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OOXML victory taints ISO credibility

Microsoft’s controversial OOXML private file format was voted in as standard DIS29500 by the International Standards Organization, err… the “I Sold Out” (ISO) this weekend. Amid serious allegations of irregularities in the voting process, political manipulation, cronyism, influence trading and unfair practices employed to secure favorable votes, ISO committees stuffed with inept members representing various countries voted 75% in favor of OOXML.

All for a document format! What a shame to demolish the credibility of such a prestigious standards body. And for a format from a corporation which fiercely opposes competition, cannot tolerate open standards and cannot get over misusing its corporate reach.

The Open Malaysia blog has some interesting stats about the vote.

* 24 out of 32 P-Members (Participating Members) voted in favor of OOXML (75%). The requirement for confirmation is >= 66.66%.
* A total of 61 P-Members and O-Members (Observing and Other Members) voted in favor.
* 10 out of 71 member countries voted against (14%).
* 16 countries abstained and were not counted in the total.

According to noooxml.org , a lot of last minute vote switching occurred due to heavy influence brokering by Microsoft, its subsidiaries and its business partners. This carried OOXML forward to approval.
But approval at what cost? Desperate efforts to win by compromising institutional integrity can only backfire and is already leading to erosion of brand credibility for Microsoft around the world. Microsoft is its own worst enemy.

Another report discussing the problems at the Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) can be found at Groklaw. Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth has also commented about the process in an interview.

Posted in ODF, OpenContent, OpenSource, OpenStandards. Tagged with , , , .

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