Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft to ODF Technical Committee: Come Enter the Belly of the Beast

Microsoft is trying to grab control of ODF

To some it was predictable [1, 2, 3] and to some it was not. Regardless: Microsoft Corporation, the company that actively fought ODF and force-forced an proprietary alternative like nothing less than a deranged criminal who knows no boundaries, is suddenly inviting all people behind ODF to 'pull a Patrick Durusau' and come to Microsoft's turf.



The apprehensive reaction from Charles is very telling:

Thank you for this invitation. I have to say I have some trouble understanding why you would like to gather the OASIS TC in Redmond. It seems to me a bit cumbersome, and a bit bizarre to invite everyone here in Redmond as if nothing had ever happened before. Perhaps, as some would put it, "it's a bit too early for that". Besides, I'm sure we can have that event anywhere else . As you may know, the OASIS ODF TC (together with its subcommittees and the OASIS ODF Adoption TC) runs several panels and conferences worldwide. The next one, if I am not mistaken, will take place in Beijing during the ODF Track at the OpenOffice.org Conference. It is scheduled to take place around October-November 2008.

This ODF track is independent from the OpenOffice.org Conference as several different and competing vendors attend this conference track. We would really appreciate to have you and the Microsoft Office team there.


Watch what Erwin says just before his departure.

Maybe this invitation has something to do with Microsoft's public "ODF has clearly won" statement at a recent event. Thus, if Microsoft has to support ODF in their products due to market demand, what ISV can still ignore supporting ODF? I guess none! Anyway, OpenOffice.org is just one implementation of ODF and is facing more than 1.2M downloads per week (!!!) on average (since the beginning of 2008) with most recent download numbers having been close to 2M.


It's figures like that which help Microsoft see what's coming. It's a matter of critical mass. Reasons for this new strategy are also related to new stories like this one.

Most Danish companies are actually trying to find an alternative to MS Office at the moment.


Microsoft can see that OOXML will not be adopted by everyone, so it's trying to ensure it can butter its toast on both sides and control all committees. Will it stick?

If this sounds familiar, it ought to. Microsoft plays exactly the same card in order to gain control over "Open Source", having slammed and daemonised it for years. It seems as though it wants to seize as much control as possible over ODF (for self-beneficial purposes of course, even if that means derailing it).

"If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA)."

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

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