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Week of Corruptions :: Day 5 (Closing Day) :: Microsoft Deceives the Press

Posted in Deception, ECMA, Formats, Microsoft, Open XML at 12:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When Microsoft lost its opportunity back in September, many people were losing it. Not because Microsoft had lost (which was good news indeed), but because it deceived in the most horrible of ways and led to highly misleading and self-promotional press coverage. Here again is the main post covering this incident.

You Lose, You Lie

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:

Microsoft proved that day that it never shies away from lying (while calling it “spin”). It is something for the delegates in Geneva to bear in mind. This is a pattern that we documented.

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  1. CoolGuy said,

    February 29, 2008 at 1:06 am


    NO more OOSHITML anymore !!!

    Ya !!!!!!

    This made my day !!!

  2. CoolGuy said,

    February 29, 2008 at 5:14 am


    This means the cash cow (ms office) has been burned and abused to death by now…

    Finally freedom from MS Office for everyone !

    Enjoy !!!!

    I hear a lot of chair throwing going on at redmond lately and this is going to worse….

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 29, 2008 at 5:20 am


    I am going to write about Microsoft’s financial fears shortly. Glyn has already done so:

    Why Microsoft’s New EU Fine is Just Fine

    That would be bad enough, but on top of that, Microsoft will, for the first time, be taking on a huge amount of debt to help pay for Yahoo if the acquisition goes through. So as well as a hugely-stressed and possibly warring management structure, Microsoft will also have to cope with interest payments on its debt, which will need to be funded out of earnings. In addition, those earnings have to rise pretty steeply to justify the whole Yahoo adventure, or shareholders will start to express their dissatisfaction.

    Against this background, the last thing Microsoft needs is fines. Remember that we are not in fact talking about “just” €899 million here: as the EU commissioner Neelie Kroes noted during the press conference announcing the latest fine, the cumulative amount that Microsoft must pay the EU is €1.6767 billion. The fact of the matter is that if the Yahoo deal goes through, Microsoft will be strapped for cash, and paying out over one and half billion euros for “nothing” will hurt.

    Google and the EU (i.e. comeback for Microsoft’s well-documented misconduct) are bound to knock them over the edge of the cliff, but I reckon the company will evolve to become a patent troll, so we must prepare.

  4. CoolGuy said,

    February 29, 2008 at 5:31 am


    They deserved it. They have ruined the tech industry – look at how many companies it bought to shut it down since it couldnt compete with them on technical grounds. How many countless hours of man power wasted in fixing those stupid Win boxes (malware, virus, broken IE standards, etc…) to make them work.

    The tech industry is better off without them.

    This is going to get worse day by day.

    A world without microsoft..that would a better place.

    Richard Stallman : I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without patents and DRM, without licenses or vendor- lockins. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

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