09.06.07

OOXML/ISO Watch: Microsoft May Have Broken Antitrust Laws

Posted in Antitrust, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 10:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another antitrust reason for the DoJ’s shopping basket

Andy Updegrove, whose persistent coverage of this topic is admirable, has used subtle language to share his assessment of Microsoft’s OOXML affairs.

Appeals Court Rules that Deceptive Conduct in Standard Setting can Violate Antitrust Laws

While many of us have been preoccupied with the OOXML vote, the rest of the world has naturally been continuing to go about its business. One piece of business that took an interesting turn in the last few days is a ruling by a Federal Appellate Court in the United States that breaks new ground in protecting the integrity of the standard setting system. The ruling may also have relevance to the regrettable conduct witnessed in the recent OOXML vote.

Andy’s calm assessments have also got the attention of the German press, which is not too shy to alienate some large global organisations.

Bloggers like Andy Updegrove, who have been keeping a close eye on the ISO process for some time, have criticised the voting procedure. He complains that the irregularities reported from some countries have cast a shadow over the credibility of the ISO process. For the standards organisation, it is therefore of particular importance to demonstrate the validity and integrity of the final result, otherwise it threatens to damage the whole system. Updegrove also accuses Microsoft of failing to take the time to produce a decent specification in the first place.

There is a nice new assessment of the specification itself [PDF]. One truly needs pass on such information. Complaining about the briberies, the lies, and vote stuffing leads to nothing but distraction from the main issue, which is the large number of deficiencies in OOXML. Here is another technical take whose conclusion is as follows.

Seriously how can anyone even use this specification? I sure wouldn’t save my documents OOXML files.
As a technical person (system administrator) I just can’t believe someone ever thought this would make it as a standard?!?

As you may be aware, our site does not receive many inbound links because of its controversial name and its divisive goals. However, yesterday we received a link from C|Net. It came from Matt Asay’s essay whose headline is “If corrupt, vote for OOXML”. What a wonderful title, which we justified yesterday.

There is no place for corruption in a voting process and once corruption is detected, it absolutely must be addressed. Why should people be furious because no action in taken to reverse the problem or repair the broken system somehow?

Damn I’m infuriated by this. Technical decisions should be based on merit, not on depth of pocket. But now it’s not time to get mad — it’s time to get even.

ITPro has another nice article on the double standards for Microsoft and OOXML.

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