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ISO Finds a Home at Microsoft, Hostility Towards ODF Made Subtle

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO Sold Out to ECMA

Summary: More of the incestuous relationship between ISO, Microsoft, and SC34; new Microsoft tricks in the EU

MOST people probably never noticed (or cannot remember) Microsoft paying for an ISO-associated dinner in Korea and paying for the meeting in Norway. It is all just part of a pattern which shows ISO shaking like a feather, dancing to the tune of Microsoft cash.

Microsoft is now organising the next ISO SC34 meeting. Yes, it will all take place in Redmond and shall revolve around Microsoft’s OOXML maintenance.

We already know that SC34 is a mess — a mess which is dominated by Microsoft-faithful folks who are hostile towards ODF. According to the above, convenors now include Alex Brown [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] and Patrick Durusau [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], who have been making comments (and actions) favourable to Microsoft’s proprietary format.

Also see this PDF which provides further details, such as: “For general questions about Westin meeting logistics, or things to do around Seattle, please contact Dave Welsh, dmwelsh@microsoft.com, cell phone +1 206 313 0879.”

How about this: “More hotel options, at different rates, are also available. For more hotel options in the immediate Bellevue area and the Seattle vicinity, please try Live.com.”

Bellevue is where a lot of Microsoft’s core people reside, including its gigantic patent troll.

We have also learned that Microsoft will be the “social host” in the Seattle meetings, hosting the reception, dinner, and so on. How familiar. They will also be organising a DII event (“interop”) to occur the day after the SC34 Plenary. It will take place at Microsoft, which will announce how they intend to support Office 2010 as extensions to OOXML.

The word about Office 2010 has just come out, with this new Microsoft proposal [PDF] that can be found in the company’s Web site (encoded in Microsoft’s proprietary format). There is some initial coverage in OS News, which starts with: “Just when you thought the world couldn’t get any crazier, something happens that makes you move your expectations of the world up a few nothces. We already have to deal with the browser ballot, but that’s not the only ballot Microsoft will deliver. Hold on to your panties, as Microsoft will also offer a file format ballot in Microsoft Office 2010. On a happier note, Microsoft makes a whole load of promises to the EU about opening up technologies and file formats.

Oiaohm says that it’s getting “even worse [as] Microsoft seems to be out to avoid the EU regulators.”

ThistleWeb argues that Microsoft’s thinking is that people will be allowed to “pick from a working Microsoft format, or a (supposedly working) broken ODF”. Microsoft never implemented ODF properly, after all [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“[M]aybe they’ve finally, reluctantly seen the writing on the wall, that the EU are gonna keep hammering them on case after case, with fine after fine…”
As Georg Greve (FSFE) put it a few days ago, “Microsoft [is] planning to freeze ODF at “broken useless” level by blocking updates at ISO? Seems quite possible according to [URL]

The above refers to Microsoft wanting to impose RAND on Free software.

Oiaohm adds: “Microsoft is being forced to come into line with ODF 1.2 as well, but the issue is that [it's mandatory]. If it’s done the wrong, way you could have produced document hell in a business.”

ThistleWeb responds by hypothesising that “maybe they’ve finally, reluctantly seen the writing on the wall, that the EU are gonna keep hammering them on case after case, with fine after fine [...] that they’re now reluctantly trying to placate the EU [...] each new fine, is another chunk of cash.”

“Or maybe they are running out of money to resist,” argues Oiaohm. Microsoft is already borrowing money.

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