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03.27.08

Bill Gates Makes Phonecalls Again (Politics for Derailing ODF)

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 10:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The man in a sweater isn’t as innocent as his media will have you believe

There are so many reports from so many countries and it’s virtually impossible to keep up. We have just received some updates from Finland. More information from and about Finland you will find below (for the sake of context). It’s sorted reverse-chronologically, so you can follow the links and go back in time. There are loads of stories.

  1. Suvi Lindén and Finland’s Role at the OOXML BRM
  2. Nokia and Finland: A Mystery Behind OOXML and Silverlight
  3. Bill Gates Invades the Land of Linus, Uses Dumping Techniques
  4. Losing Your Job for Opposing a Monopoly Abuser? (Lassi Nirhamo)
  5. Finland and New Zealand’s Fight Against Vendor Lockin; IBM Set to Release Lotus 8 with ODF Support on Friday

“Who could ever forget the recent sentimental blackmail and scare tactics?”Groklaw receives many reports at the moment and bloggers contribute ‘inside information’ as well. Particularly interesting was the story about Bill Gates. Reportedly, he is once again phoning high-level figures (even a president) in order to change or influence the final outcome. This is far from the first time and by no means an isolated incident (it’s all documented). Who could ever forget the recent sentimental blackmail and scare tactics?

Poland, as we wrote less than a week ago, ought to have reported irregularities to the EU Commission and it eventually did. You’ll find some information in Groklaw.

And more news from troubled Poland, with news that the EU Commission is investigating the process in that country. Things have reportedly gone from bad to worse there, with threats of lawsuits in the air if folks talk publicly about what is happening.

[...]

Get a load of this, will you? Participants at the BRM were told that only technical issues can be addressed. Bill Gates, however, reportedly contacted the president of Mexico to try to influence Mexico to accept OOXML. Unless, of course, they were talking about representing dates in Excel or other technical issues. Hardy har. Like, totally. I’m sure.

This article as a whole is a recommended read. It sheds light on the high level of manipulation, which brings to mind again the following important quote from an ISO Convenor who fled. Here is his explanation, which is worth repeating endlessly:

“This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”

Martin Bryan, ISO ‘Escapee’
Formerly Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1

GNOME imageThis may turn out to be an extremely busy day. It’s the last working/business day before everything is finalised. Regardless of the outcome, evidence needs to be gathered. If you find something of interest, please share it here. The European Commission studies the abuses. Other continents or countries might join this investigation later.

As someone said in a forum just a few moments ago, Microsoft is likely to regret going as far as it has. Many countries are left exceptionally pissed off, and rightly so. One company has single-handedly betrayed not only trust in standards bodies, but also in local administrations who were tempted by money and pressure. Microsoft made a mockery of the whole system.

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