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09.04.07

You Lose, You Lie

Posted in Deception, Formats, ISO, Open XML, Standard at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Win or lose, Microsoft always claims a win

This you will not believe (unless you have read about it already). After Microsoft was caught lying deliberately in order to confuse voters-to-be, Microsoft lies about an unfavorable outcome as well.

To avoid confusion, let’s set a few things straight. OOXML was defeated in the ISO. There is no doubt about this. It’s an objective thing. It’s a fact. As Andy Updegrove puts it:

I have now seen the official vote tally, and confirmed that the vote failed both tests for approval…

Not only that, but Microsoft has plenty of barriers ahead.

So what next? In short, Microsoft has some 10,000 comments to deal with ahead of he ballot resolution meeting in February.

Be it resolved that Microsoft is in a very uncomfortable situation now. fast-tracking is history. Gone. Microsoft will now need to take the hard route where profound analysis of OOXML is likely to shred it to pieces.

What does Microsoft do? Never underestimate the power of their spin doctors:

Microsoft Loses, Spins Open XML Vote

ISO issued a statement that makes plain what Microsoft tried to spin as a victory.

Watch what Joe Wilcox says.

Apparently, there is more than one way to stuff the ballot box.

In all my years working as a journalist, I’ve never seen any technology company spin information the way Microsoft did today. The press release on OOXML ratification is a blueprint for spinning semantics, and the stringing together of truths and half-truths to seemingly make the outcome of one event something else altogether.

This is terrible. Look!!! The press is buying it. It gets fed disinformation, which it then passes on.

Microsoft lost its effort to win “fast track” approval of its OOXML (which it calls Open XML) as an international standard, but you wouldn’t know that from reading much of the press coverage.

* Microsoft claims global support for Open XML.
* Microsoft reports victory in preliminary ISO ballot.
* Microsoft takes big step toward OOXML approval.
* Microsoft is seen winning an international standard vote.
* Strong global support for Open XML.

Yes, these are the headlines that people are seeing. More people do not read ODF/OOXML blogs. Some of them will get the impression that Microsoft Office (AKA OOXML) is now an international standard. Groklaw says more about thise issue and it even adds its own take on small nations whose voting status suddenly changed. These nations probably received a request from Microsoft to send an E-mail to the ISO at the last minute.

The 11 new P signups, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela, all voted to approve or approve with comments, except for Ecuador, which disapproved, and Trinidad and Tobago which abstained. What about the O members? Almost to a man, they voted to approve. What an amazing coincidence.

The numero uno Microsoft Watcher, Mary Jo Foley, is very unimpressed. She gives reasons to support her opinion that Microsoft deserved to lose.

1. Lobbying is legal. But certain lobbying tactics are not. Microsoft officials admitted that one of the company’s employees behaved inappropriately in Sweden…

Bill Beebe uses the whole OOXML fiasco as a reason for government regulators to get their act together and carry on with antitrust.

No kidding. Microsoft continues to steam-roll the competition, as illustrated by its latest attempt to ram acceptance of OOXML through ISO by the blatantly rigging the vote.

As usual, Rob Weir unleashed another brilliant post which says that Microsoft has mastered the art of hacking the ISO.

It is also interesting to correlate the votes against Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The “old guard” JTC1 membership has an average score of 6.6 (higher is better), while the “rejuvenated” newcomers have an average score of 3.7.

I suppose that no one should be surprised that Microsoft, which has been stuffing committees at the national level throughout this ballot, would also attempt the same at the JTC1 level. From what I have been able to determine, NB’s, never having sat in a single JTC1 meeting and never having joined a single JTC1 technical committee, were able join as a P-members, in the last hours of the OOXML ballot, simply by sending an email to ISO. This apparently did not help Microsoft win approval for OOXML. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on other JTC1 activities.

1. First they ignore the opposition
2. Then they use lies to counter the opposition
3. Then they fight the opposition using bribery, vote-stuffing tricks, etc.
4. Then, when they lose, they claim victory (lying again, as in point (2))

Other news headlines worth mentioning:

It’s Final and Official: ODF is the Only ISO Standard (Updated)

Posted in Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So there you have it. Bribery, corruption, and deception do not always pay off.

It is a good day for ODF. Many thanks to Pam, Rob, Bob, Andy, Pieter, and many thousands of others who actively fought against the approval of proprietary formats as a standard, i.e. making a monopoly legitimate.

Spread ODF

Meanwhile, Groklaw has this mind-boggling piece.

If you read French, here is AFNOR’s very intriguing suggestion, that OOXML and ODF merge.

Update: watch the comments. We were urged to clarify that ODF remains the only ISO standard of this kind for the time being. The only thing here which is final is the decision made at this stage. This needed clarification because of disinformation (caused by a horrible press release from Microsoft).

Quickie: OOXML May Have Already Lost the Battle for ISO Approval (Updated)

Posted in Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch these charts and have a glance at Andy’s forecast. Opposition to OOXML — motivated by freedom and consumers’ benefit — may have just earned some bragging rights for being victorious, but it’s too early to say anything with enough certainty.

“…it’s too early to say anything with enough certainty”Who wouldn’t love to trust these analyses? Knowing Microsoft’s ethics, however, they might pull something out of their sleeve at the 90th minute. Remember Massachusetts? Andy saw it being bullied to the ground by the Microsoft Money Machine(R) even after it had found liberty (Massachusetts chose ODF).

One protester in Digg has just appeared out of the blue. He or she keeps posting the same message over and over again very aggressively and stubbornly. It’s worth quoting here because that person really wishes to be heard.

Win or lose, Microsoft’s manipulation of the ISO standards process has opened eyes and drawn attention at a level they could never have imagined. Hopefully pressure from not just standards bodies, but (even more importantly) business managers and individual users who are completely fed up with having their data locked into formats that only one vendor can properly read and write will finally free us all of this insane inability to truly take our files to whatever company has the best value software, not the one we have to live with because we’re stuck with them.

It’s OUR data Microsoft! Not YOURS! Just because you can get some country like Equatorial Kundu to upgrade from “Observer” to “Participating” status 15 minutes before the ISO votes and stuff the ballot box we’re not going to give up control of our “data destiny” to you! I can’t tell you how much I miss the old Microsoft. The one that used to be so confident that their products were better than Lotus, or WordPerfect, or whatever that they knew they’d win in the market on FEATURES alone! Now you’re just a shivering shadow of your former self, depending on “data lock-in” to maintain market share, not real innovation. Don’t stoop to these pathetic manipulative methods. Return to Greatness Microsoft!

Update: is it all over for OOXML (for now)?

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