06.04.08

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As Punishment for OOXML Scandals Looms, Microsoft Starts Playing Politics

Posted in IBM, Mail, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 1:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…responding with lobbying, aka "Legalised Bribery"

The pressure is up for Microsoft Office to cope with. Yesterday we wrote about the press release from IBM, which covered the latest swing at Microsoft Office and Exchange. Now comes this article which sheds some more light on these moves from Big Blue.

Dubbed the IBM Lotus Foundations Start, this is a turnkey solution running on Linux that can get a business’s infrastructure up and running within 30 minutes, according to the company.

This comes at an interesting time and probably not by coincidence. IBM’s Lotus Symphony has just hit the important 1.0 milestone.

Open Document Format (ODF) comes of age today as IBM announces the commercial-grade, general availability of Lotus Symphony, a suite of free, ODF-based software tools for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Microsoft has two principal perils to face at the moment:

  1. Technical barrier. This relates to the ability to compete with cheaper counterparts based on merits or vendor lock-in
  2. Legal barrier. Microsoft’s sheer abuse is well documented, unlike Microsoft’s formats. In months to come, it’s likely to be hit by heavy fines for this despicable behaviour.

How will Microsoft respond to that latter problem? Play dirty, of course. That’s what the company knows best. The following new appointment is very telling. [via Groklaw]

Microsoft Taps Legal Czar Amid EU, OOXML Woes

Microsoft announced Monday it has hired a former European diplomat to lead its dealings with the European Union (EU). The company’s aim is to help the company face down legal and regulatory threats, among which are investigations regarding its controversial document interchange formats.

Meanwhile, a fourth nation has appealed the recent ratification of those formats as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard.

Slated to start July 1, former General Electric executive John Vassallo will be Microsoft’s vice president of EU affairs as well as associate general counsel. At GE, he was senior counsel and director of European affairs. He has also previously served as Malta’s ambassador to the EU, NATO and Belgium.

Make no mistake. This is far from the first time that Microsoft plays ‘politics’ in order to escape punishment and game the system. Here is just one set of prior examples where Microsoft is gaming Europe using diplomats and well-paid lobbyists.

About that newly-appointed Top Gun again, Groklaw did some searching and pulled this one [PDF] from 2007. Pamela Jones then said: “So he’s been a lobbyist. I believe this may give us a hint as to what the angle may be with the EU Commission.” The OOXML saga will most likely continue to be chaos riddled with brute manipulation.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

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