Microsoft on a Vote-Buying Spree for MSOOXML Standardization
The company everybody loves to hate (for good reasons, mostly) is now on a shopping spree, buying Standards Organizations in various countries to get them to vote YES on a proposed vote by the International Standards Organization to accept their binary-in-XML-clothing file format as a standard.
There are numerous good reasons why MSOOXML should not be accepted as an international standard, all nicely summarized in this document from Google, expressing their opposition to the proposal in technical terms, not political.
But the only thing today that maintains Microsoft’s monopoly in the office document market is their use of proprietary locked formats, and they would hate to lose this unfair advantage. So they have been busy manipulating the voting process in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Sweden (also here).
These days money can buy anything. Or anyone.
And Microsoft was never big on ethics anyway. Shame on you, Microsoft.
Update: Following coverage in the Swedish media about the Microsoft payola, Microsoft admitted to an email sent to their partners assuring market benefits and reimbursement for joining fees. The Swedish standards organization has now decided to change its decision to ‘abstain’ [PDF] because of the irregularities in the process. Hungary is also set to reconsider its vote.
A complete discussion of all objections to the standardization of MSOOXML is available from GrokDoc. Especially galling is Microsoft’s insistence on declaring the 500-year old Gregorian calendar incorrect and forcing the rest of the world to consider 1900 as a leap year because of an acknowledged bug in Excel.