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03.30.08

Microsoft’s Latest OOXML Corruptions in Germany, Croatia, Norway

Posted in Europe, Formats, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML at 12:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OOXML is fraud

Get a load of Groklaw’s most recent report. Wow. Just wow. Who is Microsoft kidding and is anyone still surprised that multiple investigations are being launched to study the many abuses?

If Microsoft gets this OOXML format “approved”, it will be by irregularities in the voting, it seems. Here’s more on what happened in Germany and a report on what is being called a scandal in Norway. And another odd process in Croatia.

If you can read German, here’s the story on what happened there. For those who can’t, when they went to vote, they were not allowed to vote disapprove, so the choice was to approve or to abstain. It was a tie, 6:6, which means no consensus. So under the rules I’ve read, that would have meant that they should send a vote of Abstain.

But surprise, surprise!! A solution helpful to Microsoft: the representative from DIN decided to cast a vote, which isn’t the process. DIN isn’t supposed to vote, because it’s supposed to advise. But this, they rationalized, was a vote not about whether to accept OOXML on the basis of *technical* issues, but whether to accept the approval suggestion of the technical committee. So DIN voted to accept DIN’s suggestion. Hence Germany ends up in the Approve column. I know. No doubt there will be objections filed.

Norway’s at least as bad. Here’s an article from Norway, and the translation of the title of the article is, “Scandal in Standards Norway. I didn’t write that headline. They did. And here’s why. The article says there should be an investigation of the irregularities there, because while there were only two votes to approve, from Microsoft and a business partner, Statoilhydro, and all the others voted no, 21 votes, they approved anyway. Here’s how they shuffled the deck in Norway. So they put everyone out of the room, and Standards Norway, three people were left in the room, and they usurped the decision and made it their business to decide to approve anyway.

Unbelievable. If it was happening in only one country, you might think it was local difficulties. But when it happens in place after place, one can only conclude that Microsoft, although outnumbered in a fair vote, has sufficient clout behind the scenes to shove this format into the world’s mouth and hold its mouth closed by force until the world is compelled to swallow. Remember that Microsoft memo that surfaced in the Comes v. Microsoft litigation? The one about how to stack a panel discussion at conferences so it would be favorable to Microsoft? The key was to get to be the moderator.

One thing is certain. Unless ISO steps up and fixes this mess, it will lose the world’s respect, and rightly so. Either the rules mean something, or they don’t, but if they don’t standards don’t mean anything either.

Groklaw contains many pointers to back with evidence. Further to this, consider the following set of posts (ordered by precedence).

Germany:

Norway:

Croatia:

There are several more posts and summaries which can be found by following the links or searching the Web site.

Andy Updegrove keeps track of the votes, but regardless of the outcome, antitrust issues, The European Commission and several other factors are likely to stand in the way. We shall see what ‘propaganda’ Microsoft unleashes regardless of ethical/legal breaches, probably using a one-sided press release that surely mentions none of the abuse. We saw that in September, despite the fact they had lost.

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27 Comments

  1. LinuxIsFun said,

    March 30, 2008 at 1:11 am

    Gravatar

    Whats the use of investigations, the crime has already been committed. They will just pay the money and get away with it again.

    There is nothing called Interoperability in Microsoft world.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Gravatar

    This may be true, but the “Microsoft” brand has sunk like no other brand, partly because of incidents such as these.

  3. SubSonica said,

    March 30, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Gravatar

    This is comment sumarises the fundamental roots of the problem and why Microsoft is fighting to death for the ISO approval: They are fighting for survival here, don’t forget it: as described by a commenter in groklaw (remember I always argument that OOXML is one of the two fundamental pillars of Microsoft curresnt strategy to mantain their monopoly lock-in over the whole IT business and environment, the other being software patents, of wich there are plentiful in OOXML:
    http://www.noooxml.org/patents):

    OOXML Vote: Irregularities in Germany & Croatia and a Call for an Investigation of Norway
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 29 2008 @ 03:08 PM EDT
    They don’t need it to. If they get their standard, and then the EU courts bash

    them down two years later, they don’t care. They’ll pay a $100 million fine
    and go on their merry way, because they’ll have:

    1) Secured Office’s monopoly for another 5 years at least.
    2) Have destroyed the ISO’s credibility and the credibility of standards
    processes everywhere.

    (1) is the obvious money-maker for them: A continuation of the Office
    monopoly means that they can spend several years trying to innovate while
    OpenOffice and the rest spend their time trying to get decent OOXML
    compatibility (which is essentially a lost cause). A few years from now, when
    OpenOffice has that compatibility (to some degree), Office14 or 15 will be
    out.

    (2) is also a major coup for them. If people stop trusting standards bodies,
    then Microsoft wins. Standards break lock-ins, so Microsoft would love to
    damage ISO’s credibility. Doing so also hurts W3C and other standards
    groups by association.

    However, if Microsoft loses and this goes to the normal track, they’ll be in
    trouble, because they’ll have won a lot of ill will, and this’ll be moving along

    that track when the EU catches up with them.

  4. LinuxIsFun said,

    March 30, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Gravatar

    Even google is no better. All their software is closed source (talk, desktop search…)

    All their search algorithms are closed and patented.

    But they are much better than Microsoft. They don’t go about damaging the eco-system like microsoft. Atleast they follow and add to the standards in a better and a responsible way.

    Microsoft wont last too long. They are just a bully.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Gravatar

    SubSonica,

    It’s a very pessimistic view. Microsoft won’t last that long as a dominant company.

  6. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Gravatar

    Bah, this is utter BS, in Norway OOXML won because it got 2 out of 23 votes… and unless there are unannounced surprises, OOXML will get the approval by exactly ONE vote! This means that if any of those latest P countries who suddenly changed their vote to approval didn’t do it OOXML would fail. Thanks Norway standards, fuck you.

    Although Norway is the worst case, I can’t think of a single of the P members that changed their decision to YES to have actually based it on, at the very least, a decent vote. Money can definitely buy you international standards, I am now unable to even think of something money can’t buy…

  7. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Gravatar

    I am now unable to even think of something money can’t buy…

    - Life
    - Peaceful sleep
    - Happiness

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Gravatar

    Victor, this is not over yet. Microsoft’s aggression will cost it a lot and if you stick around and help us gather evidence, more justice will be served.

    The important news and the good news is that we were able not only to see but also to show just how corrupt this whole process has been. While Murdoch’s Cathedral is unlikely to publish anything about the abuses, it’s not the general public that matters as much as the CIOs, many of whom have become familiar with this debacle and some of whom have sworn to no longer deal with Microsoft. Keep on bringing out truth and trust the regulators who will do their thing. It’s their job. There’s no room for bitterness if it only becomes a distraction and an emotional provocation.

  9. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Gravatar

    What does Bill Gates or Microsoft achive by doing all this ??

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Gravatar

    The next generation of lockin. Lock-in 2.0. It involves a new seemingly open stack that contains XAML, OOXML, XPS, REST, etc. It also forms the basis for a software patent strategy, its main target being the GPL.

  11. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Gravatar

    Regarding not over yet : http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=504276&cid=22906868

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Gravatar

    More promising IMO would be to file an appeal on the grounds of the WTO GPA (Government Procurement Agreement) and/or antitrust considerations, and at the same time file a lawsuit seeking a court order against ISO and IEC that the appeal shall be granted.

    Brilliant, if true (and if it materialises).

  13. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    Only thing that m$ has been successful previously is at Windows OS. They were lucky to have no competition in that market.

    That is soon ending with Mac OS and Linux.

  14. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Gravatar

    I think Groklaw should take this up !!

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Gravatar

    What about Office (Windows integration/bundling being a crucial part of it)?

    “I am convinced we have to use Windows – this is the one thing they don’t have. We have to be competitive with features, but we need something more — Windows integration.”

    Jim Allchin, Microsoft

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Gravatar

    Antitrust challenge?

  17. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Gravatar

    They are able to such a over price boltware office suite is only because of Windows platform lock they have.

    Remove windows and their entire house of cards falls apart.

  18. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Gravatar

    it’s quite the opposite, I think. Remove the Office cash cow (or introduce ODF) and the Windows monopoly falls apart. It’s Office that keeps many people locked in, despite Wine.

  19. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Gravatar

    DirectX also comes into into picture. Gamers cannot switch since most of the games are Windows only. Everything is so tightly integrate…

    I suppose it all starts with Windows and then goes upwards..Windows is the base of all. The core is windows. Bottom to top integration…

    Major monopolies are the ones who own the entire chain…its very hard to compete with them. The ones who are at the bottom of this process…are the real rulers. Think about it…they control everything that builds upon them.

    Intel -> hardware. They own the entire consumer CPU business or most of it.

  20. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Gravatar

    My predictions in 5 years :

    Windows 7 or whatever that comes out after some 5 years is going to suck even more…

    Apple is going to have 50% desktop market share.

    Linux is going to have 30% in desktop and will own most of the server with BSD variants and more than 50% of mobile.

    Windows will be like 20% and going downhill.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Gravatar

    Intel is very dominant in desktops and laptops with x86, but bear in mind that it account for less than 2% of all the CPUs. ARM has a far larger share.

  22. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Windows 7 or whatever that comes out after some 5 years is going to suck even more…

    It already looks very grim and I will gladly write a post about this, along with compelling proof if you wish.

    Windows will be like 20% and going downhill.

    The tipping point is Microsoft’s financial problems, but it’s hard to predict where it goes from there. Politics (and by their very nature — corruption) will play a role also. I think that sites like Groklaw and ever-growing bodies like the FSF will play an increasing role in this.

  23. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Gravatar

    I am worried that after RMS the FSF will get sold out like the OSI by the insiders. See how they did it with OOXML and every other thing. Money is a very strong motivating factor.

    People running the FSF will be bought and broken by M$. Its only because of RMS the FSF is working. Without him its hard to see where FSF will go…

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Have you got any evidence to justify this concern? I know of nobody in the FSF who sympathises with Microsoft. Moglen visited Redmond for the benefit of Samba developers, but he is far, far from being a fan or an apologist, As for Stallman, he can be trusted for good. You can’t fool him.

  25. CoolGuy said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Gravatar

    All though there are good people in the OSI/FSF but the bad ones are far more and they will control the direction. The good ones will simply be out numbered.

    See the ISO. Although there are lot of credible people in the ISO they couldn’t do a thing and just kept watching how ISO was mauled by Microsoft right in front of their eyes.

    See how its happening in Gnome also. And how frustrated we are that we cant do a thing about it…same things are going to happen at FSF I guess…

    Check Matt. No one could stop him from inviting M$ to the the OSBC.

    Place a few wrong people in the board and then they take the entire thing down along with them.

  26. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, that rule applies to several companies which immediately come to mind as recent examples: Google, Yahoo, Nokia, Vodafone, XenSource, Novell…

    It’s hard to watch in which direction staff is moving and who is having lunch with whom.

  27. Victor Soliz said,

    March 30, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Games don’t matter, I am a PC gamer and all but really, most gamers are console gamers and most PC gamers are casual gamers, the guys depending so hard on the latest PC 3d games are a minority . And they also fall within the teen geek category so they can really deal with WINE.

    The FSF is the FSF I doubt they would sell out. As a matter of fact OSI didn’t either, sure they approved MS’ lame licenses but that comes from MS yet again gaming the system, the OSI was unable to give a good reason not to approve the lame licenses, and this is mostly a problem the “open source” definition got from the start, rather than OSI deciding to sell out.

    At least we later heard from OSI about how MS’ open source and protection is bollocks and their public statement against OOXML.

    -
    MS can buy a lot of people, but think to yourself, has the MS opposition been reduced? Ever since the Novell deal I am noticing that there’s more and more opposition, and for every person MS buys there enter two guys who wouldn’t let MS come out. It is amazing how we currently are full of information about how MS got its votes that it is impossible for MS to escape a negative opinion, just take a look at their brand perception.

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