Microsoft pursues clandestine, anti-competitive tactics to force ISO decision on OOXML
March 31, 2008
Groklaw has been following Microsoft’s scandalous behavior surrounding the impending ISO decision on whether the company’s OOXML file format will be accepted.
Groklaw details how Brazilian representative Jomar Silva has taken the bold step of disclosing information about Redmond’s arm-twisting and semi-covert manipulation of the inter-governmental standards process. Microsoft has done everything from stack the meetings with company reps and clients, to rigging the possible decisions available to representatives, to engaging in behind-the-scenes lobbying pressure to overturn individual nation’s no-votes.
The fact that Microsoft can make such a mockery of a supposedly democratic decision-making body like ISO suggests that the folks at OSI and individual state organizations that manage standards need to get their act together and build a better resistance strategy. This kind of decision will prolong the process by which the world’s computers escape lock-in to Mircosoft’s incompatible, closed-source, insecure data standards. It would seem obvious that the opposition to Microsoft would have world-wide traction, since the creation of truly open standards would benefit powerful corporations (like IBM and Sun), powerful states, and the sustainable expansion of global IT markets.
The mainstream IT press has picked up the story, but let’s see if anybody over at the big US and Europan papers gives this any ink. At this point, Microsoft’s actions should be sufficient to invoke the ire of free market-minded editors at the WSJ, the Economist, and the FT. I’m not holding my breath, though.