Bonum Certa Men Certa

More Media Charades for Microsoft's OOXML Ahead of the BRM

Publicity, Publicity, Publicity

Gotta love the press advertising OOXML for free!





A new article has just emerged bearing the optimistic headline "Microsoft confident leading up to OOXML BRM," but it's not too clear if the headline should have been something like "Microsoft confident it has brainwashed the press" or "Microsoft confident it has stacked enough panels" or "Microsoft confident enough small countries were rewarded to vote "Yes" to OOXML"... you get the point, right?

Although the article states that Microsoft's (and ECMA's) hand are dirty, according to some, it is not truly balanced and it could use a few quick insertions and corrections. For example, it states:

In September's vote, 53 per cent approved OOXML, well short of the two-thirds majority required, while 18 voted against OOXML, pushing it just over the maximum allowed no vote ratio.


it should be important to add that only a few days before the voting deadline was reached, there was a huge surge in terms of the number of countries hopping right inside queue to vote. Unsurprisingly, virtually all of them who emerged at the 90th minute were small nations which blindly said "Yes" to OOXML. Did they critically read 6,000+ pages overnight? Why did they all vote "Yes"? Coincidence? Not quite so according to those who published their findings back in September 2007.

Further, from the same article (there are too many bits which are worth criticising):

Thomas was unable to comment on what Microsoft is expecting those countries that abstained or voted no will do after the BRM. But he did comment on the concerns of Australia and New Zealand's standards bodies, who abstained and voted no respectively, saying both had done "an incredible amount of hard work" to make sure their concerns were represented in the specification.


Thomas talks about "an incredible amount of hard work," but as we have already seen, the vast majority of the comments were disregarded using excuses or were never addressed at all.

When Thomas talks about "an incredible amount of hard work" he might mean to say that Microsoft did a lot of work stacking the panels. This includes sending an Australian 'expert' (a paid Microsoft editor of Wikipedia) to pro-OOXML trips around the world. Then, Microsoft also saw him assigned to participate in BRM where Australia is to be represented. They even call him "devil's advocate".

One has to wonder if he recommended a "No" back in September simply so that in the subsequent theatrical act he can earn the "evil's advocate" role. Look again at "Evangelism is War" and remind yourself of the art of ensuring a person who is to serve Microsoft's interest must not seem too close to the company a priori. Classic? Far fetched? You decide.

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