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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:05 AM EDT

IDG in Sweden is reporting the contents of a leaked Microsoft memo sent to Microsoft partners there, telling them to join the Swedish Institute of Standards and vote yes on OOXML. As you know, 20+ newly registered Microsoft partner companies did so, thus switching the expected No vote to Yes at the last minute. It says Microsoft's representative Klas Hammar acknowledges the memo was sent, but says it should not have been.

It costs money to join SIS, registration of around $150 and an additional $1,150 or so to get to vote, so Microsoft is reported to have told partners in the memo that companies that paid the fee and voted appropriately would receive "marketing support" (”marknadsbidrag”) and "additional support in the form of Microsoft resources" (”extra stöd i form av Microsoftresurser”) -- that's a translation by Groklaw member Ghost, and I also used this free computer translation tool.

The partners didn't need to worry if they didn't know anything about the specification, the memo reassured them; it provided reasons why they should vote yes. In any case, the memo reportedly told them they wouldn't need to argue technical details, but would perhaps have to offer a few arguments why they voted yes, and these reasons would be provided by Microsoft. They'd have to go to two meetings.

IDG hence calculates that it cost Microsoft a little less than $30,000 to get a Yes vote in Sweden. Is this kind of pressure to tip a vote allowed under the ISO rules, by the way? If so, maybe it's time to tweak? Shouldn't voters at least have to understand the specification they are voting on? The public is going to be seriously impacted by the results of this vote. Shouldn't we expect voting to be based on having a clue, not just based on a list of talking points provided by a vendor insisting its standard be approved?

Here is the part about the memo, Groklaw member Ghost's translation into English:

In an informational email that, according to Microsoft, went "to a few" partner companies, they write among other things that their partners are "expected" to join the standards insitute and "participate on the meeting the 27/8, to vote yes to Open XML”.

The partner companies are also asked to participate in some additional meeting after the ballot, this to "show their good judgment".

For the partners that do not feel they are adequately knowledgeable about the subject, Microsoft offers ready-made arguments as to why Office Open XML should be accepted by SIS.

”[The partner companies] do not need to discuss the technical contents in the specification but should be prepared to offer a few arguments as to why they vote yes - these will be provided by Microsoft", the company writes. The fee for joining SIS is 15 000 SEK [appx $1200] and the partnership companies will have to cover this themselves, but the software giant offers "marketing support" and "additional support in the form of Microsoft resources" to the partners that join and participate in the ballot.

I know. Breathtaking. If Microsoft had a good standard, wouldn't everyone just vote for it authentically, without all this? And if a standard is passed like this, is it a standard? I confess I'm new to these parts, but surely this can't be how it's done, can it?

NoOOXML has a funny cartoon today that captures what is going on in ISO. It's a funny cartoon, but the real event it mocks is truly sad. And if you are curious why there is so much knowledgeable opposition to MSOOXML, you can read this article or check the list of links to objections on Groklaw's ODF/MSOOXML page.


Even Rick Jelliffe now says people should vote No with comments on OOXML. Here are the comments he sent to Standards Australia. Of course, it's easy to say that after it becomes clear that ballot stuffing can obtain a certain result no matter what anyone says. On Jelliffe's Talk page on Wikipedia, he wrote this about his relationship with Microsoft and Open XML:

In April, Microsoft has hired a training/systems/conferences company, Allette Systems (whom I have worked for on and off since the early 1990s, including several years as Senior SGML Consultant) to provide seminars in Asia/Pacific on the subject of Open XML, for which I will usually be the main trainer.

Without even peering too closely into motives, at least one can say that Microsoft could not convince a man it hired to train people in OOXML at conferences that one should vote Yes or even Yes with Comments. Where are the technical people, outside of Microsoft, who support a Yes vote?

This might interest you. Here is what Jelliffe wrote on August 10th about voting on OOXML in a comment he posted on Groklaw about the meeting in Australia he attended:

Not that it will make any difference, but I have no objections to countries voting no with comments that are in the spirit of the particular goals of Open XML and I think it would be a good idea to split the spec up.

Telling a country to vote No with Comments and telling people he's not opposed to such a vote isn't an identical stance to my paralegal mind. Perhaps enlightenment struck after the meeting.

The Linux Foundation has now issued a statement calling on nations to vote No with Comments.

And now there is another article telling about the Swedish vote, also in Swedish. It adds the detail that the IBM representative left prior to the vote in protest. An SIS representative defends the process, saying it's tactical, not against the rules. He acknowledges that the rules might need to be changed. And it quotes an SIS member, Marcus Rejas as saying that it means that all the work SIS put in to examine what standard is the best is now completely for nothing.


Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated | 342 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: feldegast on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:15 AM EDT
So they can be fixed

My posts are ©2004-2007 and released under the Creative Commons License
Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0
P.J. has permission for commercial use.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:17 AM EDT
I was once very impressed with ISO. As someone with a technical/scientific
background, I saw the co-operation of many countries and standard bodies as a
sign that human beings could put aside their own self interest for the benefit
of all. It is very sad that their trust in the goodness of human beings has been
shown to be rather naive. But the consequences could well go far far beyond the
OOXML/PDF issue and I am left feeling that everything after all has a price and
can be bought.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: skip on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:19 AM EDT
Here's a question for you.

To the best of my knowledge, No Microsoft format in reguler use (.doc .xls .pps
.ppt) has been an ISO standard, but have all in fact been de facto standards.

Of course until recently they had no need for such status, domination was
assured. Now a decent format competitor is around, and suddenyl they need ISO?
Haven't they themselves proved it means nothing in the document context?

Can this *really* be useful? or is it just a marketting ploy, I've never yet
heard anyone choose one format over another for anything based on its standing
with ISO, its always been one of two things, either its in common use, or it
does what they want.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] Off Topic comments here
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:22 AM EDT
I declare this thread for off topic comments.

Because it is better than having them dispersed among the on topic comments.

Free minds, Free software

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:22 AM EDT
If it were not so predictable this would be frightening! Has anyone thought
about publishing a list of these 'partners'?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ordinary Lobbying
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:26 AM EDT
I called a friend in Sweden who is deeply involved in standardization efforts
between and by various companies throughout Europe. He is not in computer
business, but still his perspective might be interesting still.

His remark, "That sounds like ordinary lobbying, sad but truly
common". He also thought it was strange that IBM gave up so easily, "I
would have thought more of them".

[ Reply to This | # ]

SIS: The companies that joind the ballot, and the complete list of members.
Authored by: ghost on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:30 AM EDT

Mebers that joined late (few days to a few minutes before the ballot)

* Camako Data AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Connecta AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Cornerstone Sweden AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Cybernetics (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Emric AB
* Exor AB (Microsoft Certified Partner)
* Fishbone Systems AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Formpipe Software (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* FS System AB
* Google
* HP (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* IBizkit AB (Microsoft Certified Partner)
* IDE Nätverkskonsulterna (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* IT-Vision AB
* Illuminet
* Know IT (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Modul1 (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Nordic Station AB (Microsoft Certified Partner)
* ReadSoft AB (Microsoft Certified Partner)
* Sogeti (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* Solid Park AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* SourceTech AB
* Strand Interconnect AB (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)
* TietoEnator (Microsoft Gold Certified Partner)

All the members of the SIS

* Camako Data AB
* Connecta AB
* Cornerstone Sweden AB
* Cybernetics
* Diamo AB
* Emric AB
* EPiServer
* Exor AB
* Fishbone Systems AB
* Formpipe Software
* FS System AB
* Google
* HP
* HumanData Inventus AB
* IAMCP Sweden Chapter
* iBizkit AB
* IDE Nätverkskonsulterna
* Illuminet
* IT-Vision AB
* KnowIT
* Kungliga biblioteket
* Microsoft AB
* Modul1
* Nordic Station AB
* ReadSoft AB
* Riksarkivet
* Sogeti
* Solid Park AB
* SourceTech AB
* Strand Interconnect AB
* Sun Microsystems AB
* TietoEnator
* Verva
* WM-Data Sverige AB

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Microsoft had a good standard ??
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:32 AM EDT
PJ: If Microsoft had a good standard, wouldn't everyone just vote for it
authentically, without all this?

Err. no. probably not as there is now a prejudice agaisnt M$ that is spread far
and wide. Actually, you could easily argue that its a well-deserved prejudice,
becauser they havce caused pain once or twice too often, so, now their card is

So, no, even if it was a good standard (which it isn't by the way) people would
not vote for it, so I can sort of understand why they have done what they have
doen, not that I approve by the way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:41 AM EDT
From :

Vote results: 25 YES, 6 NO, 4 members absent.

New YES votes: (19 members since 23 Aug. 2007 or later)

* Camako Data AB
* Connecta AB
* Cornerstone
* Emric AB
* Exor AB
* Fishbone Systems AB
* Formpipe Software
* FS System AB
* HP
* iBizkit AB
* IT-Vision AB
* KnowIT
* Modul1
* Nordic Station AB
* Sogeti
* Solid Park AB
* SourceTech
* TietoEnator

New NO vote: (entered 23 Aug. 2007)

* Google

Old YES votes: (6 members)

* Diamo AB
* EPiServer
* HumanData
* IAMCP Sweden Chapter
* Microsoft
* WM-Data Sverige AB

Old NO votes: (latest member was registered on 9 Aug. 2007)

* Illuminet
* Kungliga biblioteket
* Riksarkivet (chair)
* Sun
* Verva

Members leaving the meeting before the vote: (all but IBM (old member) filed
applications after 23 Aug. 2007)

* Cybernetics (Microsoft Gold Partner)
* IBM (NO)
* Readsoft AB (Microsoft Certified Partner)
* Strand Interconnect AB (Microsoft Gold Partner)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 08:51 AM EDT
MS: "They'd have to go to two meetings."

Bob Sutor: "[P Members] must vote and they are expected to take part in any
Ballot Resolution Meeting"

Do these new Participating Members know what they're getting into (for the sake
of transitory MS 'help')? From what I understand, this BRM could go on quite a
while. If it happens at all. If they don't participate in an extended Ballot
Resolution Meeting, will anyone ever care? Does ISO have any actual rules that
must be followed? Or are they all bypassable?

From the outside looking in, ISO seems to work well when the participants are
earnest about good standards. But it's all too easily corrupted.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I guess MS/USA is not the only source of evil
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:02 AM EDT
On occasion I read comments, on this list and elsewhere, disparaging the USA for
some action or other. I also see comments extolling the virtues of the
rationality of technical and other such people, e.g. scientists or engineers (I
am a scientist myself). It is amusing to see both views so soundly trashed by
this unethical act; because surely the imposition of a suboptimal standard like
OOXML on millions of people with the intent to maintain a captive market and
this to the applause of some businesses and governments cannot be construed as

JAM; not logged in

[ Reply to This | # ]

M$ compensates for voting...hmmmmmm
Authored by: itchytweed on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:03 AM EDT
I believe what the translation is describing is "vote buying" and I
know that is illegal in the US to do for governmental elections. There is an
alderman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that is currently sitting in the clink for an
alleged scheme to buy votes to keep him from getting recalled.

If I was the ISO, Sweden, and who else who coordinated the vote, they should
throw out the results for being corrupted. Plus, since the memo is claimed to be
authentic, especially by a M$ talking head, the EC should really step in and
take the footgun away from SCO, reload it with hollowpoints and aim it at M$.

Now methinks that this may have been part of the procedure for the other EC
votes as well. The EC and ISO should look into this pattern and if ANY
irregularity is noted, then the vote at that time should be held in abeyance
until the voting for each session can be proved to be on the level without any
corruption or collusion...(wink, wink).

-- Itchytweed

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Question Is:
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:03 AM EDT
Will ISO continue do nothing to correct this miscarriage of standardisation?
Even if enough people scream loudly enough?

Their silence speaks volumes.

There's more to this than meets the eye. For instance, how are the chairmen of
these meetings chosen? The lobbying (or corruption or whatever you want to call
it) occurs at many levels.

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity – and I'm not
sure about the former. -- Einstein

[ Reply to This | # ]

Contact details of anti-monopoly commission?
Authored by: Peter Baker on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:07 AM EDT
I was wondering if this wasn't a prime example of anti-competitive behaviour,
i.e. nice, juicy food for the people in Europe which are already investigating

AFAIK the OOXML spec is roughly of the same quality as the SMB documentation
(i.e. largely useless, and impossible to implement by any other vendor) and
especially the actions in Sweden expose what MS is doing to quite a serious

Ergo, this clear evidence of blatant standards rigging should be of interest
(a) any government body as the assumed concensus doesn't exist but is bought
(i.e. it should in principle disqualify OOXML from selection even before the
vote is completed)
(b) any anti-monopoly commission as this amounts to clear abuse of process.

Given the large quality gap between OOXML and ODF documentation it is clear that
OOXML will never contribute to market competition as it's unwieldy and
impossible to implement and constructed in isolation. ODF is the culmination of
a long collaborative process to arrive at a usable and practical docuemnt format
which has, in fact, already been implemented in quite a few applications.

ODF is to the document world what RFC is to the Internet. The Kerberos affair
has already proven that wilful abuse is possible if collaboration is not part of
a vendor's make-up.

For the sake of market competition, OOXML should not become ISO certified.

However, if you want to *really* punish Microsoft you should ensure that any
Government wanting to deploy Open Standards requests proof of compliance and a
competing implementation, in other words, Governments have the choice between
ODF and OOXML as long as the vendor can prove full compliance with the spec and
the openness.

For ODF based suites that is easy to do, but as MS has provided OOXML it will
have to provide independent proof of compliance with every page and aspect of a
seriously deficient 6000 page specification, and source an independent,
non-owned or related rival implementation.

That would be rather cruel. It would also be terribly funny to watch MS
executive receive such requirements.

I think it's called return on investment..

= P =

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft is like a cancer
Authored by: Gath on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:11 AM EDT
Microsoft is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual corrupt sense to everything it touches. It is a disease riddled entity that spreads its cancerous tendrils like a virus. Now the honorable body of ISO has been infected from its arm in Sweden to its Portuguese pancreas on down to its Australian leg.

;-> what's good for the goose is good for the gander

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO Should save face...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:11 AM EDT
...and reject votes from new members.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:56 AM EDT
From the Computer Sweden article (my translation):
We don't buy yes-votes. It would be ridiculous to think we could do it, says Klas Hammar.
They did and could.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:02 AM EDT
What's unfortunate is, as I understand it Microsoft partners pretty much live
and die by being in Microsoft's good graces. The article posted in news picks
last month was a pretty clear indication: the author suggested that partners
refrain from using the verb "to google" when meeting with contacts in
Redmond and base their solutions completely around Microsoft products. As I
recall, he also pointed out that partners with mediocre solutions based entirely
on Microsoft products could expect more support from the company than partners
who made a better solution that integrated Microsoft products with third party

It's dirty pool any way you put it, problem is I can't readily think of a way to
stop it. It's anticompetitive enough that a complaint could be filed, but at the
same time there has to be enough potential revenue down the road from OOXML
being ratified that they'll probably just eat whatever fines the EU imposes and
call it a cost of doing business.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ISO Code Of Ethics
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:02 AM EDT
From the ISO Code Of Ethics
ISO parties are committed to: Making their best endeavors to contribute to ISO's consensus building mechanisms coherence and global relevance by:

* Applying ISO's authorized procedures properly and diligently;

* Preventing conflicts of interest by communicating in a fair and transparent manner when work on new standards is initiated and subsequently on the progress of their development, ensuring that market needs are driver for the development of standards.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Preservation of evidence
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:10 AM EDT
I just hope the memo has been lodged in a safe place to prevent any accidents
that may befall it... I want to see pdfs of this memo all over the web so it
can't be taken down...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nature of OfficeOpen
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:16 AM EDT
Don't you think that OfficeOpen XML is no more and no less than the functional
design for an Office application instead of a document standard?

[ Reply to This | # ]

FYI, the chair of the BRM will be Alex Brown
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:20 AM EDT
who has a blog called There is no end, but addition

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:29 AM EDT
”marknadsbidrag” translates bettre to "marketing contributions" and
hints strongly towards money.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Controversy - Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 10:37 AM EDT
Do you think all of this controversy and shenanigans will make a whits worth of
differenece when the MS salesman shows up on your friendly government's doorstep
with standard in hand?

Look, this product meets international standard.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IEEE dealt with Chaos in Standards Development
Authored by: ankylosaurus on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:06 AM EDT
The IEEE develops standard - real, useful ones like wireless networking ones. And, back in December 2006, there was a report like this:
05 December 2006 08:00 AM (GMT -05:00)
(From The Institute print edition)
Standards Uproar Leads to Working Group Overhaul


The move this year to suspend the IEEE working group developing the latest version of high-speed broadband Internet access was rare, but not unprecedented. It forced the IEEE Standards Association’s Standards Board to take a hard look at who is on its working groups and to tighten procedures to ensure that IEEE standards are developed in a fair and open process.

The full article may or may not be readily accessible (being a member of the IEEE, I could have relevant cookies in place), but can be found at one of the following URLs (they should all lead to the same page): b2275875bac26c8/index.jsp?&pName=institute_level1_article&TheCat=2201&am p;article=tionline/legacy/inst2006/dec06/wimax.xml&

Note that IEEE took the steps to prevent abuse of the system.

In my view, ISO/IEC needs to do the same, though it is has a hard job since it deals with a multitude of autonomous country SDOs (standards developing organizations).

The Dinosaur with a Club at the End of its Tail

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:19 AM EDT
Maybe we should stop whining and just up the price.

Say, $150,000US per vote.

Then we all become voting members. At $2500 a head, we could each make a rather
decent profit at M$ expense :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Quousque tandem abutere Catilina...
Authored by: ilde on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:28 AM EDT
"Quousque tandem abutere Catilina patientia nostra ?"

The initial phrase of the first discourse of roman Cicero against Catilina in 63
B.C., where the famous orator, then a Roman Consul, attacked the pretentions of
Catilina to subvert the stablished order of the Roman Empire by taking over the

Is there really no way of stopping Microsoft to corrupt ISO, and all the other
bodies in charge of preserving --among other things-- the quality of the

What can be done? Are there no provisions for this kind of actions? Can the
final voting be cancelled or postponed while Microsoft's misbehabiour is
investigated and the wrong doing corrected?

Are we really at the mercy of Microsoft now and forever?

[ Reply to This | # ]

American Democracy
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:36 AM EDT
Why is everyone shocked? This is "American Democracy" at work.

The more votes you can buy the better. This is what is playing out right now
with presidential campaigns. The more empty promises you make to the voters the
better chance you have on winning plus raise as much money to "bribe"
the voters.

This is yet another American democracy exported to the word to create world

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS's error was leaving a paper trail
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:38 AM EDT
The real way to bribe, I mean lobby, is on the golf course or someplace else
that won't leave a paper trail. Also, never promise a quid pro quo. Just say
"We appreciate our partners and give marketing support to those partners
that show us the most support. We have a new marketing rollout that will help
our key partners to the tune of ${price} each" and "we are committed
to participating in industry standards bodies. We are active in {high number}
of standards bodies in your country and {higher number} worldwide. We hope our
partners are active in those standards bodies that affect them," then, 3
holes later "by the way, I see your company is not yet a member of {body}.
{Body} is a key standards body for projects that affect both you and Microsoft,
including {project}. The cost to join such {body} is ${price}. Please consider
joining and participating in discussions on {project}."

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Microsoft Payola" & "Stuffing the Ballot Box"
Authored by: David Dudek on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:42 AM EDT
The "Microsoft Payola" scandal dwarfs the old record companies illegal practices. The use of the terms "Microsoft Payola" and "Stuffing the Ballot Box" would make it easier for the layman to grasp the concept of what is happening.

David Dudek

[ Reply to This | # ]

IDC Paper (Sponsored by Microsoft) on Adopting Document Standards
Authored by: ankylosaurus on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:58 AM EDT
From a Dr Dobbs Report ("Dr. Dobb's Report" dated 2007-08-29, <>):

Adopting Document Standards

According to a recent IDC survey entitled Adoption of Document Standards commissioned by Microsoft, organizations are increasingly interested in employing XML-based standards, primarily due to interoperability between tools and ease of transition from existing document bases to new standards.

Other findings include:

  • Large organizations with diverse business needs prefer multiple document standards.
  • Although IT managers appear to strongly prefer a single standard to reduce cost and complexity of implementation, line-of-business managers closer to the daily needs of business support the desire for multiple document standards.
  • PDF, Open XML, and OpenDocument Format are all in use today, with PDF viewed as the dominant standard and Open XML demonstrating "more traction in the market compared to other XML-based standards."
  • Companies in Europe with an interest in Open XML expect to be piloting or fully deploying the standard a year from today. Those interested in ODF are more likely to be in the "consideration" phase rather than piloting or fully deploying it within that same time frame.

"Pragmatic business needs are clearly on top of mind when it comes to standards adoption, both within the public and private sector," said Per Andersen, managing director of IDC Nordic. "The survey results reveal that multiple document standards are deployed today, and that companies see the transition of the existing base of documents as one of the most important criteria when selecting a document standard."

Survey respondents included managers charged with supporting document standards in 200 organizations (100 in the U.S. and 100 in Europe). 50 organizations with more than 250 employees were selected from the public sector, another 50 from the commercial sector.

The Dinosaur with a Club at the End of its Tail

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Tezzer on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 11:59 AM EDT
I wonder if there is a country honest (or brave) enough to decide that a
'standard' obtained by fraudulent means is illegal and therefore may not be
implemented at all in that country.


[ Reply to This | # ]

What a Bargain!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 12:23 PM EDT
$30,000 USD for a country's vote. That is less than any lobbyist in the US. No
wonder this ISO fiasco is so successful, it is costing practically nothing to
make it work!

-- Alma

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • What a Bargain!!! - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 09:49 PM EDT
It looks like M$ is smarter than IBM and co...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 12:29 PM EDT
They could have gotten participants for the same cost.

[ Reply to This | # ]

too bad results are public
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 12:51 PM EDT
So MS knows who vote for or against.
I thought the reason for secrecy in elections is that voters cannot be pressured
(sanctions afterward) the election.

[ Reply to This | # ]

March of the 'blind' supporters
Authored by: TiddlyPom on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:01 PM EDT
The problem is that computer users are now separated along the lines of those who blindly support Microsoft come what may and everybody else (who generally do not support Microsoft when they understand a bit more what the company is really like).

I definitely support Linux (and use it all the time) but am not a 'blind' supporter of Linux. There are plenty of problems with even the most user friendly distributions (I use Ubuntu Linux and have been fighting a losing battle with MythTV and LinuxMCE for a while now) so I can see both sides.

With Windows it seems that you either hate it or love it. Many of my collegues who develop software for Windows view me as somewhat eccentric or even some sort of open source zealot because I don't use Windows on a day-by-day basis. This is what you are fighting with Microsoft's attempt to make OOXML an ISO standard.

I have attempted to talk to a few Windows Users about this (subject) and the few who were at all interested had the attitude that

Well wouldn't it make it easier to share documents using Microsoft's format as then all work processors would have to conform to the standards office document formats.
i.e. In effect that the Microsoft Office formats are already a world standard so let's adopt those!

Contrast that with the Linux developers that I know who all have the same view that a 6000 page standard is pretty stupid and not really a standard at all.

I know a fair number of very intelligent and talented Windows programmers and end users (such as business analysts) who just consider anybody wanting to use anything other than Microsoft Vista, Microsoft Office, SQL Server etc to be pretty stupid. You can present all the facts you like (and believe me I have) but it just doesn't sink in. The only hope is that people are starting to wake up to the fact that Vista really is not the best operating system in the world (to be kind) and are sticking to XP at the moment.

We are fighting a Microsoft-is-always-right mindset and I guess (unfortunately) that this might also mean some people who should be a bit more impartial. Couple this with Microsoft's surrent business practices which are not (IMHO) very ethical at all and we have a problem.

The only answer is more publicity for open source software (and Linux) to counter to continuous FUD and directy tricks from Redmond and perhaps people will stop playing puppets for Microsoft (which is what appears to have happened in Swedan)

Open Source Software - Unpicking the Microsoft monopoly piece-by-piece.

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ISO needs
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:06 PM EDT
a requirement of 3 years acvtive participation before anyone can vote. That
would stop any stacking dead.

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  • ISO needs - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 02:20 PM EDT
No Word Needed For Microsoft Payola
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:15 PM EDT
"We" need a new word for the dictionary for the issue of Gates,
Microsoft, Payola:

Lets put our couple thousand heads together to come up with new word - I'll even
put up a web site gratis dedicated to "Gates, Microsoft, Payola" with
the new word in the URL :

Here's my lame dumb contributions (I am sure that there are more creative types
here) - so let's hear it:


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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:15 PM EDT
funny we didn't see IBM's or SUN's business partners join in the voting after
paying the fee. at least they look like they have some ethics.

microsoft knows what is at stake here and they will fight tooth and nail.
ethics have nothing to do with their business model. as long as they have a
business it is all good <sarcasm>.

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:29 PM EDT
This is just another demonstration that BG and SB are
completely without morals or ethics, and that they
are above and immune to all rules and laws. Therefore,
M$ is totally free to do whatever, whenever, to whoever
it chooses without fear of interference or reprisal.

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Unrealistic expectations
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:34 PM EDT
I have been reading here, from Microsoft claiming they aren't affected by GPLv3,
to this stuff with OOXML

I think Groklaw'ers have really unrealistic expectations.

Let's take at look at the "worst case" scenario for a moment
(I mean worst case for Microsoft)-

Say FSF sues Microsoft, and presumably wins, what's the worst that can happen to

Probably having to pay a fine of a few hundred million $.
But, so what?

And say somehow they are sued or whatever for the stuff they're doing at
ISO/OSI, so what? Another few hundred million in fines, maximum?

big whoop.

I just don't see what everyone is getting so worked up about. what's the worst
that can happen to Microsoft?
they're pretty cash goes down a bit?

they pay some fines, and the problems go away?

see, this is a problem with a company that large, they can buy their way out of
anything, no matter how bad.

In fact, I see the next steps Microsoft in paying of senators, and paying off
getting anti-competition laws rewritten in their favor.

they have the cash, they could do it.
and if a country doesn't want to "play ball"
they just do what SBC did to South Africa.... ruin it.

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 01:37 PM EDT
Archivists and archaeologists are the real judge of this. And they can't now and
into the future have no hope of reading any of Microsoft's formats.

Think of all the history that can't be written because the documents with the
information is some unreadable digital stuff.

Bill Gates legacy will be a black hole in history where there is no readable
record of what happened.

yoda one

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ISO President is Swedish
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 02:15 PM EDT

Interesting, no?

See here for Principal Officers.

One of the banner ads on their site says

"When it's something as important as Global Warming ... You have to be able to trust the figures ... ISO Greenhouse Gas Emission Certification".

Maybe that should be "You have to be able to buy the appropriate figures."

What credibility will they have left for any of their programs after this Microsoft orchestrated travesty?

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Take Microsoft to Task - Someone or Company Implement an OpenXML work-alike
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 03:51 PM EDT
I would like someone or company or organization to take Microsoft to task by
creating an implementation of MSOOXML to their spec. Make it open source. If
you a package with support and media (cdrom), then they can pay a small fee.
There are several examples of code of where to start.

If Microsoft sues based on this open source implementation, then we know they
were lying all along.

Another advantage of this project will be for understanding the differences
between MSOOXML and ODF so we can create better import/export filters.

Any takers?

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Authored by: Toon Moene on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 04:00 PM EDT

I (still) see several posts by people who think that this is a "first". Please read the following about the making of the Fortran 90 Standard (excerpt of the paragraph "The new men"):

But for whatever reason, during the latter part of the 1980s X3J3 grew significantly in size, and most of the new members were of the traditionalist tendency - a factor of importance given X3's requirement of a two thirds majority - and also mostly representing vendors.

(X3J3 was the - then - name for the ANSI Fortran Standardization Committee). While far smaller in scale, it is the same attitude.

Toon Moene (A GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

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That's a non sequitur.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 05:50 PM EDT
The parent to your reply said that ISO has in the past been somewhat informal
and collegial, do you deny this to be true? My experience with discussions
about the development of language standards is in agreement with the parent --
the standard is developed on an informal basis by consensus, it's difficult
getting as many people involved as they would like, and there is heavy
participation by vendors who will have to implement the approved standard.

I think ISO's involvement with language standardization is a much closer
comparison than weights and measures.

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All's Not Lost
Authored by: SteveOBrien on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 05:54 PM EDT
Although Microsoft is apparently able to buy an ISO certification, there are
natural consequences for both Microsoft, their customers, and the rest of us to
what they are doing:

First and probably worst from a long-term perspective is that many people will
be much more suspicious of the ISO process in the future. I would NEVER have
thought that what Microsoft is doing could actually be successful with the ISO,
but I was very wrong - I am actually glad to at least know how easily the
standards-setting process can be taken over.

Realistically, those customers that adopt Microsoft's OOXML "standard"
will find that ONLY Microsoft products can successfully utilize the full
standard. This will lock them into Microsoft's products, prices, and policies,
and in the long term, they will pay in many ways. This, of course, is good for
Microsoft, but very bad for their customers that think that they are getting
some sort of product that can actually be used with anything other than another
Microsoft product.

Linux and Apple are gaining momentum in the market. There will be a competitive
advantage to those entities that use ODF compatible products. The ability to
use an ODF document with any platform and with the products from many different
vendors will have a demonstrable benefit.

In the long run, the market will make the best decision, not some corruptable
standards body. It just makes our job of persuading organizations to use the
Open products a bit harder. Microsoft is a great competitor; a win over them
will be sweet indeed.

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Fighting back (in Europe)
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 29 2007 @ 07:13 PM EDT
One way to fight against this obvious corruption of National Standards Bodies in
Europe, would be to bring these appalling circumstances to the attention of
(opposition) politicians, since these are the ones with the power to cut through
the fog -- besides it being their job to protect the interests of the people.
Given the large number of people frequenting Groklaw, who seem to have an issue
with Microsoft's behavior, the power of collaboration might just raise enough
waves to rock the boat.
Let us collect all the tactics used (Gold Partner must vote for OOXML, spurious
rule changes as to who can and cannot participate, chair's conflict of interest,
etc, etc), the names and affiliations of those 'sudden' members, the
ramifications of implementing a vendor-specific standard, and anything else that
is not right about this.
Use this information as a boiler plate letter, with country specifics left blank
for citizens to fill in, and send this to politicians. Use the media to put
pressure on those that ignore this.
Additionally, a generated list of pointed questions to use in letters to
National Standardization bodies, regarding their rules/chapters, and how these
are in accordance or conflict with what is actually happening might also cause a
stir. Particularly if the media could get wind of it.
For the corporate players, the power lies in money.
For private citizens, the power lies in numbers.

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 30 2007 @ 08:58 AM EDT
You know, I was just thinking (potenially dangerous) that
M$ has to get ISO certification so they can force the rest
of the world to use M$ products through vendor lock-in.
The reason for this is that if M$ looses their grip in
other nations and countries, the US will fall behind in
the computing world because the US will still be locked
in to M$ but all the rest of the world will be using Linux.
The US cannot afford to fall behind and it is too wedded
to M$ to dump it, so the only way the US can stay ahead
is to make sure that other countries don't escape M$

Another point is that it can become very difficult to
spy on or control users of Linux if the users start using
secured and encrypted systems. On many occasions M$ has
clearly demonstarted that user security and user privacy is
not very high on their feature list. As I recall, all the
of the versions of winblows that have had real networking
have had back doors and allowed remote control of the
system. Some may scoff at this and say it is paranoia on
my part or that is is old news, but it is very relevent
and should not be forgotten.

How many people REALLY know, for sure, what is in vista?

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Microsoft - "We admit, but it was a mistake"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 30 2007 @ 09:02 AM EDT
Unfortunately, only in Swedish:

Still, the admit it.

Also, it was a "mistake"...

Also, it was done by a "loner", and it was "not sanctioned by
anyone in charge"...

And, what more?


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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 30 2007 @ 09:21 AM EDT
someone has a copy of the email/memo ? it would be very interesting reading

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, August 30 2007 @ 01:48 PM EDT
Can the rapport of those meeting not be considered as a government act and be
challenged in an administrative court? In that case a request to break the act
on which the decision was noted could then be motivated by general principles
about proper procedures and government, I think. And it could then be based on
the country's law and on international treaty's. For EU members an appeal before
an European court should be possible.

I don't know the effect on the ISO body if the votes of members would later be
broken and declared not to exist.

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Microsoft Memo to Partners in Sweden Surfaces: Vote Yes for OOXML - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, August 31 2007 @ 10:46 AM EDT
This is my favourite quote from the letter.

'You don't need to discuss the technical aspects of the specification but be
prepared to tell them your reasons for voting 'yes' - you'll get these reasons
from Microsoft.'

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