EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


ISO and Microsoft: The Corruption Resumes

Posted in Free/Libre Software, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008


e wrote about this yesterday and the day before that. It continues to escalate and blow up in ISO’s face like bubblegum. First of all, get a load of this ISO leak from WikiLeaks (alluded to before).

An internal document of the International Standards Organization (ISO) that found its way late last week on to the Wikileaks whistle-blower platform raises further questions about the choice of a fast-track certification for Microsoft’s OOXML document format. The paper, by Joint Technical Committee No. 1 (JTC 1) of the Geneva standards organization, which dates back to July 2007, says the fast track procedure chosen for certifying Microsoft’s document format is only intended for the acceptance of unaltered standards and that a standard not accepted in its original form, while not to be regarded as “2nd class” or illegitimate, should be put through the normal five-stage standardisation process, should necessary corrections be identified in advance. The fast-track process, it says, is intended for making changes to an original draft.

ISO is likely to just ignore the existence of this serious leak, just as it ignores everything that’s irregular, if not a ‘smoking gun’ too. If you want to see more, look at the leaked letters that are circulating at the moments. Responding to Alex Brown and his dismissive remarks (among others), Groklaw writes:

“Believe it or not, that is his [Alex Brown's] response to the ISO recommendation that the appeals be denied. If he wanted to find nits to pick, perhaps he should start with page 3 of the memo [PDF], where Alan Bryden, Secretary-General and CEO, ISO, and Aharon Amit, General Secretary and CEO, IEC, told the TMB that Brazil is not a P country and therefore has no right to appeal. However, Brazil is a P country, as you can see on ISO’s own list here and click on the link to “Participating Countries” as opposed to “Observing Countries” and the first country on the P list is Brazil.”

It goes on and on. Pay attention to this:

As you can see, Mr Bryden says it is irrelevant, trying to argue that the appeal is about something else. It looks like Mr Bryden don’t want to read the JTC1 directives. Mr Bryden is just lobbying for the honor of its institution, and I really doubt the judges who will decide about the rules are really neutral either.

ISO standards for saleWatch the comments attached to this. This seems like quite a fiasco, but most of the world is apathetic because the press won’t present the situation properly, if at all.

Meanwhile, ISO is also bragging about that Reuters ‘placement’ everyone complained about. It now puts up for display that appalling denials interview. Groklaw writes: “Believe it or not, ISO has this interview by Reuters, which Reuters only published some of, in full on their press release page. This is one of the signatories of the memo to the TMB recommending that the appeals be denied.”

There are some more interesting reactions to ISO’s intent to ignore the formal appeals. From Bob Sutor for example:

I fully support Andy’s conclusions and the opinions of the process that he expresses in his article. While that process is not finished and though many, including the four appealing countries, have pointed how just how deeply flawed it is, the powers at be seem unwilling to admit that anything out the ordinary or inappropriate happened here. That’s a real shame, because it does not demonstrate to the world that these organizations are necessarily the right venues for IT (ICT) standardizations in 2008 and beyond.


As OOXML continues to move to being no more than a footnote in the history of IT standardization, I hope that ISO and IEC will ultimately stand up, admit that there were clear flaws here, fix the process quickly, and avoid fading into the background for those looking to create and use first class open IT standards in the twenty-first century.

Putting it more bluntly: “ISO chief recommends to throw away the 4 appeals against OOXML”

Alan Bryden, Secretary-General of ISO, has sent a recommendation to all countries members of the TMB (Technical Management Board) asking them to throw away the 4 appeals tabled by South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela and India. He does not however justify its position in regard of the JTC1 directives.

Stephane rips it apart totally, also based on technical grounds.

It’s been 3 months since ISO made that April 1st gag when they declared OOXML a valid candidate for an “open standard”, even though it’s riddled with patents.

Microsoft made the situation even more ridiculous by making available, after April 1st, documents that are absolutely necessary in order to fully implement their file formats. Well, if those documents were not part of the ISO proposal in the first place, then what is the ISO proposal good for? Isn’t an “open standard” meant to be implemented by more than one vendor?

Completely, utterly, shamelessly, ridiculous. Typical Microsoft.

Let’s get on with the ridicule. Remember the days before April 1st? A day could not pass without a number of so-called independent companies claiming support for OOXML in one way or another, and telling how good it was. Well, since April 1st, it’s like not a single freaking person cares about it. Silence. How so? Wasn’t it a fraud to begin with?


How is this project going on? Let’s see for yourself on this web page. The project is still a 1st revision source code dump, and it’s 4-month old. It’s hard not to laugh.

Who thought Microsoft was serious when they started this project? Everyone worth his salt knows that a project like this involves an almost complete rewrite of both engines, and it could take a decade to do so. It’s ridiculous to think that a company or independent people would spend their lives essentially rewriting Microsoft Office code base (the non UI part). After all, isn’t it what was essentially done already with OpenOffice? Why isn’t Microsoft instead pledging support for the OpenOffice suite by helping implement the undocumented stuff? Alternatively, why don’t they instead open source their compatibility pack, a component that migrates Office documents back and forth?

It gets better.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released another 5000+ pages of documentation. This additional documentation is a direct acknowledgement that what I have been saying on this blog was spot on, which is that the documentation that was made available earlier was just a fraction of what was needed to implement a full run-time of Office documents. At least Microsoft gives way to a so-called anti-Microsoft person.

A report from Beta News states:

The status code for the ISO’s publication of OXML as an international standard has been on hold since four countries appealed the outcome of a ballot resolution meeting. That roadblock may now be lifted as soon as next month.

This short article happens to quote the man who took a trip to Redmond and then became “a new man” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It is worth just a quick reminder. We recently wrote about Microsoft's mass-invitation. It was an invitation from a cheating "Elephant in the Room" — one among people who lack regard for ethics and rules. It’s about self-serving moves, a case of money mongering through fake affinity and half-hearted promises.

Speaking of which, RedMonk is being paid by Microsoft now, according to this. Consider it a gentle warning. RedMonk an award-winning open source consultancy, which shows that Microsoft continues to stick its nose everywhere, including what it once daemonised and denounced as “communism”. With the 451 Group traveling to Redmond, this is something to watch out for. Don’t forget OpenLogic, Black Duck and other Microsoft-esque sources of influence deep inside the FOSS world (other than funding through advertising and sponsorships).

This new ODF project from South Africa will hopefully steer clear off Microsoft’s attempt to influence everything, even Blender.

This project builds a converter that allows conversion from the Open Document Format (ODF) to translation files (PO and XLIFF).

This is not paranoia. Assuming you have watched this long enough and delved into the depths of this situation, it seems clear that Microsoft wants to affect ODF for the same reasons it wants to influence open source. It’s about Office, Windows and, above all, it is about the shareholders.

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

Protest against OOXML

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. Ian Easson said,

    July 11, 2008 at 11:02 am


    Your statement that Brazil is indeed a P-member and that therefore its appeal should have been allowed is totally 100% incorrect.

    See the list here:

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 11, 2008 at 11:10 am



    It was not my statement. Note that I quote Groklaw which links to:


    I see Brazil as P-member.

  3. Ian Easson said,

    July 11, 2008 at 12:29 pm


    So, it seems that Brazil is *not* a P-member of the JTC1 committee, but *is* a P-member of its SC34 subcommittee. I think you will agree to that, by consulting both lists. Confusing, but true.

    Then it comes down to which membership counts in determining whther an appeal is allowed. I’ll bet you will have to search for hours in the ISO rules for that one. But I’ll also bet dollars to doughnuts that the CEOs’ of the ISO and IEC know their own rules (or at least, have staff people to check them out).

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:31 am



    I’m told that there’s an update on this coming. Stay tuned.

What Else is New

  1. Battistelli's Ongoing Attacks on the Boards Are Helping Unitary Patent (UPC), Which in Turn Helps French Patent Trolls

    Battistelli will likely be remembered not only as the man who attacked justice (and judges) but also rendered staff redundant, issued a lot of highly controversial patents, and by doing so helped the insurgence of patent trolls in Europe

  2. Links 21/3/2018: Cutelyst 2, More on webOS

    Links for the day

  3. SUEPO: “Today May Be Your Last Chance to Demonstrate Against the Seriously Flawed Reforms That Mr Battistelli Has Imposed” on EPO Staff

    Benoît Battistelli will likely remain involved in EPO affairs for a long time to come (even through a fellow Frenchman, Campinos, whom he swaps two chairs with at the Office and CEIPI), but today is the last opportunity for EPO staff to march in protest against the Battistelli regime, which for the first time ever will result in major staff cuts and growing irrelevance for the Office

  4. Links 20/3/2018: GStreamer 1.14.0, Freespire 3.0, Endless OS 3.3.13

    Links for the day

  5. BIO, MDMA and PhRMA Are Pushing the PTAB-Hostile STRONGER Patents Act While IAM and Patently-O Continue to Bash PTAB

    The patent microcosm, which compares the Board to the above (crude analogy from Judge Rader and other patent extremists), is still trying to kill inter partes reviews (IPRs), in effect overlooking its own hypocrisy on the matter (they don’t want patent justice, they just want to metaphorically ‘shoot down’ the judges)

  6. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to 'Sell' These Anyway

    The assertion that software patents are still worth pursuing in 2018 is based on carefully-constructed spin which mis-frames several court decisions and underplays/downplays/ignores pretty much everything that does not suit the narrative

  7. Battistelli's EPO Became Extremely Reliant on China for Distraction and on Endless Supply of Applications (Supply Which Doesn't Exist)

    Discussion about the EPO granting machine (or patent-printing machine) and figures the way EPO management would rather the public won't ever see them; the concept that China means redemption for this patent system is as laughable as always

  8. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

    The USITC/ITC, which mostly serves to impose embargoes (sometimes in shocking defiance of PTAB decisions), is being invoked by a firm connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures

  9. Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

    Software patents are being used for leverage, but only those which were likely granted before Alice and only in courts at districts somewhere around Texas

  10. Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

    Links for the day

  11. From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent 'Industry' Sells Software Patents

    The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month's (or last year's), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

  12. Patent Maximalists Keep Coming Up With New Terms and Buzzwords to Bypass the Practical Ban on Software Patents

    The fightback against Section 101 and the US Supreme Court (notably Alice) seems to concentrate on old and new buzzwords, such as "Software as a Medical Device" ("SaMD") or "Fourth Industrial Revolution" ("4IR"), which the EPO recently paid European media to spread and promote

  13. News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

    Infomercials are still dominant among news about patents, in effect drowning out the signal (real journalism) and instead pushing agenda that is detached from reality, pertinent facts, objective assessment, public interest and so on

  14. Blocks and Paywalls Won't Protect the Patent Trolls' Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

    Joff Wild and Benoît Battistelli have much in common, including patent maximalism and chronic resistance to facts (or fact-checking)

  15. China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

    China now targets other Asian countries/firms -- more so than Western firms -- with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

  16. UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

    While the EPO is collapsing due to mismanagement the boosters of Team Battistelli would rather deflect and speak about Brexit, which is itself partly motivated by such mismanagement

  17. European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Rina Ronja Kari is the latest MEP attempting to compel the Commission to actually do something about the EPO other than turning a blind eye

  18. Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

    Links for the day

  19. TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

    A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

  20. PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent 'Industry' That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

    The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it's supporting sham deals (or "scams") and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

  21. The Patent 'Industry' is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn't Like the Decisions

    Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they're willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

  22. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent 'Industry' in the Process

    A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

  23. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  24. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  25. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  26. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  27. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  28. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  29. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  30. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts