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[News] [Rival] While Microsoft Resorts to More Bribery and Extortion, Hungary, Poland, and Other Nations Raise Suspicions

  • Subject: [News] [Rival] While Microsoft Resorts to More Bribery and Extortion, Hungary, Poland, and Other Nations Raise Suspicions
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2007 02:03:20 +0100
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: Netscape / schestowitz.com
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.4
Poland votes yes on OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| Several protests were sent already to PKN and TC 182 on behalf of: Free and 
| Open Source Foundation, TC 171 members, Google Poland, IBM Poland, but I 
| really doubt they will make the difference in Polish vote among ISO. The 
| whole process was planned to the last minute so that there is not enough time 
| to protest or make any changes. Although it is not as clear situation of 
| vote-buying as in Sweden, it strikes me as something from typical Microsoft 
| lobbying portfolio.      


MSOOXML: What Happened in Hungary

,----[ Quote ]
| If you can't do the math, I think the bottom line is, it's looking like 
| Microsoft won't let the world say no to OOXML. It couldn't ram it through the 
| usual process, with the folks who understand the tech, even with some very 
| odd technical committee chairperson goings on. This is the standard that 
| couldn't win on merit, in short.    


Microsoft appears to be 'recruiting'...

If this were any other JTC1 Proposal, the OOXML Vote Would be Over Now

,----[ Quote ]
| Interestingly, while 13 countries have publicly announced their votes, not 
| one of the new 11 P members has thus far revealed how it has cast its vote. 
| As I have pointed out in several recent blog entries, (the latest is here), 
| it will be very interesting to see how these last-minute additions to the P 
| membership cast their votes. Those new P members, once again, are Cote 
| d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and 
| Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela.      



OOXML: Is it safe?

,----[ Quote ]
| The tragedy of this is that for so many NB's, with talented technical 
| committees, the discussion of OOXML has failed to be a technical evaluation, 
| but has quickly become a political game, where committees are stuffed, 
| governments are pressured, billionaires call in favors, competitors blocked 
| from participation, voting rules ignored or modified at whim, etc. All we can 
| do is stand by and watch as Microsoft takes over JTC1. The cost to Microsoft 
| will be great, but so much greater is the cost to JTC1. What will it mean for 
| JTC1's future to be known as a body that does not follow its own rules, does 
| not evaluate proposals on technical merits, but has procedures so weak and 
| poorly written that it allows itself to be taken over by a single company? 
| Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?          


Standards NZ to canvass local views on Open XML

,----[ Quote ]
| Thomas says Standards New Zealand has received a number of letters on the 
| issue and “had a lot of contact from some parties” including Microsoft and a 
| consulting firm working for the software giant. Microsoft New Zealand 
| director of innovation Brett Roberts identified that firm as Wellington-based 
| Guinness Gallagher.    


Microsoft Looks for the Big Guns in OOXML In-Fighting

,----[ Quote ]
| Bill Gates has reportedly been making phone calls to the Secretary of Defense 
| and the Secretary of Commerce to push the American National Standards 
| Institute to ignore the votes of its advisory committees and vote "yes" on 
| ISO standardizing Microsoft's Open Office XML (OOXML) format, the one in 
| competition with the OpenDocument Format (ODF) pushed by IBM and Sun.    
| Gates reportedly picked up the phone when the last INCITS ballot failed by 
| one vote to support Microsoft. 


The *Complete* Story on the US INCITS Vote

,----[ Quote ]
| Well, it’s hard to take a vacation, isn’t it? Not only is it styled as “going 
| quiet,” but it offers an opportunity for others to present only part of the 
| story. While much of what Jason writes is accurate, it’s curious what he 
| leaves out - including the fact that not one ballot, but two, have been 
| circulated to the INCITS Executive Board for simultaneous voting.    


,----[ Quote ]
| Everyone is in the same boat with this: KOffice, Corel, Google, IBM, anyone 
| who has applications that work with Microsoft documents. We’re all faced with 
| the prospect of significant expenses to rewrite our file format support with 
| no net benefit to our customers. This is the toll we all must pay to 
| Microsoft just for the ability to fight for the scraps their monopoly may 
| leave behind. If Microsoft jerks their format around, we all must run and 
| chase after it, reallocating resources away from feature work, becoming in 
| the process less competitive in the marketplace, while Microsoft forges ahead 
| with new features. They can easily repeat this game every few years, just to 
| keep competitors busy. This is what a death spiral looks like.         
| Giving absolute control of a standard document format to a monopolist that is 
| notorious for abusing their control of file formats in the past is insanity. 
| It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure that out.   


Two Studios to Support HD DVD Over Rival

,----[ Quote ]
|     But money talks: Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive 
|     about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD 
|     DVD, according to two Viacom executives with knowledge of the deal but 
|     who asked not to be identified.   
|     The incentives will come in a combination of cash and promotional 
|     guarantees. Toshiba, for instance, will use the release of “Shrek the 
|     Third” as part of an HD DVD marketing campaign.  
|     Paramount and DreamWorks Animation declined to comment. Microsoft, the 
|     most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not 
|                                                                   ^^^^^^^^^
|     rule out payment but said it wrote no checks. “We provided no financial
|     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^     
|     incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever,” said Amir Majidimehr, 
|     the head of Microsoft’s consumer media technology group.    



Fighting Megatron: five steps to freedom

,----[ Quote ]
| The free software world is being attacked by a large, wealthy, brutal 
| monopolist, who I’ll call “Megatron” for today. As I wrote last month, 
| Megatron is driving its OOXML tank through the village church of open 
| standards, doing unspeakable things to the ISO process, with the intention of 
| locking in a generation of computer users to its stack of patented, 
| restricted, and undocumented formats. It’s about freedom, some of us want it, 
| others want to take it away from us.      


OSIA takes issue with OOXML, lobbies Standards Australia

,----[ Quote ]
| Opposition to the endorsement of the program comes on top of the suspected 
| stacking by Microsoft of a variety of standards bodies in order to get OOXML 
| approved as the ISO standard. "This was not part of OSIA's submission and is 
| not anything OSIA has direct knowledge of", said Scott. "However, there are a 
| number of people who assert that Microsoft is doing as you suggest", he said.    


Report from Australia - the OOXML Forum

,----[ Quote ]
| I'd say things look grim in Australia, but it's not too late to express 
| yourself to Australia Standards. The public is encouraged to continue to send 
| comments until August 21.  


Swiss Cheese [for OOXML]

,----[ Quote ]
| The present spin doctors of Microsoft and ECMA managed to convince Mr. 
| Thomann to reject every serious technical and general concern we had 
| regarding OOMXL by pointing to compatibility reasons. At the end we had a 
| majority _against_ Microsoft but which (giving the unfair rules) results in a 
| Swiss vote _for_ Microsoft. Mr. Thomann was fretting and fuming at the end of 
| the meeting how it can be that successful international companies (we had 
| representatives from IBM, Google, ...) vote against the best interest of 
| their customers and theirself!       
| Yes, this is how the democratic system at SNV / ISO works. After the meeting 
| I could not eat as much as I wanted to puke... 


Interview with Ecma’s Secretarie General

,----[ Quote ]
| The following is an interview of Jan van den Beld, the Secretarie General of 
| Ecma International.  
| [...]
|       (ramble on multiple and proprietary 'standards')
| DB: But don’t you think that encourages patent wars?
| JvdB: I have never thought so deeply about it (how the pemission of multiple 
| standards encourages patent wars). In a way yes, of course, there are hardly 
| any subjects in hi-tech where no patents are involved. That is one of the big 
| worries about bodies being concerned with patents So, we stay out of it. If 
| you have a patent, you get an unconditional right and what you do with your 
| patent is your business. You can ask "is that good?" Well that’s an 
| interesting question.       


No is no, to OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| I’ve heard several reports of supporters of OOXML trying to get national 
| standards bodies to change their votes from “NO with comments” to “YES with 
| comments” because “it’s the same thing.” The logic, which I’ll explain in a 
| later post, is that any comments will trigger a ballot resolution meeting, so 
| there is no need to be so negative and vote NO.    


IBM is still locked out of the Portuguese OOXML meeting

,----[ Quote ]
| In spite of various communications, we [IBM] are still locked out and will 
| not be allowed to participate. Microsoft will be there, as well as a special 
| Microsoft guest, as will various Microsoft business partners, and others.  


OOXML does not buy its way in Italy

,----[ Quote ]
| Particularly noteworthy is the fact that among those favouring the adoption 
| of the standard without reservation a large majority is made of business 
| partners of the proposing entity [Microsoft], a law firm retained by the 
| latter, the official certified business partners association of the proposing 
| entity.     



,----[ Quote ]
| [PJ: OpenXML.info is reporting (in Portuguese, but a Groklaw member 
| translates for us) that the person who is head of the ISO technical committee 
| about to vote on Microsoft's Ecma-376 wouldn't let IBM and Sun 
| representatives in, claiming there was no room! This, if true, is ridiculous. 
| And  here is a second source reporting the same thing, also in Portuguese. So 
| in the US, we hear reports of packing the TC. Now, it's weeding out those who 
| are not likely to vote a certain way desired? Is this how standards 
| get "approved"? I don't recall ODF having to play such games. Here is the 
| rough translation:]        
| Portugal, and more concretely, its national organization of certification IPQ 
| is a member "O" (observator) of ISO/IEC for the voting of OOXML (ISO DIS 
| 29500).  
| WARNING: the first meeting of the Technical Commission "Language for document 
| definition" was on Monday 16 of July. The vote was delayed. Representatives 
| of IBM and Sun were not allowed to attend because there "was no available 
| space in the room"   
| Dear G [Sun Microsystems] due of restricted number of members of the CT 
| (Commissao Tecnica) that can attend the scheduled meeting room to host the 
| meeting, we cannot, in this stage, accept your proposal of integration of the 
| CT.   
| With my best regards,
| D [Microsoft as president of the Technical Commission]


,----[ Quote ]
|     * More details are emerging from Portugal regarding the kerfuffle there 
|     over Ecma-376. If you read Portuguese, here you go -- just click on the 
|     link. I asked a Groklaw member to do a rough translation, and if you see 
|     ways to improve it, sing out, but it gives a bit of the history of how 
|     this committee that has no room for Sun or IBM (see previous News Picks 
|     item) was formed and how it happened to choose a Microsoft representative 
|     to be president of the committee that decides whether to "approve" 
|     Microsoft's submission as a "standard". Unless I'm missing something, it 
|     appears to have been set up so Microsoft can "approve" itself. Now that's 
|     handy. Here's the translation of the part about how Microsoft is 
|     represented on this committeee with no room for IBM or Sun:]          
|       I was present on the meeting of the Technical Commission (CT) created 
|       to award the ISO standards in the area of structured documents (in 
|       Portugal)  
|       A Technical Commission (CT) did not exist when ISO 26300 (Open 
|       Document) was submitted neither when there was a submission of OOXML 
|       (ECMA 376, potential ISO 29500) for the the fast track, and that was 
|       the reason why Portugal did not submit any opinion nor had any right to 
|       vote. We expect that now, with the pressure made and the CT created 
|       there would be right to vote.     
|       The CT was created by the Computing Institute, in which is delegated 
|       the responsability for the norms of the IT sector; a delegation granted 
|       by the Portuguese Institute of Quality (IPQ), the point of contact of 
|       ISO in Portugal. Its creation is motivated mainly by the pressures and 
|       availability of some people when the proposal for fast tracking of 
|       OOXML and a neccessity to avail now the OOXML as standard ISO and as a 
|       Portuguese National Standard      
|       In the meeting they were present:
|     * 2 persons from II (Instituto de Informatica [Computing Institute])
|     * 1 person from the local government (Alentejo region)
|     * 1 person from Jurinfor [Jurinfor is a Microsoft partner]
|     * 2 persons from Microsoft
|     * 1 person from Primavera [Primavera is a Microsoft partner]
|     * 1 person from ISCTE
|     * 2 persons from Assoft [reportedly, most members of ASSOFT are Microsoft 
|     partners] 
|     * 1 person from the Inst. Informatica da Seg Social [Computing Institute 
|     of the Social Welfare Department] 
|     * 1 person from the Inst. Tecn. Informacao da Justiça (eu) [Technical 
|     Institute Information of Justice (eu)] 
| The meeting dealt basically with the bureaucracy details of the creation of 
| the CT. It didn't go into details of OOXML; that discussion will be held in 
| the next meeting, on July 16th about 14:30 in the II [Instituto de 
| Informatica, I assume]   
| The CT, thus, was composed of 8 vocal elements, one representative for each 
| of the organizations present. The II [Instituto de Informatica] is arranging 
| and hosting the initiative and is a not-named representative.  
| The 8 vocals will readily follow to the election of the president of the CT. 
| There was 1 candidate in the place (Miguel Sales Dias, from Microsoft). I did 
| not present my candidature but made myself available in case the rest of 
| representatives deemed it neccesary -- informed not adequate since to begin 
| with, as a member of the OpenDocument Alliance, I had a conflict of interest.    
| The vote results were 7 votes in favor of Miguel Sales Dias, of Microsoft, 
| who was designated to preside over the CT, and a (1) blank vote. 
| It was decided to adopt consensus as the form of adoption of any proposed 
| norm, following to majority vote in case there is no consensus in the CT and 
| if there is a strong opposition to submit any norm.   

How the Game is Played: INCITS V1 Narrowly Votes Down OOXML

,----[ Quote ]
| As significantly, Rob reports that a very dramatic increase in the membership 
| of V1 was observed in the months leading up to the vote – most of whom were 
| coincidentally were representatives of Microsoft business partners, and the 
| great majority of whom voted as a block in favor of advancing the 
| specification in a manner that would permit, and against any vote that would 
| prevent, final approval as an ISO/IEC standard.      


Sock Puppets to VoteSock Puppets to Vote on Monopoly Enablement in Colombia?

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft sets the deck of card and ensures that (at least) 9 of out 14 
| chairs in the technical committee are also in its pocket. 


Microsoft is Outmuscling OOXML Opposition in Spain

,----[ Quote ]
| The Andalusian Government has reported recently the manipulation of Microsoft 
| in the National Technical Committee 71 of AENOR. On July 10th, just the day 
| before the one and only meeting of AENOR to study DIS 29500 and vote on it, 
| Microsoft announced officially (via the secretary of the Committee) that that 
| Andalusian Government and several other Spanish public entities were asking 
| for the approval of ISO DIS 29500 (what finally resulted all a fake!).     


Packing The Court At The ISO?

,----[ Quote ]
|      ...P member countries ('participating member' countries) sending 
|     representatives, and I am interested to note the majority of
|     their representatives are, as individuals, also Microsoft employees.
| [...]
| How can they not see that OOXML (ECMA 376) is unwanted by anyone outside of 
| Microsoft? How about it Brian Jones? Are you really so desperate that you
| have to resort to that?


OOXML Fails to Gain Approval in US

,----[ Quote ]
| On Friday July 13th, INCITS V1 met via teleconference for 3 hours but failed 
| to reach a 2/3 consensus necessary to recommend an "Approval, with comments" 
| position on Microsoft "Office Open XML" (OOXML) document specification.  


Guest Commentary: The converter hoax

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft maintains that while it would have been easy to support the Open 
| Document Format (ODF) natively, it had to move to MS-OOXML because this was 
| the only way for them to offer the full features of its office suite. But if 
| Microsoft itself is not able to represent its internal data structures in the 
| Open Document Format (ODF) in its Microsoft Office suite, how could an 
| external conversion program from MS-OOXML accomplish this task? The answer to 
| both questions is that it is not possible because two things cannot be the 
| same and different at the same time.       


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