03.01.08

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The Second Disaster for Microsoft at Europe This Week

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Open XML at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Moments ago we brought to you Tim Bray's views on the BRM (keyphrase “complete, utter, unadulterated bullsh*t”). Tim’s blunt perspective aside, watching the news is a case of concurrence.

Reuters: Bureaucracy swamps ISO meeting on Microsoft format

Instead, the ballot resolution meeting became bogged down in bureaucracy as the delegates struggled with more than a thousand points of order, as well as the 6,000 pages of code that define Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) format.

ComputerWorld: Weak ISO support for changes to Open XML throws shadow over final approval

A committee of ISO members in Geneva may have approved the proposed changes to Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) on Friday, but the document format’s final approval remains far from certain.

StandardsMeister Andy: Showdown in Geneva: OOXML Fails to Achieve Majority Approval at BRM

Many, many, people around the world have tried very hard to make the OOXML adoption process work. It is very unfortunate that they were put to this predictably unsuccessful result through the self-interest of a single vendor taking advantage of a permissive process that was never intended to be abused in this fashion. It would be highly inappropriate to compound this error by approving a clearly unfinished specification in the voting period ahead. To paraphrase a former First Lady, it’s time to “Just say No” to OOXML.

Groklaw has a summary also: OOXML Fails to Get Majority Approval at BRM

Andy Updegrove has the results in detail here, including a breakdown of the votes. Basically, there were too many proposed changes to be able to cover them in the BRM, so they tried a workaround, but the upshot is … it’s a mess. Oddly, despite the rules, Alex Brown, Updegrove reports, allowed non P countries to vote, but OOXML still couldn’t get a majority of the delegations to back it at the BRM. Nor is it clear that allowing non P countries to vote is even legitimate. Now it’s the 30-day voting period, but Updegrove asks, if they never could discuss all the issues, which is the purpose of a BRM, what’s the basis for a vote? And with the vast majority either voting to abstain or even refusing to vote as a protest, I think one may conclude this proposal didn’t belong on the fast track, and it isn’t getting the kind of support you would have thought it might, given all the muscle that has gone into the push to get OOXML approved.

With a week of OOXML corruptions behind us, it is worth concluding using the following good recent quote, which ought to make Microsoft nervous ahead of more antitrust investigations (relating to OOXML abuses):

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly.”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

Neelie Kroes

Enjoy the weekend.

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A Single Comment

  1. Andrew Perkins said,

    March 2, 2008 at 10:40 am

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    An analogy of the OOXML fiasco :

    Drug addicted student submits balloney as mid-term paper. Outraged teacher demands that the bum be thrown out of school. Principal refuses because the kid’s father is filthy rich and notoriously dangerous. Teacher is asked to either embellish the paper or find another job. Teacher bowes to pressure and student organizes parade for self.

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