“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”
–Microsoft, internal document
As we showed before, all those who voted in favour of OOXML in India were either from Microsoft or from Microsoft allies. Later on, other reporters made similar (and probably independent) observations. At least 3 of Microsoft’s business partners which are responsible for this mess will have seen the following open letter at some point in the future.
This letter is to express our deep disappointment over your open support to the OOXML format forced through ISO by Microsoft. Being the top IT giants and thus the representatives of the IT industry in the country, it is a great shock to us that you do not stand with academia of the country and its representatives like the IITs, IIMs and IISc in supporting the Open Document Format (ODF) which is a true Free and Open Standard already recognised as an ISO Standard. Considering that a major portion of your employees come from such institutions, it is a wonder to us that you have decided to go ahead with this decisions.
The letter addresses Wipro, Infosys and TCS, but it neglects to mention NASSCOM. We actually wrote about it here and the key bits are as follows, captured only a week before the vote back in September. Added highlights are ours, for the sake of selective emphasis.
Microsoft to Boost Charity in India
The software donation will be routed through a technology assistance program that India’s NASSCOM Foundation is offering in partnership with TechSoup, a San Francisco-based group that partners in charity work with companies like Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Symantec.
Nearly 35,000 nonprofit groups in India will be eligible for such software donations.
Later we put some of the pieces together with several reports such as this one:
Of course, there has to be some trade-offs, because there should never be free lunch, even for the ones who starve: Microsoft, according to this article, has conditioned its help to Indian NGOs to their support of OOXML. What the NGOs had to do was to send letters of support on OOXML to the federal government of India.
It is worth adding that the chairperson in India appears to be abused by Microsoft at the moment. In case Microsoft sees ISO's decision retracted, it wishes to ensure that it can secure (or scare) as many nations as possible.
That’s just how it typically goes. Like a bully, it’s usually a case of choosing small and frail targets (individuals, not companies or governments), then doing what they call “the Slog” (see quote at the top again). █