Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Collateral damage - Microsoft destroys an ISO standards committee

Microsoft probably didn't mean to destroy an international standards group that works with file format specifications. They simply wanted their "standard", OOXML, to be approved. There was only one problem, the committee wasn't going to play ball. So Microsoft bought the committee, bribing a large number of nations to join up.

To everyone's surprise, the initiative failed anyway.

There was, however, some collateral damage ...
Slashdot | Format Standards Committee "Grinds To a Halt"

Andy Updegrove writes:

"Microsoft's OOXML did not get enough votes to be approved the first time around in ISO/IEC — notwithstanding the fact that many countries joined the Document Format and Languages committee in the months before voting closed, almost all of them voting to approve OOXML. Unfortunately, many of these countries also traded up to 'P' level membership at the last minute to gain more influence. Now the collateral damage is setting in. At least 50% of P members must vote (up, down, or abstain) on every standard at each ballot — and none of the new members are bothering to vote, despite repeated pleas from the committee chair. Not a single ballot has passed since the OOXML vote closed. In the chairman's words, the committee has 'ground to a halt.'..."
The honorable thing for Microsoft to do now would be to pay their shills to resign from the committee. Nobody is holding their breath.

Way to go Ballmer.

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