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Microsoft Software

Microsoft Standing Firm On OOXML ISO Vote 181

Posted by kdawson
from the tough-guy-huh dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "Microsoft has responded via the industry trade group ECMA to some of the thousands of criticisms of its submission of Office Open XML as an ISO standard. Open standards advocate Russell Ossendryver takes a look at those responses to see if Microsoft has made significant changes in either the substance of OOXML or the manner in which the OOXML specification will be maintained going forward. Ossendryver concludes that Microsoft's position has not significantly changed, but only hardened in place in advance of the Ballot Resolution Meeting which is to occur from February 25 through 29 in Geneva. While no one can say for certain whether Microsoft will succeed in having OOXML win the nod from the international community, Ossendryer thinks that Microsoft's firm stance is likely to backfire."
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Microsoft Standing Firm On OOXML ISO Vote

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:21PM (#22399468)
    I believe Microsoft made 5 billion in revenue from having customers worldwide locked into their proprietary office document format.

    The vendor lockin from Office makes up almost half the company's yearly revenue.

    Microsoft would cease to exist as we know it if the office document lockin revenue went away to an open format.

    Fight? LOL! This is the type of shit Microsoft execs live for.

    Fake grassroots efforts.
    Standards body subversion.
    Paid for media shills.
    Shame studies.
    Mysterious compatibility problems with the competition.

    All in a days work.

    • by Anonymous Coward
    • Shame studies.

      I think you meant "sham" studies but I sorta like your way better. It's a sham that's also a shame. ;)

    • All in a days work.
      I think you meant "business as usual"
  • by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:23PM (#22399504) Homepage
    All of the yes with comments votes now have it confirmed that their comments have noit actually been taken involved. The involvement of the EU in investigating MS's practices leading up to the fast track also means that they involved have to be more circumspect about gathering votes, so they really don't need to be annoying people like this.

    Of course, the plan could just be to say "We would have got away with ISO approval, if it wasn't for that pesky IBM". It's a bit odd, but there we are. MS is losing the EU to open standards.
  • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:24PM (#22399510)
    MSFT has so badly screwed up ISO, I can see many parties who were going to vote yes to change it into No.

    directly because of MSFT the ISO has done nothing but stumble around they can't get the majorities that they need in oder to pass standards. Everything is stagnate. Here's to hope that MSFT gamed the system so hard that it blows up in MSFT's face.
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:26PM (#22399540)
    the file format from global communications is too important to be left to a for-profit corporation that has a history of manipulating market for maximizing profits...

    truly open file formats are the only resolution for ALL office documents used in business & government. for audio/video multimedia file formats too but office communications it is just simply too important to be left to a private corporation...
  • Have your say (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:27PM (#22399546)
    Petition currently running at noooxml.org

    http://www.noooxml.org/petition [noooxml.org]
  • Mental Image (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jester998 (156179) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:28PM (#22399584) Homepage
    All I could think of when reading this is a M$FT rep saying "Come on, we're Microsoft! You can trust us!" while hiding a +10 Spiked Club of Patent Trolling behind their back....
  • Dear Microsoft, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CSMatt (1175471) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:29PM (#22399604)
    Guarantee to me in writing that you will update Office 2007 and Office 2008 so that the version of OOXML that they use will be exactly identical to your ISO submission in every way, and then carry out your promise, and I will join the OOXML camp.

    Sincerely,

    ODF supporter.
    • Just exactly what do you think that guarantee would be worth, considering the effort of enforcing it?
    • by jhol13 (1087781)
      That was funny!

      Issues related to the "leap year bug", VML, compatibility settings such as "AutoSpaceLikeWord95" and others will be extracted from the main specification and relocated to an independent annex in DIS 29500 for deprecated functionality. The intent of this Annex is to enable a transitional period during which existing binary documents being migrated to DIS 29500 can make use of those deprecated features, while noting that new documents should not use them.

      Almost as funny as that.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      Also please guarentee that I'll be able to work, atleast as well as I can do now, with my documents for eternity without any additional expenses ever.
      • Because once you have a generally accepted standard and applications that support it, you should be able to use those applications for a very long time.

        If an individual vendor ceases to support the standard, you have a good chance of finding another who will do so. In that case, you may have some expenses for switching applications but you can still can use your document format.

        With Microsoft, your chances of getting either are slim:
        -they often change their document formats, which leads to users of later Of
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:39PM (#22399728) Homepage
    What "nod" are they trying to win? They lost the nod, and they lost it bigtime, if you take a look at the countries who didn't show up just for that one vote. The only question is whether or not they paid enough to "buy the nod".

    I'm hoping that the non-bought votes that voted "yes" last time figure out what's going on and vote "no" this time. We'll see.
    • I'm hoping that the non-bought votes that voted "yes" last time figure out what's going on and vote "no" this time. We'll see.

      However, ISO has the same idiotic notion as the UN that all countries are equal, so there are probably a hundred more bullshit dictatorships that Microsoft can pay off to join the vote. I just hope that the bullshit dictatorships Microsoft paid off before make such outrageous demands for a new payoff that Microsoft refuses to pay.

      • However, ISO has the same idiotic notion as the UN that all countries are equal
        Got any better ideas? Population? Oh yeah, letting China and India take 1/3 of the votes is a great idea. Democracy? Well, first, you have to define democracy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rifter (147452)

          "However, ISO has the same idiotic notion as the UN that all countries are equal"

          Got any better ideas? Population? Oh yeah, letting China and India take 1/3 of the votes is a great idea. Democracy? Well, first, you have to define democracy.

          This depends on whether you are talking about the ISO or the UN. But with respect to the UN I do think that it would make sense to create a parallel organization that only admits democracies and gives votes based on population. Maybe certain measures would require a gi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Population? Oh yeah, letting China and India take 1/3 of the votes is a great idea. Democracy? Well, first, you have to define democracy.

          For ISO, I would say that a formula that combines GDP with per-capita GDP would give a good measure of who the real industrial innovators and players are. China has a high GDP but a low per-capita GDP. It has massive internal corruption, but it is still a global player. Per-capita GDP provides a good measure of corruption, since corruptions syphons it off.

          • Let's say the ISO votes should be weighted by the country's PPP GDP divided by US$1-trillion plus the per-capita PPP GDP divided by US$20,000. The US would have a voting weight of 16.16; China, 7.31; Germany, 4.55; Canada, 3.18; Russia, 2.81; New Zealand, 1.48; Iran, 1.47; Brunei, 1.29; Cote d'Ivoire, 0.123 [CIA World Fact Book [cia.gov]]. It would take quite a number of bullshit dictatorships to match the weight of a smaller first-world country — as it should be.
  • by mugnyte (203225) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:39PM (#22399742) Journal
    The horse has left without the cart. Office already saves thousands, if not millions, of documents in OOXML - today. MS cannot change their format - the spec is in the field. I'm somewhat surprised they haven't taken some things into consideration for future releases, but frankly the reality set.

      OOXML is not a standard. It cannot be used to shield any entity from MS's product changes. Also, OOXML extends into nebulous areas where other implementors or translators will be unable to replicate the viewers or editors like Office. Governments or corporations must take it or leave it.

    PS
      I recently received a DOCX from an MS rep and wrote back asking for a DOC format (we've not upgraded). They sent me a PDF. Moral: OOXML isn't a standard. There's no turning back - its a conversion world, not an interoperable one.

     
    • by AJWM (19027) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:33PM (#22400314) Homepage
      Office already saves thousands, if not millions, of documents in OOXML

      It's worse than that -- the MS-OOXML that Office saves documents in is not the same as the OOXML that MS spec'ed out to ECMA and got submitted to ISO. (This should be no surprise to anyone -- when has Microsoft ever produced software that matched the spec?) It's close, but different. Even if you could write software to the ECMA spec (doubtful since it is incomplete and ambiguous in places), it wouldn't interoperate well with MS Office.
      • by mugnyte (203225)

        MS-OOXML that Office saves documents in is not the same as the OOXML that MS spec'ed out to ECMA
        Wow. News to me.

          Wow. How utterly stupid. Thx for the info
      • by SEMW (967629)

        The MS-OOXML that Office saves documents in is not the same as the OOXML that MS spec'ed out to ECMA and got submitted to ISO. It's close, but different
        Lots of people have said that in this thread, but Wikipedia has no such claim and I can't find a source for any differences with a quick Google search. Could you possibly cite a difference between the submitted spec and what MS submitted, or point me to a source that does so? Thanks!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The horse has left without the cart. Office already saves thousands, if not millions, of documents in OOXML - today.

      Office does no such thing. Office 2007 .docx files are not ECMA 376 OOXML. Do not conflate the two as Microsoft obviously intends you to do.

      MS cannot change their format - the spec is in the field. I'm somewhat surprised they haven't taken some things into consideration for future releases, but frankly the reality set.

      If we take this as given, then let us be absolutely clear here: the result i

    • by MeNeXT (200840)
      Take it or leave it? Then just leave it.
  • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) * on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:11PM (#22400106) Homepage
    The "Deluge of facts KOs OOXML" article says that the "ECMA [is] a RIAA-like industry group dedicated to advancing its members' interests". wtf? Hardly!
    • ECMA is an industry group focused on advancing the interests of its members, which is the similarity to the RIAA. When people think of the RIAA today, they think of litigation. But the RIAA has always done more that just litigation, much like the MPAA has done more than litigation, including the famous ratings of film. At least that is what I draw from the referenced article. Here is a description of ECMA from the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org]:

      Unlike national standardization bodies, Ecma is a membership-based organiza

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:25PM (#22400238)
    We have discussed this before, and in the end it doesn't matter. Those DOCX Files are out in the wild. I see people at school saving their documents in DOCX all the time. The people using those MS Office can't open ODF Files. The Genie is out of the bottle. The ECMA can say OOXML is completely banned from becoming an ISO format ever and ODF is the true open format as it should be, in the end it makes no difference. M$ will just give the standards board the middle finger and people who use M$ Office will continue to use Office and like it because they have no other choice.
    • by AJWM (19027)
      If it will make no difference, then ECMA and ISO may as well give Microsoft the middle finger first and drop MS-OOXML as a proposed ISO standard. Save everyone a lot of trouble.

      But I'm curious. What makes you think that DOCX files bear more than a passing resemblence to what ECMA's proposing?
    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:52PM (#22400512) Journal
      But it does make a difference. Microsoft isn't doing this just to promulgate yet another document format. This is about the long-term viability of one of their major profit centers; the Office suite. Sure, docx is out in the wild, and sure we're all going to have to deal with until it's dumped and/or heavily modified version-by-version just as the Office 97 formats have been.

      As more and more organizations, and in particular various government agencies around the world start mandating that all documents be saved in an open format, this is where Microsoft's viability in the long term comes into question. If OOXML fails at the ISO (as it appears that it has a good chance of doing) then Microsoft has got a real long-term problem. Adopting ODF means opening up Office to meaningful competition. It means OO.org, KOffice, Google Docs and who the hell knows what else is coming down the pike over the next decade are going to start to eat into Office's huge market share.

      Now I think it's safe to say that in the medium term, Microsoft will continue with OOXML no matter what the ISO does, and it will, even if it adopts to some degree ODF try to mutilate by the "adopt, extend, extinguish" doctrine, and a good many government agencies, regardless of the mandate by politicians and senior bureaucrats, will roll over, but not all, and as long as a few major government agencies in North America and/or Europe refuse to recognize OOXML or whatever Microsoft comes up with next as an open format, the long-term viability of Office is in question.

      We're not talking about next year, or even in the next five years, but I think over the next decade or so, if Microsoft can't fool ISO into accepting its worthless, unimplementable format, then it's going to have a real problem. The whole structure of company is built on the operating system and Office divisions keeping the money rolling in. Everything else doesn't matter, and probably loses money, existing solely in the interests of brand name placement.

      The long-term solution I suspect Microsoft will move towards is some sort of rubber stamp standards commitee to compete with ISO, just like ECMA. The ultimate question is how long governments are going to let it get away with all of this. The EU seems to have a distinct hard-on against Microsoft at the moment, but the US doesn't currently give a damn one way or the other.
      • by remmelt (837671)
        > Microsoft has got a real long-term problem.

        Agreed. Of course, it will be good for consumers (more choice) and if spun right, good for MS as well: they will have to dig up the binder "Compete on merits, not on lock-in! (for dummies)", blow off the dust, and start making quality products again. I'm positive they can do it. This will make them look that much better, not only to customers but to us techies as well.
      • Implement a slightly buggy ODF reader in MSOffice, just like internet explorer has a slightly buggy html reader. People using MSOffice (because the firm already has a few thousand contracts of MSOffice, and so has it suppliers/partners) will complain that the ODF files from **Office don't work correctly in MSOffice. Expected line of tought: MS is a respectable company, right, so the fault must be with the free program of those stinkin hippies from **Office, better stick to MS. How can a free program be good
    • Governments have a need to keep documents for pretty long times, and they are increasingly aware of the problems they will get from a vendor that changes the default formats of its applications every few years. If you watch the IT news, you will see a tendency to mandate open document standards for government use.

      Now Microsoft has three options:
      1) Give the standards board the middle finger and lose the government business. Financial ouch, and more importantly companies who work with the government a lot mig
    • Slow down, cowboy. They will be forced to support ODF out of the box when governments switch to ODF as the standard format. The DIN conversion study clearly shows that OOXML is not rich enough to represent ODF 1.0 features, not the other way around. All people want is an ODF import and export filter as part of Office09. ODF beeing an ISO standard would make governments to default to ODF.
      • I know some people who work for the USian government. They don't give a damn what standard bodies certify Documents. They just care that it works.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:29PM (#22401726)
    Sorry, but this is bullshit.
    Quoting from zmotula's post [slashdot.org]:
    "...see the post [xmlguru.cz] by the guy who evaluated the OOXML specification for the Czech Normalization Institute. This means that Czech Republic is most probably going to vote for OOXML when the time comes."

    Read that post and you see that nearly every one of the Czech Republic's objections has been addressed (the only one not satisfactorily addressed was the Czech Republic's complaint that part of the spec has redundant info). Let me quote:

    ECMA already provided proposed resolution for 75 comments (out of total 75 Czech comments). This means that 100.00% of Czech comments were handled by ECMA.

    90.67% of comments were satisfactory resolved.

    8.00% of comments were resolved only partially.

    1.33% of comments were not satisfactory resolved. ... ...
    In fact I was really surprised how many "green boxes" are there at the end. I was expecting that ECMA will properly address only part of our comments. The vast majority of Czech comments was addressed by ECMA so it is time to say yes to OOXML.
  • I have an article in the pipeline on OOXML. I SO hope it shows up in time. It'll be in the XML section on developerWorks.

    KEEP PEELED EYES! Mmmm. Peeled eyes.
  • From the ECMA website:

    Many National Bodies identified specific functionality within the specification that reflected existing product defects or legacy application behaviors. These behaviors are important because they reflect the content in existing documents, but should not be perpetuated when creating new documents from scratch.

    I call bullshit.

    Keeping the old defects in a new standard for reasons of "compatibility" is not a good idea, because it means missing a good opportunity for improvement.
    Keeping the

  • That they deliberately named the damned thing to look like a piece of open office is dispicible.

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