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04.09.08

Microsoft May be Threatening ODF-Supportive Governments, by Proxy

Posted in Antitrust, ECMA, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bully, bully, bully

Groklaw calls it "slime, slime, slime," but what it truly might be is a simple case of bullying and intimidation. We saw this in Malaysia and days some ago we saw this India (heaps of similar examples are cited therein, including the story about jilted CIOs).

It doesn’t quite stop there. There may be a new examples to consider here, thanks to some research from zoobab.

Several days ago we showed that large European governments turn their backs on OOXML, not neglecting to cite investigations of Microsoft’s dirty tricks in places. Out comes the Microsoft lobbyist Jan van den Beld, one of the more revolting examples of shilling for OOXML (paid for by Microsoft, by association). More information about him you will find in:

Here is his latest:

Microsoft lobbyist using TBT for legal threats

Jan van den Beld, who was promoting OpenXML at the Geneva BRM for CompTIA, a well know Microsoft lobby group, is using the Technical Barriers to Trade WTO treaty for legal threats to governments:

He also advised governments against mandating just one electronic document standard as it may run foul of World Trade Organization policies and open themselves to possible legal challenges. “One of the big concerns of WTO is that you should not use standards as a barrier to trade,” he said.

“If a government enforces [use of just one standard], that would mean the whole country is not allowed to use OpenXML. Then, they could get into a very difficult legal situation as they can be challenged legally,” opinioned van den Beld.

Remember that Microsoft has been pretending that OOXML is about more choice while at the same time it actively discouraging vendors from implementing ODF support and it also refusing to properly support ODF. It does so while expecting others (even paying them) to promote OOXML at ODF’s expense, thereby demoting interoperability and essentially buying lock-in.

This allergy Microsoft has for real choice gets a mention in this old blog post. [via Groklaw]

So, Brian, do you really care about choice? Prove it to me. Instead of a halfway-functional plug-in that has to be searched out and downloaded, have your team write fully-native ODF support and download it as an automatic update to Office XP (2002) and later. Make sure that it is placed as an equal peer with OOXML in your “Save As” dialog. And take all of these secret quirks (do this the way Word 95 did) and plainly specify what was done, then issue a pledge that everything necessary to implement OOXML in any application whatsoever is perpetually guaranteed to be free for anyone to implement in any way they wish at any time, whether they use Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD, or some home-brewed system they cooked up themselves.

Or maybe you are afraid of something…

This was written a long time before Microsoft officially made OOXML incompatible with the GNU GPL, its number one competitive threat.

“I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux [...] they should do a delicate dance”

Joachim Kempin, Microsoft’s OEM Chief at the time

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