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

08.22.07

ODF/OOXML Watch: Bill Gates Lobbies Behind the Scenes Again, Jason Matusow Deceives (Updated)

Posted in America, Asia, Deception, Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard, SUN at 9:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From “developers, developers, developers” (produce software) to “advertisers, advertisers, advertisers” (market poor products) to “lobbyists, lobbyists, lobbyists” (start cheating)

Yesterday we mentioned the use of large heaps of money in pursuit for standards domination. We also took a look at some of the latest ‘funny business’ around the world. There is a lot more coming at the moment, so let’s break it down into subheadings.

Deception, Deception, Deception

There have been many cases of deception coming from Microsoft recently. In fact, there have been so many that we won’t even bother linking to them (it can all be found in the Open XML archives). We recently mentioned one case of deception from Jason Matusow. He appears to be doing this again, confidentially while those who can rebut are on vacation.

Well, it’s hard to take a vacation, isn’t it? Not only is it styled as “going quiet,” but it offers an opportunity for others to present only part of the story. While much of what Jason writes is accurate, it’s curious what he leaves out – including the fact that not one ballot, but two, have been circulated to the INCITS Executive Board for simultaneous voting.

But wait! It gets worse. Bill Gates is making phonecalls. INCITS has not escaped the wrath of a ruthless billionaire [PDF].

The ‘Retiring’ Man is Secretly Very Busy

For someone who plans his retirement, Mr. Gates seems to be awfully busy. He has been getting around the technical committees, essentially trying to persuade and bend the opinions of those at the very top. It is hardly surprising. Last week we received a report on China.

Microsoft has seemed to be flying high in the Peoples Republic of China lately. Bill Gates spent several days in Beijing earlier this year in meetings with high-level officials, after hosting Chinese President Hu Jintao the spring before at Gate’s own home. And legitimate copies of Microsoft products appear to be at last gaining ground in comparison to pirated copies, albeit at the price of discounting them to almost unimaginable levels (students can now reportedly obtain a Windows/Office bundle for the incredible price of $3). Many credited Microsoft’s pragmatic decision to accept Chinese realities and not insist on having everything its own way.

If you think it was only China, then have a look at this brand-new discovery.

Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote “yes” on ISO standardizing Microsoft’s Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.

Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by one vote to support Microsoft.

Well, well, well. What can one add?

OOXML in Germany

An article in Heise spoke about lobbying from Microsoft as well. Not enough details were available to tell the nature of the lobbying, but judging by what we have seen so far, it is natural to assume that Germany did not make its decision in peace. In fact, Germany became a victim of vendor lockin (in an XML ‘gown’), which it will vote “Yes” on (with comments).

It seems that Germany has fallen in the Microsoft trap to address comments with a Yes vote.

The Plug-in (and Standard) Microsoft Refused to Support

It is hard to forget certain events which seem to be a case of history repeating itself. We are referring to the ODF plug-in from Sun Microsystems. Remember that Microsoft refused to support the international standard and it will be pleased to know that not even Sun was able to properly bridge a gap where Microsoft should have never left a void in the first.

Users regularly cite lack of compatibility with Microsoft Office files as a reason for not using OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org does include Microsoft Office export filters, as well as a number of settings for increased compatibility, but these features provide only good, not complete, compatibility.

The item goes on to discussing the fact that Office has had its ODF functionality and support essentially eliminated.

Look back at what we wrote on Monday about Microsoft’s disregard for international standards. Microsoft hates them, ignores them, and stifles their adoption. It was well demonstrated when Steve Ballmer proudly stated “we are the standard“.

Update: the statement from Germany has finally been translated. Pay attention to the comments as well. There is a lot of suspicious activity going on and Finland will apparently abstain.

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

5 Comments

  1. Andre said,

    August 23, 2007 at 5:26 am

    Gravatar

    They offer a bad deal:
    a) YES vote == current ECMA standard relabeled ISO standard
    b) YES mit comments == current ECMA standard relabeled as ISO standard, and some suggestions
    c) conditional disapproval == current ECMA standard has a change to get improved and technical comments get fixed. Microsoft will need to offer more.
    d) rejection of the standard == no ISO approval, but ECMA standard is here to stay
    No rational player, even when you are a partner of Microsoft or “really want” OOXML’s ISO approval can support options a) and b). No player risks anything except Microsoft. We know that the current ECMA standard is broken, and full of errors. so even when you want OOXML you should disapprove as a matter of negotiation strategy.
    The only explanaition for a YES vote (which is just not rational) is either an “idealistic” agenda to support Microsoft’s monopoly or the existance of other means that compensate your self-interest.
    A Yes or a “Yes with Comments” (which is formally non-existing) is a very bad business decision.

    I feel ashamed of Germany, I really do.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 23, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Gravatar

    Watch the comments in Groklaw and see some of our previous writings on this topic. I suspect there’s a lot more to this story. Germany is among the biggest opposers to monopoly abuse (which is embodied in OOXML), so there must be money or exchange of favours involved.

  3. Sam Hiser said,

    August 23, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Gravatar

    There are no “natural” supporters of OOXML as an ISO standard.

    Quoting the head of the DIN task force (from Jason’s blog)…
    http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/archive/2007/08/22/germany-votes-yes-with-comments.aspx

    The standardization process of Open XML as an ISO standard will start now and result in the technological advancement of both standards – Open XML and ODF 1.0. The comments that were expressed by leading experts from the industry, science, public sector and politics together with the recommendation of the DIN committee, guide the way to interoperability. We will sustainably support this process in the Fraunhofer FOKUS eGovernment Laboratory and, as a member of ECMA International, provide our laboratory partner Microsoft assistance and know-how in implementing the recommendations.

    …note that Microsoft is funding Fraunhofer.

    This is a closed loop: Microsoft OOXML will become a standard — whether on Sept 2 or later, it’s a done deal — because Microsoft owns the committees in most countries.

    All supporters of OOXML are Microsoft partners; that means they are being paid or have business ties to the success of the Microsoft STACK (not just Vista|Office).

    Roy, you are right to focus on the money, but we need more transparency on the influence. More EVIDENCE.

    This is terrible!

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 23, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Apart from the Groklaw comments (some along the lines of “I hope someone took notes in the meeting and will share them anonymously”), there is more to be seen in Andy’s blog (maybe Rob’s as well). Someone began asking if the UN could get involved in antitrust actions.

    Yesterday, Henri Richard left AMD and I suspect it’s because he got tired of fighting a monopoly abuser that broke the law time after time (and always got away with it). I am beginning to be fed up seeing what I see, but the least we can all do is share the story and be the jury in the world that turns a blind eye to misuse and corruption.

    From Rob’s blog (latest):


    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | The tragedy of this is that for so many NB’s, with talented technical
    | committees, the discussion of OOXML has failed to be a technical evaluation,
    | but has quickly become a political game, where committees are stuffed,
    | governments are pressured, billionaires call in favors, competitors blocked
    | from participation, voting rules ignored or modified at whim, etc. All we can
    | do is stand by and watch as Microsoft takes over JTC1. The cost to Microsoft
    | will be great, but so much greater is the cost to JTC1. What will it mean for
    | JTC1′s future to be known as a body that does not follow its own rules, does
    | not evaluate proposals on technical merits, but has procedures so weak and
    | poorly written that it allows itself to be taken over by a single company?
    | Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    `—-

    http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/08/is-it-safe.html

    A Sun blogger was equally frustrated. More on this in a moment. I have heaps of stuff on OOXML, including stories about Microsoft ‘partners’.

  5. Răzvan Sansu said,

    September 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Gravatar

    For all interested people, full detail (technical and non-technical) are here:

    http://www.noooxml.org/
    http://www.robweir.com/blog/
    http://www.noooxml.org/petition/

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

    Links for the day



  2. Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

    Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)



  3. Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

    Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia's role in Microsoft's anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent



  4. More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

    A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive



  5. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  6. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  8. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  9. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  10. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  11. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  12. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  13. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  14. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  16. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  18. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  19. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  20. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  21. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  22. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  23. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  24. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  25. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  26. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  27. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  28. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  29. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  30. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day


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