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EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push
Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:32 PM EST

Now that it's making headlines in the mainstream press that the EU Commission is investigating Microsoft's behavior in trying to get MSOOXML accepted as an ISO "standard", I want to simply remind the world that Groklaw has a permanent ODF/MSOOXML page, including a chronology, where all the events can be tracked, month by month, since the Massachusetts events began in January of 2005.

Other primary resources you can find on the ODF/MSOOXML page are links to significant blogs that focus on this issue and a Miscellaneous section, where you will find the information surrounding the Massachusetts saga, technical white papers, and transcripts of public meetings. I hope it's all helpful. I always believed this was at least a possibility that someday someone would look into the behavior we were seeing, and that was one additional reason why we decided to create a permanent resource. I want to thank all the Groklaw volunteers who helped with this page over the years, particularly grouch for helping me by maintaining the page, and Scott Lazar, mojotoad, Chris Knadle, Adrian, Mecha, and Ed_L for helping getting it set up in the beginning. The Internet being what it is, if you notice any older links that no longer resolve, please send me that information, so we can tweak.

If you recall, the EU Commission earlier mentioned two antitrust investigations, with the MSOOXML being a part of the one on interoperability. I gather from the linked Wall St. Journal article and Andy Updegrove's analysis that it is now a third, separate investigation on its own. Take a look at the chronology, read the articles linked to, and I think you'll understand why the Commission has apparently agreed to at least investigate. I hope they think to investigate the smear campaigns that seem to always happen to anyone on the other side from Microsoft. What happened to Peter Quinn was by no means unique.


EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push | 224 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Off Topic here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:34 PM EST
Please make links clickable!

(If you don't know how, post anyway and someone else will happily make a
clickable link for you)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: MathFox on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:35 PM EST
We have one on each story

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks discussions here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:38 PM EST
As always about links, post away, making links clickable if you can - if you
don't know how to make a link clickable, someone will be glad to give you a

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: bigbert on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:38 PM EST
Let the light of truth shine on these activities, and let's see.......

Surfo, ergo sum.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:41 PM EST
I wish the US Doj. had half the integrity of the EU.

[ Reply to This | # ]

All the fines in the world will not stop MS! Only solution = split MS up into 5 parts!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:48 PM EST
All the fines in the world will not stop MS! Only solution = split MS up into 5

It is like an octopus now. You cut off one arm it grows another. It is huge,
and out of control. It uses the courts to delay, and make billions! The court
costs AND small fines, afterall, what is a billion dollars to Microsoft..., all
these expenses... are just marked down as a cost of doing business! A normal
day for Microsoft that only Microsoft can do!

Hmmm, I wonder if they get a tax deduction for all this legal cost and fines?

It is time to split up the company into 5 independent parts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 03:49 PM EST
Microsoft's contributions to European political campaigns is apparently

[ Reply to This | # ]

wrote to my EU commissioner
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 04:53 PM EST
I wrote to my country's EU commissioner about the MS OOXML ISO issue a while
ago. Guess it payed off.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Ditto - Authored by: Peter Baker on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 02:28 AM EST
    • Ditto - Authored by: bberrign on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 03:12 AM EST
    • Ditto - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 09:39 AM EST
The Chill
Authored by: PolR on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 05:37 PM EST
Imagine you are a delegate at the BRM. The EC hasn't published the outcome of
its inquiry, so you can't take it into account as long as there is a possibility
they find every thing kosher. (ha! ha!)

But this inquiry casts a shadow in the room. What if OOXML is adopted and the EC
decide this is because of improper influence? What if they say OOXML would never
have been adopted without anti-trust violations? You may have to answer on your
role in the adoption. Depending on which side you voted, you are either and
accomplice or a hero that tried to resist the tide. Or you may pretend to be a
fool that didn't understand a thing and voted for OOXML in good faith. this is
hard to believe when this debate makes the headlines all over the place and some
other delegate raise the point during the meeting.

If you are an ISO official, you have to worry about explaining your role in the
process. You need to prepare to answer tough questions. What are the safeguards
there are in ISO against such interference? How did you implement them? Should
the ISO standardization of OOXML be revoked if it is adopted in improper

There is a question that could be raised right now. When there is an anti-trust
inquiry on the process, can you adopt the standard when things are less than
squeaky clean?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT a bit: SCO layoffs
Authored by: AndyC on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 06:22 PM EST
Yahoo news item on the 8-K.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is the power of the internet and knowledge mixed
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 06:26 PM EST
I expect to start seeing more and more blogs similar to groklaw soon now, as
people start to realise the power of grouped and shared knowledge, coupled with
a pasionate interest in whatever subject.
Truly nothing can be hidden any more.
10 years ago no one would have blinked, let alone heard anything of any of this
unless you were in the right circles.
I dont have much to contribute to this particular project, but i remain
interested as i have from the start, of the sco suits, as im sure many other
people do.
Big companies really can no longer hide from anyone.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 08 2008 @ 09:44 PM EST
This is great. The EU likely won't be able to act in time to stop OOXML from
being approved by the ISO. However, the number one reason Microsoft wants
approval is that governments around the world, in part as a consequence of ODF
and all the publicity around it, are demanding document interoperability.

If the EU rules a year or two from now that Microsoft cheated in wining ISO
approval and isn't entitled to be considered a true open standard, then the
various EU national governments of the EU are going to reject it for ODF, and
likely many other governments will too.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's Money
Authored by: BassSinger on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 03:02 AM EST
An interesting thread came across Linux-Users list this last week under the
heading "Memory Tweak":

>> The big news of M$'s buyout of Yahoo is getting a lot of attention in
>> the media, but nobody has mentioned the ads M$ ran on TV 1-2 years ago
>> proclaiming its development of a search engine technology that would
>> leave everything else in its dust.
>> Does the Yahoo buyout effort signify a major expensive failure which
>> may be trying to cover up?
> Well something IS going on for sure... MSFT offered $44.6 billion for Yahoo
while microsofts cash reserve is "only" $17 billion. MSFT stated that
they would have to take a loan to fully implement the buyout. Where did the
money go? Last I heard, back in the good old days, they had like a $60 billion
cash reserve...
> How do you burn through so much capital without investors screaming bloody
hell? Amazing how times have changed for one of the most unfriendly of
> And worse yet, how do you make an offer like they have for Yahoo and not
have the cash onhand to do the deal? And buying another failing tech company, in
this economic climate is... crazy.

MS has been burning thru something like 20B per year the last few years, mostly
in acquisitions.

Just thought you all might enjoy this angle on the buyout. Can anyone confirm
the numbers on M$'s cash reserves?


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Great Train Wreck in Slow Motion
Authored by: PolR on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 04:28 AM EST
This should be an interesting discussion in MS strategic meetings.

  • The abnormal size of the specification is well documented.
  • The stacking of committees is also well documented.
  • The fact the fast track is unsuitable for a standard in this state of readiness is easy to establish.
  • The quality of the specification is easy to prove, with specific examples of nonsense like non compliance with the Gregorian calendar.
  • The reliance on Microsoft specific technologies when already approved standards exists is well proven.
This is a few issues I can list from the top of my head without thinking too hard. A review of Rob Weir's blog will bring much more of the same ilk.

So you are headed toward a BRM where a committee of 120 or so persons must review comments at a rate of 2 or 3 minutes per comment. Then You will push all the national bodies to approve the text. What is your strategy to handle the EC? Are you going to claim there is no harm? That there is nothing wrong with this process? Is this the head in the sand strategy or what?

There is already a precedent in the Court of First Instance set for Microsoft. Interoperability was the issue. Poor documentation was the issue. Can't you see a predictable outcome? There is no track on this railroad after February. This is a case where you should hit the break pedal, not the gas pedal.

It is one thing to sing a siren song to standard setting committees to get an approval. It is quite another thing to sing the same song to anti-trust authorities on the lookout to get your hide. Here either Microsoft must change their OOXML strategy, or they must bet the EC sanctions can be written off as a cost of doing business. Both Microsoft and the EC know this, but Microsoft has to play their move before the EC makes its ruling. Whatever the choice is, the EC will take note.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Market Is Punishing M$ - FLOSS Needs To Learn How To Punish M$
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, February 09 2008 @ 10:33 AM EST

Just look at how the MARKET looks at Gates over the last 10 years:LINKY

Must drive Gates nuts that the MARKET disrespects him. After all he is so "rich" and "powerful"; but can't manipulate/control the MARKET.

Too bad FLOSS has missed the mark so far; and has not produced a compelling/engaging CORPORATE VIDEO to "sell" FLOSS or to expose M$. If a PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, an engaging VIDEO must be worth ten of thousand of words!

Don't know what a CORPORATE VIDEO is? It has "nothing" to do with corporations. DEFINITION: Instead of using advertising to sell a service, product or an idea; a story is told by using a short "compelling /engaging" video. These CORPORATE VIDEOS have to be creative, NOT DRY AS SAWDUST!

Here is a starter web page to begin one's education about corporate video production (picked at random) LINKY

FLOSS could send someone to school (finally!!) to learn how to do it. (FLOSS could hire a champion corporate video producer) LINKY

First "rule" that one learns at the above school: 50% of the entire time writing, shooting, editing a corporate video isn't spent on writing, shooting, editing the video. 50% of all the time is spent on conceiving/developing the right story to tell!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft partners accountable ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 10 2008 @ 06:00 AM EST
If the EC investigation results in finding Microsoft
having violated European antitrust laws, makes that the
Microssoft bussines partners in Europe which have voted on
behalf of Microsoft also liable ? This because these
partners could have known that they where abusing the ISO
voting system on behalf of a monopoly.
The same holds for the heads of the local ISO people which
have cooperated by for example not having provided enough
room for all voting members.

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU Commission Investigating Microsoft's MSOOXML Push
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 11 2008 @ 02:32 PM EST

quoting a comment from updegrove's blog related post

"... may be [EU regulators] can ask some people at the ISO National Bodies of Cyprus island, Jamaica island, Malta island, Cote d Ivoire and Lebanon, what caused their "sudden" motivation to ask (and get) ISO JTC1 P-member status a few days previous to DIS 29500 september/2007 ballot closing...

... just to vote unconditionally yes to +6000 pages of a notably flawed specification ( which until now achieved an outstanding mark of +3000 observations and +2000 quick-fixes/deletions/deprecations with only a few months of a rushed review and which final proposed text remains undefined ) generated in less than 1 year in a closed, not traceable nor accountable process at an ECMA Technical committee formed and lead by Microsoft.

I wonder how much technical review meetings took place at this national bodies to review DIS 29500 ( any minutes of this meetings? ) and what caused their unprecedented interest in Document Description and Processing Languages standards related to structured markup languages (specifically the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and the Extensible Markup Language (XML)) in the areas of information description, processing and association ( ISO JTC1 SC34 area of interest ).

I don't want to be disrespectful with this countries, but i don't consider standards and standardizations as a "game to win" ( it seems that some corporations have this point of view ).

I see here an amazing lack of respect, because many responsible JTC1 P-members ( with background and expertise in this field ) did a lot of *hard* work to review DIS 29500 to decide if it has the technical merits to be an ISO fast-tracked standard ( i.e: UK BSI [1], USA Incits/V1 [2], Japan, Canada [3], China, India, France [4], etc. ) and this other national bodies just seems to be pawns in the game, leaving the technical work aside.

Wake up ISO, wake up end users ! demand quality in standardization ! Money shouldn't buy standards.

franco merletti


Is someone from the countries mentioned there reading this? Can you contact your local regulators ( if you have any ) and put a formal complaint at ISO? or ask your NB for information about how this fast-track process/reviewing was handled?


[ Reply to This | # ]

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