Stuffing it Up – ODF and OOXML Document Format Battle II

This is the second in a three-part series. Read the first part.


Several dozen applications support the OpenDocument format, including Google Docs, StarOffice,, IBM and WorkSpace, Koffice and others. For more applications, see this (incomplete) list at the OpenDocument Fellowship and ODF Wiki Software. The Governments of Japan, South Africa, Malaysia, Brazil, France, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, India and others have adopted the ODF as the country standard and many more are following suit. In many countries, different government branches and commercial and nonprofit institutions have adopted ODF.



Ready to express railroad the format straight through to ISO approval, MS plays the game well by going to their friends at the EMCA International, a private (membership-based) standards organization for information and communication systems for rapid approval. It was absolutely certain EMCA would approve the format as soon as they accepted the format for standardization and created EcmaXML.

News: Citing major collaborative contributions from a dozen companies and institutions, including Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, The Library of Congress, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba, the Ecma International standards body today approved what will now be called Ecma Open XML – formerly Microsoft’s “Office Open XML” – as an international standard for document formatting.

In big business, companies make themselves more powerful by working in groups. They might share the same investment bankers, belong to the same country clubs and so on and so on. IBM has a group, Sun, Google, Oracle and others who share the same philosophy all flock together like birds of a feather. Well, in this EMCA cartel, IBM was the only member on the Ecma OOXML committee to vote NO and they only joined that committee to express their opinion. The rest of the cartel has a vested interest in OOXML. They claim they were all contributors of some sort to the format, but there is no proof.

The question is how did Nextpage, Barclays, Intel and the rest have time to adequately study the 6,000 pages in several short months to warrant this approval? And Apple – what reason did they have other than trying to keep the status quo in the market? What would Apple have to gain by going against the industry and supporting its main competitor?

The answer is easy. Today Microsoft needs competitors to avoid antitrust bodies in Europe, US and East Asia. So Microsoft has choosen its competitors in a way that maintains them but at the same time controls them. Patents are key for this trick, since they are the justification base of the monopolistic contract agreements between Microsoft and the “friendly” competitors they control. Currently the main two friendly competitors are Apple and… Novell.

This is the way that Microsoft continues monopolizing the market while – at the same time – they can maintain that they have competitors. Of course, these fake competitors are so happy maintaining and profiting from its 3-4% of the market while Microsoft holds and profit of the remaining +90%.

As Bob Sutor stated, “I would like nothing better to see Microsoft try to provide the best native and well integrated implementation of ODF on the planet. It would represent a real change in the industry regarding community developed and maintained open standards.” This action would bring a real benefit to Microsoft’s customers. But, the likelihood of this coming to pass is unlikely, as it will create an issue for Microsoft’s ‘competitors.’ Instead, it appears that they’ll try to maintain their market share by using a “difficult and gargantuan XML specification.”


ISO only selects a potential standard, it does not develop or maintain to go through the standardization process. It also has a mandate that there will be ‘one standard’ per field. Having several standards for the exact same thing defeats the purpose of having a standard. So how did and why ISO give OOXML preferential treatment? This remains a mystery.

Even as Microsoft announced that the format wars were over, they continue to play games behind the scenes. Their mention of suing Linux and for patent infringement and then saying that they won’t is a perfect example of manipulating minds in this process. Both the 14 May 2007 CNN article: “Microsoft takes on the free world,” and Eben Moglen’s “the be very afraid tour” video provides insight into the type of mind games that Microsoft likes to play.

News: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in a surprise move, has announced that it is putting Microsoft’s Open XML format—the file format used for Office 2007—on the fast track to become a full ISO standard. “According to an e-mail sent Saturday by Lisa Rajchel, the secretariat of ISO’s Joint Technical Committee (JTC-1) on Information Technology, the Open XML proposal, along with comments and criticism by nations that have already reviewed it, will be put on the ISO’s five-month balloting process.”

5 months to review a complicated 6,000 page document!?!

How they managed to pull this through is beyond most comprehension, especially for a standard so huge and so important. See the Digg reaction and read more at Groklaw.


OOXML Denied INCITS V1 Approval

NEWS: “INCITS V1, the US group responsible for the US vote over whether or not ANSI will grant fast-track approval to Microsoft’s OOXML format, failed to reach the 2/3 consensus required to recommend OOXML to ANSI. What makes this vote interesting is the graph in the article, showing all the new Microsoft business partners who joined INCITS just this year to vote for OOXML. The INCITS Executive Board will now deliberate further, until they can come to some agreement on what to recommend to ANSI, but it’s pretty clear that Microsoft is pushing OOXML as hard as it can.”

Listed below are some article headlines that validate this situation through opinions and facts:

Part Three >>>

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