10.07.08

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Quick Mention: Brazil Hijacked by Microsoft (Updated)

Posted in Asia, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Outrageous folly

Whilst we angrily keep writing about Microsoft’s apparent attempt to ‘take over’ ODF [1, 2, 3], a warning from Brazil arrives. Microsoft is indeed hijacking the process and now represents an entire very large country in a meeting that involved ODF.

Last week, 1st of October, was held in Seoul (Korea) a meeting of SC34, the JTC1 committee responsible for standards as the ODF and OpenXML.

At this meeting, Brazil was represented by Microsoft.

I and several other members of our committee protested against this indication, but we had our protests silenced by the Director of ABNT (Brazilian NB) that said that this decision was not our prerogative and that if Microsoft would pay for their own representative’s trip, their indication was approved.

Also reminded us that since the beginning of activities of our group at ABNT, he tells us about having a “financial fund” provided by the committee’s organizations, to cover expenses like this. As we do not have that fund and Microsoft has offered to pay their own expenses, their indication was approved by him (rather not comment on anything about it, I get stomach ache by remembering this sad fact). Just to clarify, the other committee’s members did not indicated any representative because we tought that this wasn’t an important meeting to spend our time and money with.

This is not the first time that Microsoft, a selfish and vicious convicted monopolist, is assigned to 'represent' the interests of entire nations. Time for people to stand up and protest?

MicrISOft

Update: the stuffed committee (with Microsoft employees) is already having its negative effects. It inches a step closer to Microsoft shenanigans taking control of ODF, slurring OASIS in the process.

The international standards body ISO has offered to help maintain the ODF document standard alongside its work on the rival Microsoft-originated OOXML specification, saying its creator Oasis is not dealing with defect reports quickly enough.

At a meeting in Korea last week, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee for document standards, SC 34, issued a liaison statement to Oasis, the body that created ODF. It requested an “alignment” of maintenance of ODF between the work done at Oasis and that within ISO.

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9 Comments

  1. Penny Lane said,

    October 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Gravatar

    To be fair, that sounds a lot like the situation in quite a few countries. In many cases attending meetings like the one in Korea is open to all TC members, but Microsoft ends up going because no other commitee members will put their money where their mouth is.

    When it comes to doing more than just shouting and complaing, most people don’t seem to be all that interested.

    It isn’t as if other commitee members can’t afford to participate, in many cases companies like Google, IBM etc are at the table.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 7, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Gravatar

    I take your point, but this is merely the making of an observation, not its explanation. IBM’s partial absence in that meeting was probably caused by its formal protest against crooked standards bodies like ISO. That was a fortnight ago.

    If bodies like these are abandoned, as Brazil and several other South American nations have considered doing (India seems likely to join soon), then we ought to show why. We ought to show how ISO gets stuffed and manipulated, then bypass it with reasonable justification.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 7, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Gravatar

    Noteworthy comment that I found (among other good ones):

    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/talkback/0,1000001161,39498926-20097639o,00.htm

    “It would be interesting to know how many of the 15 national standards bodies were represented by Microsoft employees, but ISO do not publish this information…”

  4. pcole said,

    October 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Gravatar

    This is one of the scenarios most didn’t see coming. Aside from the ‘FACT’ that microsoft can’t fix it’s own document format, ooxml, it will taint ODF with bloddy binaries blobs.

    It’s like visiting someone’s house to defecate in their living room.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Gravatar

    They ‘bribe’ the committee with food now.

    …The company from Redmond is heavily investing in the ISO SC34 committee. Thanks to a brazilian blogger who manage to shed some light on what was going on in there, we hear now that Microsoft Korea was paying for dinner.

    http://www.noooxml.org/forum/t-95230/sc34-thanked-microsoft-korea-for-the-dinner

  6. Luc Bollen said,

    October 7, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Gravatar

    We now have a partial response to the question above, straight from the horse’s mouth: According to Alex Brown:
    “By my (rough, unconfirmed) count, there were eight MS employees in 15 NB delegations (+ 4 people in the Ecma group) out of the 35 or so attendees.”
    (http://www.robweir.com/blog/2008/10/wheres-rob.html)

    12 Microsoft + Ecma people out of 35 people ! Isn’t this a record ? But of course Microsoft is NOT hijacking SC 34, as “Delegates are charged with representing national positions” (from the same horse’s mouth).

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 7, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks. There’s is a rumour now that the Commission won’t investigate the ISO scandals. They are too afraid to intervene in an international organisation.

    I’ll stay up late tonight and blog some more.

  8. Dave said,

    October 8, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Gravatar

    @Luc
    Actually it is 8 plus the Ecma people
    Ecma has no voting rights within ISO/IEC so less than a quarter of the SC34 attendees would be correct. That would not account for a unanymous descision being taken.

    On a sidenote: as SC34 is the committee that deals with electronic documents and Microsoft products are the largest producer of such documents their input is likely to be both expert and welcome. Also it should be noted that some members of the OASIS ODF TC were present at the SC34 meeting and not just Ecma. howeverthe IBM members were notably absent.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 8, 2008 at 4:13 am

    Gravatar

    Some people at ECMA are also Microsoft employees and ECMA is also paid by Microsoft. You are attempting to downplay this issue.

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