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Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft buys the Swedish vote on OOXML?

It's now clear that bribery *was* part of the process, with the emails
from Microsoft promising extra "marketing contributions" as a payoff for
voting for Open XML:

Anyone know if Karl Rove is now consulting for Microsoft?

  - Dennis

Jonathan Robie wrote:
> Len Bullard wrote:
>> The author of that article is on dangerous legal ground.
>> "One would think that SIS would not accept new companies to
>> participate in
>> the vote since they haven't been part of the earlier discussions and
>> meetings. But according to SIS they didn't see any problem that new
>> companies wanted to take part in this vote without prior notice. So what
>> happened here is that Microsoft gather together a bunch of loyal
>> partners
>> that would vote yes to their standard without any questions."
>> None of that other than the time they signed up is supported by
>> evidence.
>> It is more likely that Microsoft partners vote for this submission
>> for the
>> same reason Massachusetts changed the position given switching
>> costs.  This
>> is self-interest.  No proof of bribery is shown.  There is no indication
>> that questions have not been asked.  Continuing to make that charge in
>> public forums without proof is opening the author and the employer of
>> the
>> author as well as the publisher to slander lawsuits.  This is not a good
>> thing, Jonathan.
> Len, there's no allegation of bribery in the article, there is only an
> allegation that Microsoft had something to do with gathering most of
> the new members together, and the author of the article supports this
> allegation by pointing out that 18 of the 23 are either Microsoft Gold
> Certified Partners or Microsoft Certified Partners. The article does
> not say anything specific about what kind of communication may have
> occurred between Microsoft and its partners. The article does suggest
> that it's pretty unusual when a standards vote is determined primarily
> by people who were not members of the group the day before, and are
> partners of a company who was going to lose the vote. Do you think
> this was just a coincidence? Do you think this is the way important
> votes should be held in standards bodies?
>> Google's paper is specious.  It claims wide use for ODF without the
>> numbers
>> to back that up.  
> Here's what they say: "Counting the number of documents found by doing
> Web searches for different document types the older Microsoft Office
> formats dominate, but the second most widely used format is the
> existing ISO standard ODF. As translation is needed anyway it would
> make more sense to convert to ODF, the existing ISO standard for
> editable document types." You suggest that Google does not have the
> numbers to back that up? Er, this is Google, after all ....
>> My guess is the number of users of products that can use
>> OOXML is far greater than that of ODF and in fact they support that
>> later in
>> the paper.  Worse, they claim to be offering no legal advice, then go
>> on to
>> make legal assertions about the OOXML IP.
> Google's argument seems to be this:
> 1. ODF already exists, and can represent Microsoft documents as well
> as the documents from other vendors. Blessing OOXML as a second format
> results in two mutually incompatible formats that can each claim to be
> standard. Google invokes memories of Betamax to suggest this is bad.
> 2. OOXML is too large and complex to be easily reviewed, and does not
> play well with existing standards. "The OOXML standard document is
> 6546 pages long. The ODF standard,
> which achieves the same goal, is only 867 pages. The reason for this
> is that ODF references other existing ISO standards for such things as
> date specifications, math
> formula markup and many other needs of an office document format
> standard. OOXML invents its own versions of these existing standards,
> which is unnecessary and complicates the final standard.",
> "Considering that OOXML has only received about 5.5% of the review
> that comparable standards have undergone, reports about
> inconsistencies, contradictions and missing information are hardly
> surprising."
> 3. OOXML is not yet widely adopted, at least on the Web. ODF is the
> most common XML format for office document data, and it would make
> more sense to translate data from proprietary formats into a simpler,
> existing standard format that has already received extensive review.
> 4. There is not widespread adoption of OOXML outside of Microsoft.
> Most of the OOXML implementations are from partners of Microsoft who
> have contractual agreements to implement OOXML software.
> 5. There may be legal issues with Microsoft's "Open Specification
> Promise".
> Up to now, I have been summarizing their argument, rather than
> offering my own views. To me, at least 1-4 seem to be valid arguments.
> I'm not as able to evaluation 5.
> I guess I should express my own views too. I think OOXML is a good
> thing, and I'm very glad Microsoft produced it. I don't think it
> should be a standard, because it is designed precisely to represent
> one vendor's office documents, not as a general purpose office
> document format created by a group of vendors.
>> I am not arguing technical merit here.  This is about a slander campaign
>> conducted by companies and individuals opposed to OOXML.
>> This bitter butter battle over white elephant products demonstrates in a
>> very disappointing way the hypocrisy of claiming moral high ground
>> for the
>> sake of commercial advantage.  They are destroying their own
>> credibility.
> Yawn. I'm not very good at arguments about who are the good guys and
> who are the bad guys, but I don't find this kind of language terribly
> convincing. Maybe I've heard too much of it.
> Jonathan
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