09.02.07

OOXML in Norway, Denmark, and Poland… Looking More Closely at the Stories (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On August 20th we said that OOXML had apparently been defeated in Poland, but unsurprisingly there was a flip-flop. An anonymous reader of this site reported possible irregularities in the process. When Poland says “Yes” to OOXML, bear in mind that it does not tell the full story.

Microsoft has apparently been rallying its troops around the world and there is strong evidence that suggest we should remain suspicious and skeptical.

It certainly appears that Microsoft might be “encouraging” standards bodies in various countries to upgrade their ISO memberships to P level and/or join Subcommittee 34 in an effort to overwhelm any opposition to its plans.

Denmark and Norway are no exception here and it is disappointing to see that the mainstream media only talks about Sweden. There is still a great deal of rotten practices everywhere you look, but because everything is moving so quickly in so many countries, it’s just hard to keep up. Here is a portion from one attempted summarisation.

In Denmark, a source reportedly said that Microsoft pressured him to send an expression of support to Dansk Standard, the Danish standards board. By Groklaw’s translation, Version2 reported: “‘If I had not sent in a positive comment, it would have had consequences for our relations with Microsoft’, he says. Our source points to e.g. leads, support and seminars as areas that might be jeopardised if ‘he did not behave’.”

The Danish MP reportedly wants assurance that only technical factors were considered by Dansk Standard and that political or economic influences were not brought to bear.

Also, a member of the Danish parliament has reportedly lodged a pointed question with a government minister as to whether the government has had any contact with Dansk Standard with regard to the ISO vote on OOXML.

In Norway, Microsoft apparently mounted an astroturfing campaign against the Norwegian standards body Standard Norge. Out of 59 comments received by Standard Norge, 37 were a Vole form letter that many of its Norwegian business partners didn’t even bother to sign before sending them in.

The only solace we might have is that Microsoft’s licence applications will be tossed by the OSI for such ruthless behaviour.

Never forget what happened around the world and particularly in Massachusetts.

This is not winning. These are signs of desperation.

Update: protests in Poland have begun. Let’s see if Poland will end up just like Sweden as a result of these protests.

It sometimes seems like Microsoft’s actions achieve nothing but lead to confrontations and national tension where governments are blamed (whose trust and credibility are lost as well). ISO likewise. We mentioned this yesterday. It’s not good for anyone, with the exception of those that poison the system with big money and promises.

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2 Comments

  1. tube2 said,

    September 4, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Gravatar

    Of course they (Microsoft) need to “influence” the votes!

    This is OOXML. Its existance is merely a mechanism used to protect one of Microsoft’s biggest cash cows. ie: Microsoft Office. Everyone can see that!

    They know (see the infamous “Halloween Documents”) that without standards that they control, Microsoft will be in the crapper. Their dominating grip will loosen as the flood of competitors arrive. They must contain that.

    What is amazing, is to see exactly how much power Microsoft really has around the world. Its sickening as to how far MS will take it and what they’re willing to do.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 4, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, we mentioned the Documents several times before. It’s worth repeating:

    By the way, if you are by any chance trying to figure out Microsoft’s policy toward standards, particularly in the context of ODF-EOXML, that same Microsoft page is revelatory, Microsoft’s answer to what the memo meant when it said that Microsoft could extend standard protocols so as to deny Linux “entry into the market”:

    Q: The first document talked about extending standard protocols as a way to “deny OSS projects entry into the market.” What does this mean?

    A: To better serve customers, Microsoft needs to innovate above standard protocols. By innovating above the base protocol, we are able to deliver advanced functionality to users. An example of this is adding transactional support for DTC over HTTP. This would be a value-add and would in no way break the standard or undermine the concept of standards, of which Microsoft is a significant supporter. Yet it would allow us to solve a class of problems in value chain integration for our Web-based customers that are not solved by any public standard today. Microsoft recognizes that customers are not served by implementations that are different without adding value; we therefore support standards as the foundation on which further innovation can be based.

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