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. Why the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Cannot Ignore Judges, Whereas the EPO Can (and Does)

    The European Patent Convention (EPC) ceased to matter, judges' interpretation of it no longer matters either; the EPO exploits this to grant hundreds of thousands of dodgy software patents, then trumpet "growth"



  2. The European Patent Office Needs to Put Lives Before Profits

    Patents that pertain to health have always posed an ethical dilemma; the EPO apparently tackled this dilemma by altogether ignoring the rights and needs of patients (in favour of large corporations that benefit financially from poor people's mortality)



  3. “Criminal Organisation”

    Brazil's ex-President, Temer, is arrested (like other former presidents of Brazil); will the EPO's ex-President Battistelli ever be arrested (now that he lacks diplomatic immunity and hides at CEIPI)?



  4. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  5. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  6. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  7. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  8. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  9. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  10. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  11. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  12. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  13. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  16. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  17. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  18. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  19. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  20. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  21. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  22. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day



  23. The EPO and the USPTO Are Granting Fake Patents on Software, Knowing That Courts Would Reject These

    Office management encourages applicants to send over patent applications that are laughable while depriving examiners the freedom and the time they need to reject these; it means that loads of bogus patents are being granted, enshrined as weapons that trolls can use to extort small companies outside the courtroom



  24. CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for 'Community', Not Microsoft

    After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the "Linux Foundation" (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as "community"



  25. Links 14/3/2019: GNOME 3.32 and Mesa 19.0.0 Released

    Links for the day



  26. EPO 'Results' Are, As Usual, Not Measured Correctly

    The supranational monopoly, a monopoly-granting authority, is being used by António Campinos to grant an insane amount of monopolies whose merit is dubious and whose impact on Europe will be a net negative



  27. Good News Everyone! UPC Ready to Go... in 2015!

    Benoît Battistelli is no longer in Office and his fantasy (patent lawyers' fantasy) is as elusive as ever; Team UPC is trying to associate opposition to UPC with the far right (AfD) once again



  28. Links 13/3/2019: Plasma 5.15.3,Chrome 73 and Many LF Press Releases

    Links for the day



  29. In the Age of Trumpism EFF Needs to Repeatedly Remind Director Iancu That He is Not a Judge and He Cannot Ignore the Courts

    The nonchalance and carelessness seen in Iancu's decision to just cherry-pick decisions/outcomes (basically ignoring caselaw) concerns technologists, who rightly view him as a 'mole' of the litigation 'industry' (which he came from)



  30. Links 12/3/2019: Sway 1.0 Released, Debian Feuds Carry On

    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