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

11.13.14

Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

British flag

Summary: Microsoft interference with Britain’s preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users

NUMEROUS articles in the British press have been pointing out too slow an adoption of ODF in the UK, despite policies that demand it. Now we have a better understanding of potential causes.

As a quick recap, here is a partial chronology of this year’s developments:

  1. UK Government Seems to Be Serious About Moving to Free Software and OpenDocument Format This Time Around
  2. In Another Attempt to Derail British ODF Policy Microsoft Calls Its Systematic Bribery “Internationally Recognised”
  3. Response to ODF as Government Standard Proposal
  4. Amended Comment Regarding ODF as Document Standard in the UK
  5. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards
  6. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?

So ODF adoption in the UK is only a matter of time. But we have already known based on limited evidence (or a conspiracy of silence) that Microsoft worked silently to crush this policy. Yes, Microsoft claims that it “loves” FOSS and Linux or “supports” ODF while secretly attacking them all by corrupting the political system in the UK, striving to suppress them and ultimately kill them.

Now comes new evidence that shows how people at the highest levels at Microsoft are getting involved to block ODF, i.e. anything which merely permits Free software to compete on fair grounds. Computer Weekly has a couple of good articles, the first of which states that “Departments lack common targets for implementing open-document standards” and the second one telling us “the curious case of Microsoft and the minister”. As it turns out, the software monopolist clearly strikes back behind people’s backs. To quote the article: “Microsoft consistently opposed the policy, which the software giant saw as its last chance to overturn the UK government’s broader plans for open standards. As emails seen by Computer Weekly reveal, the decision became an issue in the supplier’s Seattle boardroom, and brought the lobbying powers of the software giant into full force in Whitehall.

“There has been speculation about the role played by senior government minister David Willetts, then minister of state for universities and science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), but who later left the post in David Cameron’s 2014 summer reshuffle.

“An investigation by Computer Weekly has revealed that – according to well-placed sources – Microsoft turned to Willetts to help win its case, with the supplier’s global chief operating officer (COO) Kevin Turner getting involved. But neither BIS nor David Willetts himself is willing to discuss the role the minister played in Microsoft’s attempts to influence this obscure but vitally important part of government IT policy.

“Willetts was the government’s liaison point for Microsoft, as a major employer and investor in the UK economy. He also served as co-chair of the Information Economy Council, a body set up to enable dialogue between Whitehall and the IT industry over future policy.”

One should bear in mind that Britain is perhaps at the forefront of ODF adoption. There is an imminent London-based ODF event, just like those Plugfests from back in the days, and departments of government are expected to move to ODF. However, based on recent reports they are slow to conform or obey these requirements.

Last week we wrote to Linda from the Cabinet Office, hoping to get her and her colleagues’ attention amid dirty tricks from Microsoft. In a personal E-mail I stated:

Several months ago we had an amicable exchange in which I alerted Cabinet Office, through the comments, that Microsoft would likely oppose its policies in subversive and underhanded/secretive ways.

Two new articles from Computer Weekly serve to prove my point now and I hope that you and your colleagues will spare some times to read them, especially the following article:

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240234078/Government-open-standards-the-curious-case-of-Microsoft-and-the-minister

The more transparent the Cabinet Office makes this process, the more the British public will be able to protect the Cabinet Office from such self-serving foreign influence that strives to expand the reach of back doors, surveillance, predatory pricing, and format lock-in.

To quote the aforementioned (first) article from Computer Weekly:”Whitehall departments have begun to publish their plans on how to implement the government’s open-document standards policy – but so far, each appears to be working to very different timescales. One department – the Treasury – has stated it won’t see full implementation until as late as 2018.

“The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Treasury have published their plans so far. The Treasury said it will not be fully implementing the mandated open-document standard until February 2018, three years after other departments.”

The ODF-friendly UK policy might not survive if the British public does not get involved and helps the politicians or public servants resist brutal lobbying from Microsoft, which knows no boundaries. Here is another new article of interest:

From this week, it has promised to publish PDFs and Word documents in PDF/A and ODS formats respectively.

However, on Excel, which are most commonly published as “live” data tables, it said: “Content producers should convert to ODS format before submitting to digital content teams.

“However the statisticians have identified problems with certain spreadsheets – where drop-down filters fail to work when converted – more work needs to be done on finding a solution to this problem and DCLG will to commit to the spreadsheets where possible will be published from 1 November 2014 being in an ODS format.”

DCLG said that it is committed to opening up government and providing a level playing field for open source systems, providing the citizen with free access to government information.

I was in Whitehall some days ago, so I passed next to many of these government offices. The place is plagued by greedy businessmen and tourists, so the voice of the British people can hardly be heard. We need to become more loud about it and contact such people without shame or shyness. Microsoft is so desperate to spread OOXML everywhere that it now goes after users of the most widely used operating system (Android/Linux), aided by spin from Microsoft partner and booster Tony Bradley among other spinners who are spreading OOXML lock-in by promoting OOXML for mobile devices (Android does not even handle ODF out of the box, which is a great shame for Google). Microsoft first sought a monopoly on the application (office suite), then it pursued a monopoly on the format (OOXML), and now it is pursuing even a monopoly on the files with its so-called ‘cloud’ (storing all files on Microsoft’s servers).

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/5/2018: Parrot 4.0, Spectre Number 4

    Links for the day



  2. Chamber of Commerce Lies About the United States Like It Lies About Other Countries for the Sole Purpose of Patent Maximalism

    When pressure groups that claim to be "US" actively bash and lie about the US one has to question their motivation; in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it's just trying to perturb the law for the worse



  3. Links 21/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC6, GIMP 2.10.2

    Links for the day



  4. The Attacks on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Have Lost Momentum and the Patent Microcosm Begrudgingly Gives Up

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), reaffirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and now the Supreme Court as well, carries on preventing frivolous lawsuits; options for stopping PTAB have nearly been exhausted and it shows



  5. Software Patenting and Successful Litigation a Very Difficult Task Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Using loads of misleading terms or buzzwords such as "AI" the patent microcosm continues its software patents pursuits; but that's mostly failing, especially when courts come to assess pertinent claims made in the patents



  6. António Campinos Will Push Toward a France-Based Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Frenchmen at EPO will try hard to bring momentum if not force to the Unified Patent Court; facts, however, aren't on their side (unlike Team UPC, which was always on Team Battistelli's side)



  7. In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in 'Damages'

    A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel's role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple



  8. Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  9. Aurélien Pétiaud's ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

    A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof



  10. LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Another reminder that the "LOT" is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo



  11. 'Nokification' in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

    Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation



  12. CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

    Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists



  13. Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still 'Pull a Berkheimer' to Attract Business in Vain

    The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to 'sell' the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their 'teeth' again



  14. A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to 'Dilute' This Supreme Court's Decision or Work Around It

    IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases



  15. Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft 'Safety'

    The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft



  16. Links 19/5/2018: Mesa 18.0.4 and Vim 8.1

    Links for the day



  17. Système Battistelli (ENArque) at the EPO is Inspired by Système Lamy in Saint-Germain-en Laye

    Has the political culture of Battistelli's hometown in France contaminated the governance of the EPO?



  18. In Australia the Productivity Commission Decides/Guides Patent Law

    IP Australia, the patent office of Australia, considers abolishing "innovation patents" but has not done so yet (pending consultation)



  19. Fishy Things Noticed Ahead of the Passage of a Lot of EPO Budget (Applicants' Money) to Battistelli's Other (and Simultaneous) Employer

    Observations and odd facts regarding the affairs of the council in St Germain; it certainly looks like Battistelli as deputy mayor and the mayor (Arnaud Péricard) are attempting to hide something



  20. Links 18/5/2018: AsteroidOS 1.0 Released, More Snyk/Black Duck FUD

    Links for the day



  21. Today's EPO Financially Rewards Abuses and Violations of the Law

    Battistelli shredded the European Patent Convention (EPC) to pieces and he is being rewarded for it, perpetuating a pattern of abuses (and much worse) being rewarded by the European Patent Organisation



  22. So-Called 'System Battistelli' is Destroying the EPO, Warn Insiders

    Low-quality patent grants by the EPO are a road to nowhere but a litigious climate in Europe and an unattractive EPO



  23. Rise in Patent Trolls' Activity in Germany Noted Amid Declining Patent Quality at the EPO

    The UPC would turn Europe into some sort of litigation ‘super-state’ — one in which national patent laws are overridden by some central, immune-from-the-law bureaucracy like the EPO; but thankfully the UPC continues its slow collapse



  24. EPO's Battistelli Taking Days Off Work for Political 'Duties' (Parties) in His French Theatre Where He'll Bring Buckets of EPO Budget (EPO Stakeholders' Money)

    More tales from Saint-Germain-en-Laye...



  25. Links 16/5/2018: Cockpit 168, GCompris 0.91, DHCP Bug

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's 'Inventor Award' Scam: Part III

    An addendum to the "inventor of the year" affair, namely the case of Remmal



  27. Apple and Microsoft Are Still Suing Companies -- Using Patents of Course -- Which 'Dare' Compete (by Leveraging GNU/Linux)

    The vanity of proprietary software giants — as the latest news serves to reveal — targeting companies with patent lawsuits, both directly and indirectly



  28. The Anti-PTAB (Patent Quality), Anti-§ 101 Lobby is Losing Its Mind and It Has Become Amusing to Observe

    The rants about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the courts and even the law itself have reached laughable levels; this reveals that the real agenda of patent maximalists is endless litigation and their methods boil down to those of an angry mob, not legal professionals



  29. EPO Has Become Overzealous About Software Patents, Probably More So Than Almost Anywhere Else

    The promotion of an extreme patent regime in Europe continues unabated; whether it succeeds or not depends on what EPO examiners and citizens of Europe can do



  30. Links 15/5/2018: Black Duck's Latest FUD and the EFF's EFFail FUD Debunked Further

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts