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05.31.08

Another Backlash Against Microsoft in Denmark; Anger Over Microsoft Office Lock-in

Posted in Africa, ECMA, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Formal complaint and familiar old patterns

flickr:2400443777

This could not come at a more appropriate time. Nigerians, as opposed to just the European Commissioners and observant people in the west, are hopefully seeing this. They ought to realise that there is another way.

Nigeria: Microsoft to Pacify Critics of Office

Microsoft has attempted to appease critics who claim the software company is abusing its dominant market position by detailing plans to improve the way its flagship Office product works with non-Microsoft applications.

The word (not “Word”) keeps spreading and it hopefully shows just how misjudged it was to sink OOXML down ISO’s throat (with more yet to come. At the moment, to paraphrase Groklaw, OOXML seems to be in a bit of limbo. There is a degree of uncertainty. Complaints have come from India, Brazil and South Africa (maybe more to be announced past the deadline). But wait! That’s not all.

Under many people’s noses, due to difference in terms of granularity (scale of a nation), one Danish group called OSL complained to ISO as well but almost nobody noticed.

No, it is not the Danish Standards body but OSL.dk that complains about OOXML standardization. Morten Kjærsgaard from OSL has filed a complaint directed to the ISO Vice Jacob Holmblad. Holmblad is also managing director of Dansk Standard.

As you may know by now, there’s quite a bit of trouble for OOXML in Denmark. We covered this earlier in the month [1, 2, 3]. More details about the abuses in Denmark can be found here. The latest complaint you can download/read here [PDF].

Can you remember the following statement from Microsoft?

“It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

This tactlessness sure seems to be backfiring at the moment.

Uncertainty dogs Office 2007 file formats

Microsoft’s Office 2007 productivity suite is now seeing growth in take-up from business customers, but document file compatibility remains a difficult hurdle to overcome, especially as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) ratification of Microsoft’s XML file formats is likely to introduce changes to them in the near future.

At the end of the day, OOXML offers neither compatibility not interoperability. Not even different versions of Microsoft Office play nice with each other. It’s just another proprietary format — a binary wolf in XML sheep clothing if you like.

Going back to Groklaw’s terminology, if OOXML is in a limbo, then it’s because OOXML is an 8,000-page-thick bimbo. And that’s just not acceptable.

The Nightmare

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