11.25.07

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OOXML Muscling Its Way Through German Politics

Posted in Europe, Finance, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Money makes the world go round”

We recently stated that Microsoft’s dirty OOXML tricks (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) have returned. We mentioned a new example from Portugal. This activity persists on a more global scale, however, and it has reached Germany as well. Here are a couple of the latest reports:

Microsoft sponsors DIN conference

An american company sponsors a lobby event for its Open XML format which is organised by the German standard body and takes place in a German ministry. Public officials and German rent-a-scientists join to listen to Microsoft and Bitkom.

Bundesfinanzhof wants less Microsoft

It seems the Bundesfinanzhof still has a lot of work to do if lawfirms from oversees get contracted by our federal administration. Microsoft lobbyists should not draft German procurement policies or interpret them legally.

This appears like the beginning of something that we have seen before and covered in this Web site. For completeness, here are a few more stories from Germany, accumulated throughout the past year.

It looks like Germany is the new Portugal, actually. You do remember how in Portugal IBM and Sun were not allowed in the room because it was allegedly “too small” despite having empty chairs? Well, in Germany, Google and Deutsche Telekom were allowed in the room but were not allowed to vote, heise says.

Microsoft maintains that while it would have been easy to support the Open Document Format (ODF) natively, it had to move to MS-OOXML because this was the only way for them to offer the full features of its office suite. But if Microsoft itself is not able to represent its internal data structures in the Open Document Format (ODF) in its Microsoft Office suite, how could an external conversion program from MS-OOXML accomplish this task? The answer to both questions is that it is not possible because two things cannot be the same and different at the same time.

Ballmer’s assertion must be viewed as the typical Microsoft approach to alienate the market by spreading rumors or threats”, said the official representative of the Linux related companies in Germany in a statement made in Berlin on November 27th 2006. “This is obviously part of a PR campaign related to the market launch of Windows Vista….If Microsoft cannot show evidence to support their claims, then they are outside the boundaries of German competition regulations. We call upon Microsoft to either prove their case, or to refrain from making such unfounded statements. Furthermore, we call upon European Politicians to protect open competition in Europe. In particular, small and mid sized companies, which form the majority of European Linux service providers, need to be protected from tedious legal disputes resulting from pretended assertions of Microsoft.

He said Redmond was forcing increasing restrictions on its German subsidiary and ignoring local requirements.

A lot more OOXML lobbying and manipulation is yet to come, so let’s keep an eye open.

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