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Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML - Updated 2Xs
Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:03 AM EDT

Microsoft has filed a complaint about the OOXML disapprove vote in India, according to a report on Open Source India by Venkatesh Hariharan:
At the meeting held on 20th March 2008, we were informed that Microsoft has complained to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and to the apex office of the country about the constitution of the committee and also cast aspersions on the impartiality of the chairperson of LITD15, Mrs. Neeta Verma. The chairperson was furious and offered to step down from her post. She pointed out that the committee has met numerous times and Microsoft never brought this issue up in front of the committee nor did they check the facts with her or her organization before complaining to the apex office....

Mrs. Verma was persuaded to stay back only after all the other members requested her to stay. After that, Dr. Arora of CSI displayed great statesmanship by asking the Microsoft representative if Microsoft would like to withdraw its complaint. Sadly, the Microsoft representative said that it cannot be withdrawn because it was sent by his senior or some similar reason. The Wipro representative then chimed in and tried to stall the vote by saying that he did not believe that the committee has not been able to apply its mind to the subject and should therefore abstain from voting on this issue! For those of us who have been engaged in this issue from the very beginning (as compared to the software exporters who put in cameo, guest appearances and contributed very little to discussing technical issues) this was obviously not acceptable.

I am just amazed and shocked by the depths to which Microsoft is willing to descend.

What is interesting is that he says anyone can request the audio of the meeting.

Here's that part:

Some of the most respected academic institutions (IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc, ISI Kolkatta and IIM Ahmedabad) besides several government organizations were part of this committee and I have no doubt that they will wholeheartedly agree with my opinion. I would also like to point out that the academia and government bodies have comprehensively voted against OOXML after spending more than a year reviewing it. Doubters who are still not satisfied can verify the transparency of these meetings by requesting recordings of the meetings from the Bureau of Indian Standards and anyone under the Right to Information Act.

To cite just one example, a four-member committee at IIT Bombay spent countless hours reviewing OOXML before voting against the proposal due to its technical flaws. The only group to vote in favor of OOXML was the software exports group and that too on the basis of “support for multiple standards,” an argument which had no relevance because the committee was asked to review OOXML on technical merits and national interest.

Considering the fact that some of the finest technical minds in the country have spent more than a year reviewing OOXML before India finally voted No, I feel that Microsoft's complaint is a great disservice to the committee, its chairperson and the Bureau of Indian Standards. For those who are interested, this is how the committee voted on the question, "Should India change its NO vote on OOXML?"

1. National Informatics Center - NO
2. Center for Development of Advanced Computing - NO
3. Computer Society of India - NO
4. Department of IT - NO
5. IBM - NO
6. Institute for Electronic Governance - Absent
7. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - NO
8. Indian Institute of Science - NO
9. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi - NO
10. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay - NO
11. Infosys - YES
12. Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkatta - NO
13. Manufacturers Association of IT - Abstain
14. Microsoft - YES
15. National Association of Software and Services Companies - YES
16. National Institute of Smart Governance - Absent
17. Reserve Bank of India - Absent
18. Red Hat - No
19. Standardization Testing and Quality Certification Directorate - NO
20. Sun - NO
21. Tata Computer Services - YES
22. Wipro - YES (for changing India's vote from NO to Abstain)

So, I am thinking that in each country someone residing there could find out if there is a similar law that would make it possible to get the audio. Now *that* would be fascinating, indeed. I'll gladly make them available if you get them.

By the time we are done with this OOXML farce, the whole world will know -- regardless of the outcome -- that the world has voted No Consensus on this underdone format and that the only way to get it approved was through power moves. That somewhat takes away from any win, don't you think, even if they can achieve it? It's not like they are doing it in the dark. People can see them.

And even if they do get it approved by hook or by crook, the world will have seen that a great many technically skilled people think it was a grave mistake to approve it. Why don't they just put it on the regular track and fix it, I wonder?

As for Patrick Durusau's latest piece of work [PDF], you can find a fine answer by Sander Marechal here. I think the answer to his first point, that allegedly the world will "lose an open and international forum for further work on DIS 29500" -- is answered by the above. If OOXML fails on the Fast Track, then it can be submitted on the regular track, which takes a bit longer, but it gives the national bodies time to actually discuss everything and get it all technically fixed. Nothing will fix the intellectual property issues but a change in the Microsoft OSP, of course, but there's no reason that can't happen. It certainly should happen before it gets approved or Microsoft's chief competition will be shut out from using this god-forsaken format.

Update: By the way, here's confirmation on the Cuba disapprove vote:

La Oficina Nacional de Normalización de Cuba (NC) que representa al país ante la Organización Internacional de Normalización ISO (International Organization for Standardization) e IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) informa a todas las partes interesadas en los temas informáticos, así como a todos los usuarios de las páginas Web de dichas organizaciones y otras vinculadas a las tecnologías de la información que el voto de Cuba sobre el referido proyecto de Norma Internacional es de DESAPROBACIÓN (2007-08-31, 2008-03-20), el cual se sustenta en los comentarios y argumentos que siguen, los cuales han sido presentados al Secretariado Central de la ISO siguiendo los trámites oficiales establecidos en los procedimientos que rige la votación sobre los proyectos de Normas Internacionales.

This confirms that No was the original vote by Cuba, as well as its vote this time. I also hear Canada has voted No, as well.

Update: Now word comes in that Romania is sticking to its Yes vote.


  


Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML - Updated 2Xs | 223 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:05 AM EDT
Please state the nature of the correction in the Title, thanks!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:06 AM EDT
Please make links clickable
<a href="http://www.example.com/">Like this</a>
and by changing the Post Mode to HTML

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks discussions here
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:08 AM EDT
Please state the name of the News item you are discussing in the Title.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML
Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:14 AM EDT

Actually I think it's clear that the world aside from Microsoft has voted "Consensus: No" on MSOOXML. And I think MS is fast burning it's bridges in markets it needs friends in or will need them in very soon. Bullies are OK as long as it's only one or two kids standing up to them, but when everyone starts to get fed up with them and won't knuckle under they either turn into an ineffectual laughingstock or find themselves being dogpiled.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why They don't want to put it on the regular track. . . .
Authored by: john-from-ct on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:25 AM EDT
. . . 'cause then it would be a 'real' standard that could be used by more than
one suite of office software! The goal is not intERoperability; it is, has
been, and as long as M$ is around, will be intRAoperability.



---
Just another greybeard geek!

[ Reply to This | # ]

It is illegal to vote NO to OpenBIFF
Authored by: Winter on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:34 AM EDT
Only terrorists will vote NO to DIS29500.

Are you a terrorist?

Rob

---
Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

India May Be More Important Than Any Other Country
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:43 AM EDT

M$ is likely to attack India more than it attacks other countries because of the huge V.A. industry in Indian.

V.A.s are individuals or companies that acts as Virtual Assitants in countless fields for any person, company or government from around the world.

These V.A.s are hired to perform various taks and then output documents related to the task (often documents are sent to V.A.s - and then V.A.s send documents back). From translating a document from any language to english,..... to elaborate research for legal defences related to court actions - they do it all. Everything ends up as a document - naturally these V.A.s want things kept simple - duH! :).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Brace yourself, MS will get their ISO standard
Authored by: Winter on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 12:09 PM EDT
I might be too pessimistic. But I think, at the end of the day, that MS will get
their votes. See the Czech republic and UK.

They have spend so much money and effort. They bribed complete countries,
stalked, intimidated, bribed, confused, stacked etc, each and every NB
representative and their superiors. Other opponents, like the Netherlands were
simply neutralized by a consensus voting rule or stacked with a dozen MS
partners, like the USA.

They infiltrated and corrupted ISO and JTC1. If NBs didn't cooperate, they got
to the ministers (like in Malaysia).

They WILL get their ISO standard. But in the end, everybody who even remotely
wants to be informed, will know that it is just OpenBIFF.

MS have simply destroyed ISO as a standards organization for the crime of
ratifying ODF.

Rob

---
Some say the sun rises in the east, some say it rises in the west; the truth
lies probably somewhere in between.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why have complaints not been filed in the countries that voted Yes?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 12:21 PM EDT

Why haven't the good guys filed complaints about the crooked shenanigans in the countries that voted Yes?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Multiple Standards
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 12:52 PM EDT
Toshiba just admitted that HD-DVD lost the format war with Blu-Ray and it will
stop making HD-DVD players. Microsoft bought into HD-DVD for it's Xbox360 so
all it's customers will now have to also buy a Blu-Ray player if they want new
content. Once the HD-DVD player breaks down, they will lose access to all the
content they bought for it. How is this situation of dual standards for the same
thing a benefit a to anyone except the winning format?

If I were Toshiba I would gpl the HD-DVD standard and put the patents into the
patent commons. Then any company in the world could make and sell HD-DVD
players royalty free. That would pull a victory out of the ashes and Toshiba
would regain it's investment although it wouldn't get royalty payments, it's
still better than nothing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Durusau has responded to Marechal
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 01:11 PM EDT

L ink

DISCLAIMER: Make sure you aren't drinking anything when you read this!

[ Reply to This | # ]

My only question about what MS complains about...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 01:47 PM EDT

When are they going to file a complaint that consumers have a choice of not using their product?

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Shhh. Stumm.... - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 09:05 PM EDT
    • Shhh. Stumm.... - Authored by: pr1268 on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 11:39 PM EDT
      • But... - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 01:16 PM EDT
Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 01:57 PM EDT
It's on the href="http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/03/26/bsi_vote_yes_ooxml/">register<
/a>. However, this is the Register so it's by no means actual news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Any website with the current YES/NO counts?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 01:59 PM EDT
How many NO votes are needed to scuttle this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:02 PM EDT
It's on the href="http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/03/26/bsi_vote_yes_ooxml/">re gister. However, this is the Register so it's by no means actual news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Foot. Gun. Bang.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:07 PM EDT
This is a massive tactical blunder. Up until now MS could show contempt for everybody crying foul over their stitch ups and just claim that everything was fine and above board and that the people complaining were just sore losers. Now that they are crying foul themselves, they are acknowledging that the process is open to question and that bias is an issue. This has greatly legitimised everybody else's complaints! It now seems that nobody at all is happy with the conduct of the process. If everybody is crying foul (albeit over different parts for different reasons with various degrees of justification) then this can only draw more attention to the flaws in the process. After all, we all agree that it is broken now, don't we? Thanks Microsoft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Unfortunately... - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 09:30 PM EDT
Regular Track
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:22 PM EDT

My point of view is that if all the stakeholders find a basis on agreement on a standard, that's okay, and so dropping out of fast track into regular track for OOXML is not a crisis for the information economy. In fact, a pretty clean OOXML in say three years isn't a bad thing.

As to licensing difficulties or patent encumbrances on a standard, this is a double edged sword, I'm sure one may fill volumes with the standards that are well-defined and essentially unused because a lower cost alternative is available. This is a thought I've had about ODF vs. ISO Fast-Tracked OOXML: the essential fact is that OOXML does not promise to lower public institution IT costs and so people who run the Excel spreadsheet and need to choose between software and fixing potholes will be running Calc or KOffice or... shortly thereafter.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Regular Track - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 04:09 PM EDT
See any Parallel's - OOXML and Zimbabwe
Authored by: gus_goose on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:23 PM EDT
I have been following the situation in Zimbabwe with it's upcoming Elections.

For those people who are surprised or dismayed at the actions of Microsoft and it's cohorts, I suggest you do some investigation in to Zimbabwe. For a summary of the Zim. situation a good starting point is: The Zimbabwe Situation.

Once you have seen some of the things going on there, you can then start thinking of Microsoft's antics on the Mugabe Richter scale.... makes the whole thing a little more entertaining.

Now all we need is Hyperinflation of the ISO community....

gus

P.S. For anyone who is not aware of what's happening in Zimbabwe, I highly recommend a quick gander at the above link. The world should be ashamed that it has not brought more attention to the plight of millions of people who are oppressed there, and appear likely to be living rough for a long time to come.

[ Reply to This | # ]

On a lighter note, I don't get it :)
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 02:43 PM EDT
Why was the vote from Red Hat not capitalized?
18. Red Hat - No

Shouldn't it be

18. Red Hat - NO

like everyone else?

Did it mean Red Hat's vote was not a STRONG "no"?

I just don't get it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Take away from the win - Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 04:12 PM EDT
"That somewhat takes away from any win, don't you think, even if they can
achieve it?"

I doubt they care what people's opinions are. You are forgetting that these are
expert spin doctors. If they get a win, you won't recognize their version of
history.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Only the education vote counts for me
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 04:37 PM EDT
If you merge institutions by their type you get the following pattern:
Education - NO
IT Service industry - YES
Microsoft competitors - NO
Microsoft - YES
The only one of those that carries any weight for me is the education vote:
all the others have an axe to grind.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I Think the Best Result Would be a Narrow Approval
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 05:00 PM EDT
I think the best result would be a narrow approval, with the vote being tipped in favour of Microsoft by the use of blatant bribery and ballot stuffing. This could then be followed by Microsoft dictating to ECMA what is in any revision, and ECMA telling the ISO that any future ISO NB input will be ignored. The end result would be a ISO spec that would have the reputation as being the Windows Vista of ISO specs. Microsoft would have got what they wanted, but found themselves with a hollow victory.

The problem with the present approach to dealing with the proposed standard is that "fixing" the technical issues is a waste of time. The design concept is such rubbish that it can't really be fixed. We do have to go through the motions just to show good faith, but we shouldn't feel too much disappointment over the end result. You can propose "technical fixes" until you are blue in the face though and it still won't make it a good spec.

What this might do is to educate people on what a "standard" is really for. It is a way to assist people who genuinely want to work together. Expecting Microsoft to work well with other people just because a techincal standard exists is like expecting SCO to get along with everyone else just because a legal code exists.

If the proposed spec is approved, we shouldn't view that as being the end of the matter. It should be used as a starting point for educating people on the fact that a "standard" is more than just a pile of paper. It is a process and a community. If the process and community isn't there, then the standard itself is pointless.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML
Authored by: biosonar on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 05:01 PM EDT
And even if they do get it approved by hook or by crook, the world will have seen that a great many technically skilled people think it was a grave mistake to approve it. Why don't they just put it on the regular track and fix it, I wonder?
If OOXML (DIS 29500) goes through a credible process of review and correction to become IS 29500 it would be surprising if it remained unchanged. Meaning, that whatever MS Office implements in MS Office would not be a corrected standard IS 29500.

Therefore if Microsoft allows the ISO process to work as a standards process they have to choose between MS Office not implementing their own ISO submission, or waste months/years making MS Office conform. Potentially choosing between a mammoth amount of work (probably as much as their competitors) or loosing out on all those contracts/sales where ISO conformance is mandated. Hence if ISO passes corrections to OOXML, Microsoft is faced with a significant loose/loose situation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Cuba Votes DESAPROBACIÓN
Authored by: dio gratia on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 07:03 PM EDT
Note that Google translate has problems with this, apparently from the capitalization. Makes you wonder if some ITTF staffer got creative and assumed it was a 'Approval with comments'. But that would require edit capabilities on the voting register, wouldn't it?

Say, how do these votes get changed after voting closes, anyway?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The RFC Solution ;-)
Authored by: mexaly on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 07:18 PM EDT
Publish the standard on April 1.

Just like the standard on the evil bit.

---
My thanks go out to PJ and the legal experts that make Groklaw great.

[ Reply to This | # ]

How long is the slow track procedure?
Authored by: devil's advocate on Wednesday, March 26 2008 @ 08:37 PM EDT
If MS lose in the fast lane, how long does the slow track procedure take at ISO?
Would it possibly be too late when it is finally approved to make OOXML a
credible alternative to ODF? By then government organisations around the world,
needing a suitable exchange standard, will already have choosen ODF.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Files Complaint About India's No Vote on OOXML - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 03:09 PM EDT
this sounds like exactly what happened to Peter Quinn.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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