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Sweden's Vote on OOXML Invalidated 232

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-what-you-get-when-you-cheat dept.
Groklaw Reader writes "Just days after Microsoft's attempt to buy the Swedish vote on OOXML came to light, SIS declared its own vote invalid. The post at Groklaw references a ComputerWorld article with revelations from Microsoft: 'Microsoft Corp. admitted Wednesday that an employee at its Swedish subsidiary offered monetary compensation to partners for voting in favor of the Office Open XML document format's approval as an ISO standard. Microsoft said the offer, when discovered, was quickly retracted and that its Sweden managers voluntarily notified the SIS, the national standards body. "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy," said Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft. "That communication had no impact on the final vote." ...'"
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Sweden's Vote on OOXML Invalidated

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  • No impact... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fishead (658061) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:07PM (#20417469)
    other then eliminating a voter.
    • Re:No impact... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aminion (896851) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:30PM (#20417745)
      Actually, this has significantly worsened Microsofts's reputation in Sweden. IT people here are outraged and, actually, quite embarrassed that something like this could have happened in Sweden. Voices are being raised that the voting process at SIS must be changed so that charlatan companies such as MS can't pull stunts like this - i.e. "encouraging" partners to become SIS members in the last moment to be able to vote - in the future.

      For those who speak Swedish, here's the press release by SIS [sis.se] (PDF).
      • Re:No impact... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:02PM (#20418125)

        Actually, this has significantly worsened Microsofts's reputation in Sweden. IT people here are outraged and, actually, quite embarrassed that something like this could have happened in Sweden.

        If that's outrageous, then quite a few people need to open their eyes and wake up. This sort of vote-buying and behind the scenes sleaze happens all the time during standards resolution, not just for OOXML, not even just in IT. Corruption is the standard, not the exception. There's probably not an ISO spec in existence that hasn't in some way been influenced by proprietary interests through bribery or outright threats. In this case the perpetrator happened to be exposed. When international standards touted by multi-billion-dollar corporations come into play, you'd have to be a fool to think such things are not common place.

        • by gringer (252588) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @09:16PM (#20419873)
          If there were a drive to get through an ISO specification on ISO corruption (i.e. the recommended way to influence others to get the specification you want), would that also be corrupted? And if so, would the corruption follow the procedure in the specification?
        • Re:No impact... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cHiphead (17854) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @11:12PM (#20420661)
          The revolution against that shit has to start somewhere, and IT geeks are just the fully interconnected group that can get it going.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by arth1 (260657)
            Surely you're jesting. "IT geeks" are the most healthy paranoid people on the face of the earth, with extra layers of safeguards between themselves and others. It's non-IT people who cooperate easily; IT geeks do so grudgingly, and never for the purpose of cooperation itself, but for either higher or selfish goals.

            Whether you can convince enough people that this is a higher goal or of personal interest to just them is a different matter. I doubt it, myself. It's just as gratifying to have an inferior st
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by NickFortune (613926)

              It's just as gratifying to have an inferior standard "win" and used by the unwashed masses, so one can keep feeling superior.

              What's more, I'm sure Bill Gates agrees with you wholeheartedly.

        • Re:No impact... (Score:4, Informative)

          by nickos (91443) on Friday August 31, 2007 @03:55AM (#20422117)

          Corruption is the standard, not the exception.
          Perhaps where you live, but not in the Nordic countries [transparency.org]
      • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:05PM (#20418151)
        If this vote was bought. What about all the previous ones? How much is the SIS worth?

        The organisation has instantly lost all credibility.

         
      • And in a weird Art Imitating Life way- on my wife's favorite Soap Opera (The Young and the Restless) a major character was just sentenced to six years in jail for basically the same crime...though she used blackmail to buy the votes...
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by gameboyhippo (827141)
          Sure... It's your "wife's" favorite Soap Opera. *snicker* Marxist H4x0r watches soap operas!!!
          • Well, let's just say it's my "least favorite" TV show- but that any Marxist would find it boring. My wife, however, is of slightly lower IQ, and doesn't quite realize how predictable and stereotypically Marxist Capitalist most of the characters are (for instance, the two main families in the story line, the Abbotts and the Newmans, both slavishly follow the concept of separation of family and business ethics- with a wide variance between the two systems of ethics).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        For those who don't speak swedish, here's a rough translation of the article:

        meekrosuft iz zee bad for zee bribeeng oof zee svedes bork bork bork!
      • Re:No impact... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by p2sam (139950) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:45PM (#20418571)
        Sweden was ranked #6 in the 2006 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Perhaps they wouldn't do so well next year.

        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781359.html [infoplease.com]
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2007 @08:24PM (#20419413)
          At least they're fixing it. Sure, it'd be great if nothing had gone wrong to begin with, but things will and it's important to know that someone will do something about it, so I'll give Sweden some respect for that.

          Meanwhile, something like 40 countries have just decided that they want "P" status in the ISO (i.e. to be able to vote). Most, if not all, of them have gotten stuffed to the gills with Microsoft Partners who joined recently.

          So it's not just Sweden, and it remains to be seen whether these other countries will be able to do anything in time, or whether the ISO will get turned into a Microsoft puppet. Now *there* is a scary thought. No further standards without Microsoft's blessing? Ouch! I don't think they'll give up on the power they're gaining from this any time soon, not given how much money it must've cost to run a global campaign like this.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Divebus (860563)

            At least they're fixing it.

            Had to scroll way down to find this intellegent retort. Thank you. Part of the [any] process is discovering tomfoolery like this and righting it before it gets too far. The largest impact is revealing that OOXML (using a supposedly open XML-like syntax wrapped in proprietary digital glop from Microsoft) won't stand a chance unless someone is stuffing the ballot box. The Swedes are doing their part to root out and neutralize this kind of pressure from the Great Satan(TM) in the

          • by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:48AM (#20421193) Homepage

            it remains to be seen whether these other countries will be able to do anything in time, or whether the ISO will get turned into a Microsoft puppet. Now *there* is a scary thought.
            That is precisely what is going to happen, and yes, it is scary.

            Once, Microsoft had an unchallenged monopoly on the desktop. They didn't have to bother with standards; standards didn't matter, since Microsoft could basically unilaterally decide what actually was used in IT. "ISO shmISO", as they might say in these parts.

            Then, something strange happened - some governments decided they cared about standards after all, and things like ODF looked like they might get a foothold. Therefore Microsoft started to 'standardize' their offerings: .NET, and now OOXML. To ensure this process succeeds, they have to control the standard-governing bodies, and given their historical lack of shame and endless pockets, they will simply buy them. And this is exactly what we see happening.

            The first step for Microsoft is to get its products stamped as 'standards'. The next is to prevent competing projects from getting stamped as such. I expect to see, within a decade or so, that Microsoft products all carry ISO and ECMA logos, while Linux, OpenOffice, etc. will get derided by media shills as "those products that don't implement important international standards like OOXML, MicrosoftHTML, MicrOSoftIX, MS-DB" and other things I can't imagine right now, but I am sure Microsoft strategists will.
  • and that Microsoft partners aren't allowed to vote again - at least in Sweden.
  • Here is a translation of the OOMXL press release from SIS [www.sis.se] today:

    PRESS RELEASE
    From SIS, Swedish Standards Institute
    August 30, 2007


    Office Open XML - SIS invalidates the vote

    The swedish working group at SIS, Swedish Standards Institute, Document description languages SIS/TK 321/AG 17, decided in a vote on August 27, 2007, to vote yes to making Office Open XML an ISO standard. Today, the board of SIS decided to invalidate the vote.

    The reason for the board's decision is that the SIS has information indicating that one of the participants of the working group cast more than one vote. This is not compatible with SIS rules, which stipulate that each project sponsor has only one vote. Thus, the decision has been taken solely based on SIS rules. The decision does not reflect a position on the subject matter.

    Furthermore, the board considers it impossible for practical and formal reasons for the Swedish working group to arrange a new vote before September 2, 2007, when the global vote will be finished. If a new Swedish vote cannot be arranged, Sweden will abstain from voting.

    Background
    The proposal that Sweden has had under consideration is, briefly, about definig document formats for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. Office Open XML has its origins in the need to store electronic documents long term, and to be able to migrate files between different applications. The ISO vote will be finished on September 2, 2007.

    SIS is an independent non-profit organization, where the members' needs and wishes decide the direction for the standardization work. The members come from companies, organizations, and authorities.

    For further information etc...

    Please feel free to share, improve, or use this translation as you wish. Sharing is caring. Arrr! :)
    • As far as Microsoft is concerned an abstention is as good as a yes vote. Abstaining is like not having a no vote. Yeah, I know the double negative.

      Because Microsoft violated the rules this should count as a NO vote instead of an abstention.

      Yes, Microsoft tried to break the rules and did so by voting more than once.

      I can only imagine the IBM member's gut feelings when he left the vote early. One has to have felt so incredibly violated by such an act.

      Had Microsoft not been caught or been held to task they
      • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:46PM (#20417963)
        As far as Microsoft is concerned an abstention is as good as a yes vote

        I'm not so sure about this. This has pretty much blown up in MS's face thanks to all the publicity its generated. Keep in mind that MS is still facing anti-trust charges in the EU, and behavior like this won't help with that. On top of that it'll likely focus a lot of attention on all the other ISO member votes. Every single vote will likely be scrutinized closely by the press & public to look for even the slightest possibility of involvement by MS.

        What I think will be more important in the long run is how the ISO handles this. If they implement procedures to prevent this sort of abuse in the future then it'll help the ISO process. If they don't do anything then it just reinforces the belief by many that the ISO process can simply be bought & co-opted by companies like MS.
        • by ILikeRed (141848) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:59PM (#20418099) Journal
          What is interesting to me is that Microsoft still gets caught cheating in email all these years after the anti-trust scandals. I'm sure their lawyers are pulling their hair out trying to get the managers to stop sending things like this by email. They have a corporate culture of cheating, and they reward it internally, and it is indisputably part of what made them successful, but it has also become such a normal state of affairs that they have problems hiding it. Pretty amusing that such a relatively old technology is their continual downfall.
          • by Ash Vince (602485)
            Wow, I wish I had some mod points for your post.

            I reckon the only reason Microsoft have published the fact that one of their management sent this email is because he was stupid enough to send it via email. If he had done what he was told and done the same thing without leaving a paper trail he would have been promoted and given a huge pay rise.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Not sending such messages via email means that you think of such communications as something outside of normal practices, and treat it differently. Unfortunately, a lot of managers now think of hteir email as their filing cabinet. They store their information there, well organized or not, in ways that make it easy to retrieve notes and references for their own use. Watch at how many semi-competent VP's and department managers have a secretary with access to their email to organize it for them, and you'll se
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LordVader717 (888547)

        As far as Microsoft is concerned an abstention is as good as a yes vote. Abstaining is like not having a no vote.


        You sure about this? Because if they use normal absolute majority voting, then abstaining is practically the same as a No vote. If they haven't got a specific "YES" then that's one vote that's not going towards a majority.
        • Yes, I think PP is right, that the normal ISO process is that the body (ECMA in this case) which presents the proposed standard has already studied it for years and vetted it thoroughly, so therefore the *normal* case is unanimous approval, sometimes with comments; "no" vote with comments means approval but only after the comments have been solved; and "abstention" means that your country doesn't have a clue and leaves it to the others.

          On a national scale, it depends on each country how they decided to do

    • by hawk (1151)
      But that's just English. Where's the Sumerian & Egyptian???

      hawk
  • It seems to be the logical step. But how does this decision actually stand with current rules on the topic?

    We might all oppose Microsofts methods of getting the "yes" vote, but as an IT geek working with protocols and OO encapsulation I would say this: Rules are rules! Protocols are protocols! If they are weak, fix them for the future. Don't whine about the past flaws in your protocols.

    While Microsofts methods were perhaps immoral, they DID follow the protocol. Do we really want a situation where votes
    • While Microsofts methods were perhaps immoral, they DID follow the protocol. Do we really want a situation where votes can be nullified in spite of the fact that they were obtained by following the rules?
      Sweden was not disqualified for 'following the rules', but for violating the rules by voting more than once. Don't buy the spin from the anti-M$ trolls.
    • by clashdot (1034936) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:44PM (#20417943)

      You are right; they should not arbitrarily change the rules. However, the official reason why the vote was nullified was not that Microsoft bought themselves a bunch of sock puppets, but that one member at the meeting voted twice. The voting was done by a show of hand, and most likely it was Microsoft themselves, who had three representatives in the room, that by accident and in the excitement of the moment had two of those raise their hands. Reports from the meeting inform us that at that point the mood was ecstatic, the Microsoft goons cheering and applauding as they trumped their line through.

      The SIS is now vigorously denying that there is any other reason why the nullified the vote other than this technically proper reason to do so. Of course that is not true; the SIS board saw a way to salvage some of their credibility, built in a century and squandered in a day, by grasping onto this technicality.

      That being said, I do think the SIS voting model is fundamentally wrong and broken. The rules do indeed allow the party with the deepest pockets to carry the day. I'm sure this has happened before and it will happen again. I hope the SIS will not get away with this without implementing some thorough reform of how they operate. The same goes for the bodies in other countries that turned out to be easily corruptible.

    • A general rule of software engineering is that specification is just as subject to bugs as design or implementation. I think the same should stand for legal situations.

      We should not accept an error just because it didn't occur in design (standards) or implementation (enforcement of standards). This is why judges are allowed to overturn laws and the like. In this case the SIS may not have specified a specific method of cheating as invalid, but it's still invalid and we can see that clearly. Rather tha
  • "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy," said Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft. "That communication had no impact on the final vote."


    In other news tonight, the sun set in the west again, and the dark didn't follow along afterward. Climatological, astronomical, and biblical scholars are justifiably baffled.
  • The Swedish article at dn.se ( http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=678&a=686 933 [www.dn.se] ) mentions the voting being declared illegal because one participating person casted two votes. It's probably just a way for SIS to save face, but what if one of the no-parties called in declaring they cheated by holding both their hands up? Just a thought...
    • I don't believe it was one person voting two times. I believe it was that one entity had multiple representation and that is not allowed.
  • by sokkalf (542999) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:20PM (#20417635) Homepage
    This article (in swedish) http://computersweden.idg.se/2.2683/1.118680 [computersweden.idg.se] says that the decision to invalidate the vote was because of one voter voting twice, not because of Microsofts actions regarding the vote. Sweden will probably not have time to do another round of voting, so it looks as they will abstain.
    • by McNihil (612243) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:34PM (#20417801)
      Reading the pdf from SIS directly it doesn't say that.

      It says:

      "Motivet till styrelsens beslut är att SIS har information som pekar på att en av deltagarna i arbetsgruppen har deltagit i omröstningen med mer än en röst."

      which is saying that: one of the participants have used more than one vote.

      Nothing about two or three... more than one. This is the diplomatic way NOT to make it even more blatantly clear that it was Microsoft or is about Microsoft. The part "information som pekar" indicates that they don't have 100% written/audio/video proof and thus this rather "meek" abjection of vote.
    • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:38PM (#20417851) Homepage
      The one voting twice would be MicroSoft, through the company that admitted to having voted on their behalf. The reason only two votes were mentioned, it probably because that is the only confirmed case they know about.
    • Refund time (Score:3, Funny)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      Hopefully the SIS will offer a refund to all the honest corporations who were falsely led to believe they could buy a vote.

  • In the next (Score:3, Funny)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:21PM (#20417647) Journal
    vote it'll come out that they were voting on Diebold voting machines furnished by ProClarity Corporation [wikipedia.org]
  • by Trogre (513942) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:22PM (#20417659) Homepage
    "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy"

    Sorry we got caught, we'll try not to let it happen again.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BigBadBus (653823)
      Do you mean "Sorry we got caught, wei'll try not to get caught doing it again"?
    • Sorry we got caught, we'll try not to let it happen again.

      More like:

      Sorry we got caught. We've hung a low-level peon out to dry in an attempt to make it look like this was the work of one individual acting alone and not corporate policy. We'll try harder to hide our under-the-table dealings even better in the future.

      • by BigBadBus (653823)
        It sounds bad, but imagine if this underling was fired for his "behaviour" and sued M$ for unfair dismissal. I imagine the resultant court case would really dish the dirt on this evil behemoth of a company.
        • I'm afraid not. Welcome to the non-disclosure clauses of an employee contract. Bringing up corporate policy, in court, where you don't have a cheap and guaranteed win (such as a subpoena from that court) will be a violation of your contract and leave you vulnerable to a serious lawsuit that will break you on the wheels of slow-turning, big law-firm justice.

          Even where good whistleblower laws are in place, it's professional suicide to have a company as big as Microsoft unwilling to write you references, and t
    • where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy

      Was that you Steve?
  • Policy (Score:5, Funny)

    by laron (102608) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:39PM (#20417875)
    "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy"

    Said policy probably states that such communication should never happen over a traceable and archivable medium.
  • by Gonoff (88518) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:41PM (#20417895)

    If they are the moral successors of Al Capone, perhaps they can be tamed in the same way he first came unstuck?

    Perhaps even more attention should be paid to their financial activities...

  • by tygt (792974) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:42PM (#20417903)

    The reason for the board's decision is that the SIS has information indicating that one of the participants of the working group cast more than one vote
    I suppose that by buying votes, M$ effectively voted more than once, so both the referenced article and all of the conjecture could potentially be correct...
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @05:46PM (#20417975)

    e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy

    What's inconsistent with Microsoft's policy is getting caught doing this.

    • by Tribbin (565963)
      But I'm sure that this incident consistently as always will not really affect the reputation of Microsoft in the long run.
  • "inconsistent with our corporate policy"
    Yea normally Microsoft is the one demanding the money, not giving it.
  • Lies Come Crashing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:07PM (#20418161) Homepage Journal
    Now Microsoft's story is "a rogue employee who didn't affect anything".

    All we need now is someone to come forward from another country with a "coincidentally" similar story.

    I'd offer a cash reward for it, but that would influence the process. They'd just have to be satisfied with a world more free of Microsoft domination, maybe some more real innovation than the stagnation that the 80% Microsoft industry represents.
  • by dweller_below (136040) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:11PM (#20418203)
    Bottom line:

    Microsoft failed in it's attempt to buy a 'YES' vote from Sweden.

    Microsoft successfully used it's money to turn Sweden's 'NO' vote into an 'ABSTAIN' vote.

    Miles
  • How is buying votes inconsistent with Microsoft's normal mode of operations? They have been found guilty of so many transgressions that this is just another minor one - maybe *that* is what is inconsistent...
  • by AxelTorvalds (544851) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @06:20PM (#20418297)
    Whether or not they buy a vote seems almost immaterial to me. You know vendors tend to have seats on a lot of these types of standards committees and there is always a lot of personal protection going on. You'll never see Cisco at an IETF meeting backing something Cisco hasn't built already or backing something that is alternative to what Cisco is doing unless they've already decided to do it and by then they've usually built one.. IBM usually has an agenda before they get to ANSI or ISO or whatever the standards group is. Every company is that way. The smart ones go out of their ways to document the ever loving hell out of their technologies too so that it stands a better chance in these standards meetings and the really smart ones are open to accepting new ideas for their technology so that it can be standardized and have some consensus. (Do you really want to fight some obscure issue, of just ammend your standard to include it and make another company vote for it as a friend and supporter of the standard?)

    What's more alarming to me is that there is simply no way that OOXML is a rational standard, the voters clearly are not expert at it, nobody is backing it with an alternative implementation. I don't even believe an alternative implementation is really possible at this point, it's just not clear to me. Can you imagine how the internet wouldn't even exist if IETF standards were approached this way? It is very clear to me that the folks voting on this standard have not read it, it's 7000 pages, there simply isn't a way that they did. I don't want to out right just bash MS but they came late to the game and they simply have no track record of pushing for open standards, it's almost against their very nature. To ramrod this though will ultimately just undermine what it means for something to be "standard" and standards committee members should be aware of that, this won't make OOXML the standard so much as it will undermine the very concept of a standard for this technology. The fact that nobody on the committee is putting the brakes on to me indicates just how broken this comittee is and that the standard should be either dropped or restarted. If they aren't taking is seriously, then let's just kill the standard, I'd rather have none than a bullshit one.

    Open document formats is something that is fairly important. I bet you'd have trouble dealing with a lot of common document formats from just 15 years ago. Anyone process Wordperfect 4.2 and 5 files? How about Wordstar? Multimate anyone? Sure you can probably find a way to important them and make them usable but what about in another 5 years? As we digitize more documents, right now, we're almost making sure that in 100 years this will be a dark spot in history because they won't be able to process what records may exist, if they can get them off of the media (if the media is even good) It's good for mankind to produce some well defined, open and sane standards, it's also pretty good for business, how many formats does Office currently try to support? How much does that cost? Imagine if Office 2015 only supported like 3. I don't know what kinds of numbers MS spends on it, I'm guessing millions of dollars a year just on supporting Office file formats though and I couldn't imagine it really impacting the use of Office, it's a fine piece of software. I really don't even care if it's properly documented OOXML instead of the OASIS/OO.org XML format, it just needs to be properly documented and that documentation needs to be vetted before a vote happens. Maybe that's what MS really wants but these committee members are representing corporate interests as well as national ones in some cases and I can't possibly see how they can justify the job they are doing. No standard is better than a really fucked up one.

    • The documents were open to anyone who has the $50 or so it cost.

      I was doing it in Smalltalk/V Win to parse all of the documents produced by our analysts, several thousand of them (and I just happened to generate COBOL record layouts and screen maps [, which turned out handy because I was able to automate the generation of WinRunner test scripts,] and validated the APIs before the coders got the specs.)

      Saved a lot of tears all aroun and I couldn't have done it at all using Word.
    • by bwt (68845) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @08:53PM (#20419665) Homepage
      nobody is backing it with an alternative implementation

      Nobody is backing it with ANY implementation. Stéphane Rodriguez documented several non-trivial ways that MS Office fails to conform to OOXML. The purpose for MS is to waive their ISO standard around when government organizations try to insist on open standard file formats in procurement policy. The whole thing is disgusting. This may be the lowest I've ever seen MS stoop.

      nobody is backing it with an alternative implementation
      The sad thing here is that MS is succeeding at showing that the credibility of the standards creation process is defective. Simply put, there aren't any standards for standards.
    • by jesterzog (189797)

      Can you imagine how the internet wouldn't even exist if IETF standards were approached this way?

      We'd all be using massively centralised proprietary online services like Compuserve, AOL and The Microsoft Network (before they became internetized), which would put all the power of what content people could see in the hands of a few corrupt mega-corporations.

  • to send Ballmer to their zoo.

    I can just imagine monkey boy sitting in the cage flinging his poo, and some furniture, at visitors. :-)
  • yeah, getting caught so quickly is definately against policy.

    they didn't think it would happen until after it became a standard.
  • by MSPK (1002795) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @07:17PM (#20418881)
    Can anyone with some insight into the matter explain to me why microsoft is trying so badly to get OOXML accepted as a standard, and doesn't simply support ODF? Are there technical reasons (are Microsoft Office documents somehow easier to store in OOXML than ODF)? Political reasons (is Microsoft trying to control/corrupt an open standard, kinda like they did with Internet Explorer and HTML)? Cause in the end both formats try to be the exact same thing: An open standard to store documents. Why go through all the trouble?
    • by BigBadBus (653823)
      ....and is there any backwards compatibility with previous Office formats?
    • by Emetophobe (878584) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @09:19PM (#20419895)
      If everyone uses ODF, Microsoft loses their Office monopoly. There's no reason to use Office if there are better and cheaper alternatives which can read and write the same open document format. What Microsoft wants is a format that they claim is "open", but actually can only be properly understood by Microsoft Office. Without OOXML, Microsoft could stand to lose millions, maybe billions from companies switching away from Microsoft Office products (no more vendor lock-in).

      If ODF succeeds, Microsoft stands to lose a ton of money in the long run, this is unacceptable to Microsoft, so they will do anything they can to push their not-so-open OOXML format.
      • by Vexorian (959249)
        No, if ODF succeeds, MS will be forced to improve their products and actually care about the costumer in order to keep users, and that's something that goes against all what Microsoft stands for, what they want is to keep making products that sell automatically.
    • by jbengt (874751) on Thursday August 30, 2007 @09:37PM (#20420009)
      MS wants to be in control.
      If there's a truly open consensus format, Ms won't be able to lock in users as easily.
      If MS controls the format, they can pull the rug out from under others by extending it, since MS Word is the only (partial) implementation, and MS Word is a defacto monopoly, nobody else has a chance to keep up.

      MS doesn't want to do the hard work of making their .exes work with somebody else's format. MSOOXML apparently closely follows their internal document structure, seomwhat of an enhanced memory dump. This gives MS the advantage of doing less work to be compatible with MS Office, while making it hard for others to keep up. It also means that borked ideas, like getting leap years wrong in 1900 (backwards compatible to Lotus' mistake from 20 years ago), having MS or Mac Office compatible base date options, not using ISO date formats, tagging things differently in different contexts, etc., work in MS' favor, but nobody else's. It also allows for propreitary blobs, like ActiveX objects, to be embedded between "XML" tags.

      And to answer another comment to the parent, no, there is no real .doc backwards compatibility in MSOOXML, unless you count unelucidated black-box-type tags like "Line_Spacing_Like_Word_95" (not an exact tag, I forget the examples)

      But basically, there are a lot of governments and other institutions that want open formats, and are finally starting to formally insist on them. ODF started getting traction, so MSOOXML is MS's fast track response to try to stop the bleeding.
  • I can see it in Redmond now. The word of their carefully planned scheme got out and is now in the press around the world.

    The only thing that Balmer can say is, "Chairs!! I Need More Chairs!!

  • MS can work around the rules to subvert a vote (and get caught doing it) but yet the SIS got the vote invalidated on a technicality.

    I love hearing people who call themselves "grey beards" crapping on about how they love paying the MS tax cause of "i have no idea about computers, but i can pretend really well" (or words to that affect) and dont understand why there are people out there who fight against them so hard. I guess if you dont understand why you shouldnt really be in IT in the first place...
  • For those in the US. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ayjay29 (144994) on Friday August 31, 2007 @03:20AM (#20421963)
    This kind of thing has been going on for years over here in Europe, so it's nothing new to us.

    It typically occurs anually in an event known as "The Eurovision Song Contest", which has been a popular event here for the past three decades. The title here is quite missleading, although every country enters a song, and perfoms it during the contest, the songs actually have little or no connection to the voting that takes place afterwards.

    Countries can attrubite points to all counties except themselves from a scale of 10 to 1. The entertainment value comes from the voting procdure its self. Typically Sweden will give Norway 10 points, Norway will give Sweden 10 points. The slavic nations do the same. Grease and Turkey never give each other points, the same releation ship between France and England. No one likes the germans, (the songs may have some small influence on this). And the UK contestants can usually be seen popping the chanpaign corks towards the end of the voting when Ireland awards them one point.

    Things have got so bad recently that the contenst (traditionally featuring light entertianment artists) was won by a group of deth metal rockers from Finland who were dressed up as monsters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BlueParrot (965239)

      Things have traditionally been so bad that only light entertainment artists, which are all bad clone's of ABBA, have had a chance. Only occasionally does anything else, like a recent group of death metal rockers from Finland, make any progress at all.


      Fixed that for you.
  • by giafly (926567) on Friday August 31, 2007 @05:16AM (#20422461)

    "We had a situation where an employee sent a communication via e-mail that was inconsistent with our corporate policy," said Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft.
    How was it inconsistent? Simple. The employee broke corporate policy #1, "Don't get found out".

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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