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06.10.09

Microsoft Accused of Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gossip

Summary: Microsoft’s attacks on ODF are getting noticed and the European Commission is asked to step in

S

EVERAL MINUTES ago we wrote about Microsoft folks manipulating Wikipedia, tilting it against an interoperable ODF. Microsoft wants to fragment ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], having failed to stop momentum with previous campaigns against it [1, 2].

Here are some samples of hostile Wikipedia edits we’ve kept track of:

It is no secret that prominent pro-Microsoft people like Alex Brown have also infested the ODF mailing lists, despite what Microsoft has been doing to this standard. History speaks for itself [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].

One informant has just told us that Rob Weir labels what Microsoft has been doing recently “ODF Lies and Whispers.”

So what is one to do? You obviously can’t trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to “improve” the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft’s re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.

Groklaw has written about this too.

Alex Brown, the convenor of the OOXML BRM, has been editing Wikipedia’s article on ODF. That strikes me odd, like finding out Steve Jobs had been editing the Microsoft Zune page. Some things are simply inappropriate. It puzzles me why Wikipedia allows it, frankly.

If you read the talk page on ODF, you’ll see that there are others there trying mightily to spin the article on ODF more negatively than is factual. And such rudeness! Plenty of smears against Groklaw too, I couldn’t help but notice. It does seem to me that there is a marked increase in what I view as a concerted submarine marketing effort. Some of it is subtle. Most of it is not. A fair measure of it is mean-spirited. Some of it is lies, pure and simple.

In the good old days, dead people supported Microsoft, if you remember that funny headline about a pro-Microsoft astroturfing campaign, but at least it wasn’t a smear campaign, just pro-Microsoft. Nowadays, I think I would have to rewrite the headline to read, “Mean People Support Microsoft.” Or worse. You see, Groklaw has been visited recently by several OOXML types, including Alex Brown, Doug Mahue of Microsoft, and Rick Jelliffe, all singing pretty much the same songs, posting on our ODF articles, so I got to watch it close up. I puzzled over it, because they seemed so deliberately rude.

Microsoft is whitewashing, so Pamela Jones believes that the European Commission should intervene. Microsoft is left with just PR-style rebranding, whitewash and tricks. Our regular reader remarks on this last particular example by saying, “This geek reach-out of Microsoft looks a bit like to accommodate the black community with coon songs.”

“We’re getting the gang back together.”

J Allard, high Microsoft senior (2007)

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