…Only Microsoft and Its Ilk?
“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”
A short while ago an article appeared which stated that academic and non-private bodies in India had all voted “No” to OOXML. We covered the story yesterday.
A bit of digging in the news quickly discovered just what sort of companies actually voted “Yes” to Microsoft’s OOXML.
Take Infosys for example. Infosys voted “Yes” to OOXML. Let’s look at the news just two weeks ago, shall we?
Microsoft, Infosys ‘incubating talent’ to beat attrition blues
Faced with the challenge of finding workers with specialist skills and high levels of attrition, technology firms such as Microsoft Corp.’s India unit and local software company Infosys Technologies Ltd have started what they call efforts at “incubating talent” on an experimental basis.
Is Infosys an impartial voter then. Or one with vested interests?
Let’s move on to another “Yes” vote. Consider Wipro. Just 3 days ago, Wipro published the following press release:
Wipro’s study reveals how migration to Microsoft® SQL Server® Pays Big Dividends for SAP/ERP Customers
Wipro Technologies, the global IT services business of Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT), today announced the results of their study, commissioned by Microsoft Corp., concluding that migrating an SAP ERP system to Microsoft® SQL Server can yield net benefits of $850K for a medium-size organization and $10 million for a large organization, all in a payback period of 9 to 15 months.
Once again, can a company which is paid by Microsoft to conduct ‘studies’ be trusted to objectively decide on international standards, especially where Microsoft’s own proprietary ‘standard’ is involved?
“To sum up, not a single “Yes” voter was not in Microsoft’s pocket.”It’s akin to CompTIA’s ‘studies’ and recent praises of Internet Explorer and Bill Gates. We last mentioned CompTIA just days ago, pointing out the ECMA-CompTIA-Microsoft relationship. They too are helping Microsoft with OOXML. Remember Frost and Sullivan? It all goes back to the issues around corrupted research.
In India, another “Yes” voter was NASSCOM, which we seem to have caught in the middle of a huge scandal (Microsoft ‘charity’). Be sure to read about it if you haven’t.
Another “Yes” vote came from TCS. Go ahead and find the many relationships. To sum up, not a single “Yes” voter was not in Microsoft’s pocket.
Is this voting? Microsoft virtually had 5 seats. It holds them by the money, the mutual favours, the incentives, the personal relationships. Shouldn’t an impartial panel be deciding on OOXML, based on the technical quality of the candidate alone? Remember that Microsoft essentially pays Novell to play nice with OOXML. █
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Gold rush, courtesy of last-minute ‘representatives’
Have a look at these new findings.
We got indications that 2 P-members countries were stuffed with Microsoft Business Partners. Those two countries applied for P membership in late August and voted Yes without any comments. Don’t be surprised if they are out of reach for the European Commission.
Romania was mentioned in a similar context just days ago, but in Pakistan’s and Egypt’s cases it’s not entirely clear when Microsoft’s partners actually joined in. The next post will show why regardless of the time of joining, this is just plainly wrong.
Why would Pakistan and Egypt support OOXML anyway? They get pretty much excluded, or at least discriminated against.
On the positive side, Red Hat appears to have added this new page about ODF. It’s aptly titled “Liberate Your Documents”. █
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“People everywhere love Windows.”
Some time ago we wrote about the collusions involving Microsoft Windows. In a bit of a roundup over at Groklaw it was interesting to find that ongoing class action lawsuits over Windows Vista can teach a thing or two about deliberate deception. We saw plenty of this in Microsoft’s attempt to ‘sell’ OOXML as a standard.
Throughout the past year in particular we saw the frequency of deception peaking. We have heaps of examples documented, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. Lawsuits looming? How about the EU investigation? All of this remains to be seen, but the Commission limits its scope to just stuffing of committees on the face of it. Another set of examples will come in the next post, Pakistan and Egypt being the latest suspects.
Have a look at new ways in which Microsoft’s strives to claim support for OOXML as a standard. Microsoft uses a convenient spin.
For that matter, there is a difference between support for Microsoft Office 2007 and support for OOXML. They are not the same thing, so when OpenOffice.org announces native read and write support for Office 2007 documents, that is all it means. It doesn’t mean OpenOffice.org supports OOXML as a standard. No matter what Microsoft folks try to tell you.
It’s pitiful if the only way to get people to vote for your format is by confusing them with half-truths. Or worse. Misleading people about what is capable of running your software can get you sued, after all.
The same sort of half-truths or even lies by omission Stephane has just written about, referring to Microsoft false claims of backward compatibility. Remember that Microsoft need only fool the managers, who rarely bother to test things for themselves and validate the claims made by the merchant.
So, due to the fragments being just another representation of the binary records, Office 2007 use of XML terminology is absolutely misleading. Press pass filled with the XML acronym all over the place are very appealing to CIOs, however. It is more fair to say it’s angle brackets around complex stuff than actual XML. It that were truly native XML, that would be factored in to maximize the reuse of it across libraries, components and applications. Just like ODF does.
And while Microsoft claims OpenOffice.org’s support for OOXML (which is wrong, never mind Novell's paid-for role), there appears to be another piece of information about Microsoft’s Apache claims.
Stephen McGibbon (MS) says Apache POI would get support for OOXML added, Arnaud Le Hors (IBM) stresses the Apache Foundation does NOT support OOXML and Stephen is fine with that.
Isn’t it funny that all these Microsoft partners start new projects to bring support of OOXML to various open source projects. Sure, people who took a look at the respective code of these myriads of projects were not very much impressed. But at least you get the press headlines. XY adds Open XML support to Emacs, etc. etc
We wrote about Apache yesterday. This is beginning to seem like another classic case that involves putting 'insiders' in positions where they can subvert projects or entire companies, ultimately using these to promote the agenda of an ‘outsider’ company. At times like these it’s important to also remember Microsoft’s invitations to Apache [1, 2, 3].
Topping a lot of this mess, here we have another reaction (astonishment) to Dennis Byron’s wild claims.
Meanwhile, an analyst named Dennis Byron launched a series of startling articles on OOXML. In one, he incredibly railed against Microsoft for “wasting stockholder value” on standards. In another, he launched wild allegations against IBM that are totally at odds with all facts of which I have personal knowledge.
It’s all very depressing, as well as predictable. And it won’t be over until it’s over on March 29. Except, of course, it won’t be over then, either. The battle at then hand will simply be the next battle, as the forces withdraw briefly from the field of this last one while the votes are counted.
We wrote about Dennis Byron a few days ago. It seems like a Rob Enderle wannabe syndrome. █
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Spin it, Ron, spin it
It was pointed out just over a week ago that Novell had become somewhat of a Microsoft advertiser. It does a lot of Microsoft's PR, albeit by proxy, which makes it even more effective and credible. Here is a fine new example of this:
Novell chief: We helped Microsoft be more open
Novell had been struggling financially and failing to make much ground against open-source rival Red Hat. The deal that the company signed with Microsoft, which cost Novell some $40m (£20m), to avoid Suse customers being sued, meant that the two companies would promote each others products. Since then, Novell has realised a significant amount of revenue from being Microsoft’s Linux provider of choice and saw its sales in this area rise by 65 percent in the last quarter.
The article’s inaccuracies make it a tad tedious. To point out a few bit worth correcting/clarifying:
- In reality, Microsoft simply uses Novell to be seen as more open.
- Ron works for a company which claims it does "mixed-source" now. It is by no means a spokesman for anything “open”. One should not confuse Novell with FOSS or OSS.
- Novell massages the figures to fake or embellish growth of its Linux revenue. It would be unwise to blindly quote Novell’s overinflated claims of 65 percent growth in the Linux business.
- Mutual marketing agreements are funny because Microsoft continues to attack GNU/Linux while Novell advertises Windows. In many ways, it’s a one-way relationship and, in a sense, one might say that Hovsepian is Ballmer’s abused wife, who tolerates this mistreatment for cash.
- As for avoiding customers from being sued, the question to ask is: by whom? Novell has already been sued by the patent troll called Acacia, which has several links to Microsoft. The likes of Nathan Myhrvold are also to be watched out for. The protection is pointless at best (foolish morelike because it acknowledges legitimacy of patents), especially if Microsoft can sue by proxy.
The press must stop drinking the Redmond/Waltham Kool-Aid. █
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Don’t support Novell until support is repaired
It would be somewhat impolite to slam Novell amidst their little bash (BrainShare), but the following could hardly escape without comment before the weekend. We already know about workforce reductions at Novell, as well as a staff exodus. So what can one conclude when gaps in Novell’s support services are reported?
Novell customers have hard time finding training
Johnson, a Novell user since 1989, said the migration fit well with his company, which had already started using open source software about a year before Novell’s 2003 decision to move to Linux.
That success, however, has created new problems. Metropolitan Bank Group has trouble finding adequate training for its IT workers in Novell and open source applications. The bank is also often hard-pressed to find qualified workers with adequate technical knowledge of the products.
It was a problem that had many attendees nodding in agreement at the annual Novell Brainshare 2008 conference, which is being held in the US.
Remember that Novell increasingly strives to enter a space where support is king and cash comes from maintenance services. Is SUSE the way to go then? Or might Oracle and Red Hat be better options? █
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“We do NOT want to ship the ’standard’ with Windows because we want to make the native APIs more attractive. We want to evolve the standard APIs rapidly, and not have ISVs [independent software vendors] spending time on something that is cross-platform.”
In spite of the fiasco that we repeatedly mention, Microsoft was unable to simply buy enough votes in India.
Breaking News: India’s Final Vote On MS Office File Standard Is ‘NO’
Sources tell tech2.com that with 13 Against, 1 Abstain and 5 For, the technical committee entrusted with deciding whether Microsoft-backed OXML format will be accepted, has stuck by its earlier decision.
Thanks to our reader ‘CoolGuy’ for the headsup.
As for other encouraging news, Microsoft appears to be getting a good slap on the wrist for the smear campaign which was mentioned yesterday. Thus scandal now appears in the local technology press, as opposed to just one group’s Web page and Groklaw (both reaching a ‘niche’). Judge for yourself.
Standards New Zealand has asked a Microsoft employee to rectify statements made in an email to the Trinidad & Tobago Computing Society about New Zealand OOXML advisor Matthew Holloway.
The emails were sent as standards organisations around the world engage in sometimes heated debate over whether Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format should be accepted as a standard alongside the Open Document Format.
Also from New Zealand, here is a report which exposes Microsoft’s fearful reaction to the situation in the country. Attempts to change votes have not been going as well as Microsoft had hoped.
According to ISO’s own website, it became apparent during its February meeting in Geneva that it was not possible for all comments raised by participating nations to be reviewed individually so a voting procedure to decide the proposed modifications was agreed to.
“A total of 43 resolutions, involving dispositions or groups of dispositions, were accepted, most of them unanimously, some by consensus and only four by simple majority; four were refused.”
InternetNZ executive director Keith Davidson continued, “ODF appears to be the suitable generic international standard. Endorsing another standard such as OOXML could threaten the open and interoperable tenets on which the Internet is built.
“We urge Standards New Zealand and other national standards bodies worldwide to vote against adoption of OOXML.”
Back in September 2007 Andy Updegrove predicted that Microsoft would get its way by stacking committees (basically cheating). He turned out to be overly pessimistic because Microsoft did not get its way, even though it pretended that it did.
Let us hope that the Fast Track process will be rubbished in a matter of days (just over a week left). There is plenty of momentum going for ODF at the moment.
Thank you, India, for a very sober vote.
Microsoft, meet ODF. You are going to have to familiarise yourself with that nice chap, no matter how you feel about product-independent and proper standards which take away your predatory lock-in. █
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