Any flaw would be drowned in the amount of un-criticised bits (or yet-to-be criticised bits). Any time something is scrutinised, Microsoft would call it “nitpicking”.

    You see, size changes perspective. Scale confuses and discourages the reviewer.

    Look what they did in Europe last month:


    Microsoft says ‘archaeology’ changes the way it develops products

    Critics say company isn’t documenting interaction methods fast enough

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | Microsoft Corp. will deliver the final installment of hundreds of
    | pounds of documentation of its products to U.S. regulators next
    | month, a result of seemingly never-ending disputes over the
    | company’s business practices.
    |
    | That load will exceed the roughly 30,000 printed pages, or 130
    | pounds of documentation, already prepared by Microsoft for
    | European regulators.
    |
    | [...]
    |
    | Not buying it
    |
    | Microsoft’s rivals argue the company is doing too little, too late.
    | Vinje, of ECIS, said he doesn’t believe Microsoft has faced the severe
    | challenges the company alleges in documenting its protocols.
    `—-

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/microsoft-says-archaeology-changes-way/story.aspx?guid=%7BF16A9817%2DFCCF%2D46A7%2DBF1B%2D6B6F38154049%7D&siteid=yhoof
    http://tinyurl.com/34klv3

    Also see the following:


    A cathedral of formats or a castle of cards?

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | By writing 6000 pages, something else strikes many, including myself:
    | no human can implement that. In fact, nobody aside Microsoft will be
    | able to rightly implement it because Microsoft is the only one can
    | deal with the previously existing formats. For these 6000 pages are
    | thousands of man/years of confusion, users’ lock-in, con-formating
    | of data, IP and jealously kept trade secrets. And you would expect
    | that anybody might come up with something that works? Apple, by
    | the way, will not. Because Microsoft Office for Mac will not be
    | able to use Open XML for some years, as I have learned. So good
    | for the great open file format of Microsoft. 6000 pages cannot
    | be a standard. It is FUD. It is a scandal, and a digital wart
    | in the industry. 6000 pages cannot be reputed conformant by
    | anybody else than their author. And their author is Microsoft.
    `—-

    http://www.libervis.com/blogs/5/charles/a_cathedral_of_formats_or_a_castle_of_cards

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | [Microsoft:] “For example, we should take the lead in establishing a common
    | approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our
    | efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidental-
    | ly on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we sho-
    | uld not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to
    | the industry and set a standard that works now and is for
    | everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”
    `—-

    http://www.os2site.com/sw/info/comes/px09509.zip

  3. Mark Kent said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Gravatar

    Re-reading the press releases and information from the National Archives, it’s still amazing me beyond belief that we could have the same person pushing a proprietary “standard” as working on safeguarding national archives.

    What on earth happened to concepts of open and fair government?

    How will we be able to have “freedom of information” when we have to pay Microsoft in order to access the information which is supposed to be free?

    Mark K.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 29, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Gravatar

    it’s still amazing me beyond belief that we could have the same person pushing a proprietary “standard” as working on safeguarding national archives.

    Can the hen trust a fox?

What Else is New


  1. Walmart, Bank of America, Allied Security Trust (AST) and the Rush for 'Blockchain' Patents

    The hoarding of patents on novel-sounding code has reached ridiculous levels; very large corporations and even patent trolls arm themselves with such patents, hoping to make returns by means of litigation or an 'arms trade'



  2. Stupid Blogs, Stupid Lawsuits, and Stupid Patents

    The stupidity of the patent microcosm, which would like to see everything in the world patented and which would gleefully smear or even sue its critics (the EFF was sued several times for libel over its "Stupid Patent of the Month" series)



  3. Perpetuating the Big Lie That Unitary Patent (UPC) is About to Kick Off

    The (in)famous old lie about UPC being "just around the corner" is still being circulated, mainly if not only by patent law firms which stand to benefit from a litigation Armageddon in Europe



  4. EPO Validation in Former French Colonies That Have Zero European Patents

    The strategy of the EPO seems to be centered around the interests of Benoît Battistelli and his political career rather than that of the EPO; validation deals and dubious 'Inventor Awards' seem to be part of this pattern



  5. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Cautionary Tale of SIDRU and Its “Toxic Loans”

    The town where the EPO‘s President (Battistelli) is a deputy mayor has a track record of financial hardship and alleged financial misconduct, attributed to the same financial practices Battistelli has just implemented at the EPO



  6. Links 23/5/2018: DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 and Kata Containers 1.0 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Masking Abstract Patents in the Age of Alice/§ 101 in the United States

    There are new examples and ample evidence of § 101-dodging strategies; the highest US court, however, wishes to limit patent scope and revert back to an era of patent sanity (as opposed to patent maximalism)



  8. PTAB's Latest Applications of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Obviousness Tests to Void U.S. Patents

    Validity checks at PTAB continue to strike out patents, much to the fear of people who have made a living from patenting and lawsuits alone



  9. France is Irrelevant to Whether or Not UPC Ever Becomes a Reality, Moving/Outsourcing de Facto Patent Examination to European Courts Managed in/Presided by France

    Team UPC is still focusing on France as if it's up for France to decide the fate of the UPC, which EPO insiders say Battistelli wants to be the chief of (the chief, it has already been decided, would have to be a Frenchman)



  10. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Emperor’s New Investment Guidelines

    Details about a secret vote to 'gamble' the EPO's budget on "a diversified portfolio managed by external experts"



  11. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": Cautionary Tale for the EPO?

    Preface or background to a series of posts about Battistelli's French politics and why they can if not should alarm EPO workers



  12. Links 22/5/2018: Parrot 4.0, Spectre Number 4

    Links for the day



  13. Chamber of Commerce Lies About the United States Like It Lies About Other Countries for the Sole Purpose of Patent Maximalism

    When pressure groups that claim to be "US" actively bash and lie about the US one has to question their motivation; in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it's just trying to perturb the law for the worse



  14. Links 21/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC6, GIMP 2.10.2

    Links for the day



  15. The Attacks on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Have Lost Momentum and the Patent Microcosm Begrudgingly Gives Up

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), reaffirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and now the Supreme Court as well, carries on preventing frivolous lawsuits; options for stopping PTAB have nearly been exhausted and it shows



  16. Software Patenting and Successful Litigation a Very Difficult Task Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Using loads of misleading terms or buzzwords such as "AI" the patent microcosm continues its software patents pursuits; but that's mostly failing, especially when courts come to assess pertinent claims made in the patents



  17. António Campinos Will Push Toward a France-Based Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Frenchmen at EPO will try hard to bring momentum if not force to the Unified Patent Court; facts, however, aren't on their side (unlike Team UPC, which was always on Team Battistelli's side)



  18. In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in 'Damages'

    A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel's role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple



  19. Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  20. Aurélien Pétiaud's ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

    A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof



  21. LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Another reminder that the "LOT" is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo



  22. 'Nokification' in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

    Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation



  23. CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

    Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists



  24. Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still 'Pull a Berkheimer' to Attract Business in Vain

    The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to 'sell' the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their 'teeth' again



  25. A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to 'Dilute' This Supreme Court's Decision or Work Around It

    IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases



  26. Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft 'Safety'

    The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft



  27. Links 19/5/2018: Mesa 18.0.4 and Vim 8.1

    Links for the day



  28. Système Battistelli (ENArque) at the EPO is Inspired by Système Lamy in Saint-Germain-en Laye

    Has the political culture of Battistelli's hometown in France contaminated the governance of the EPO?



  29. In Australia the Productivity Commission Decides/Guides Patent Law

    IP Australia, the patent office of Australia, considers abolishing "innovation patents" but has not done so yet (pending consultation)



  30. Fishy Things Noticed Ahead of the Passage of a Lot of EPO Budget (Applicants' Money) to Battistelli's Other (and Simultaneous) Employer

    Observations and odd facts regarding the affairs of the council in St Germain; it certainly looks like Battistelli as deputy mayor and the mayor (Arnaud Péricard) are attempting to hide something


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts