OOXML vote was fair – Microsoft
Software giant Microsoft has said in an interview that allegations that it had improperly influenced the vote on OOXML as an ISO standard were unfounded and arose mostly from individuals and companies unhappy with the vote’s result. “People who didn’t like the outcome are attacking the outcome,” said Tom Robertson, Microsoft’s general manager for interoperability and standards, in an interview Friday. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) last week anounced that its members had voted in favour of approving OOXML as a new document format standard.
Critics, particularly those from the open source community, lobbied aginst the ratification of OOXML as a standard, arguing, in part, that there was already an ISO-approved document standard in the Open Document Format or ODF.
South Africa’s minister of public service and administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moloketi, said in a speech ahead of the voting process that the introduction of a new standard for doument storage would add confusion to the market. “It is difficult to see how consumers will benefit from these two overlapping ISO standards,” the minister said.
Unfortunately, coverage of the minister’s speech by some SA media confused the issues, and set Fraser-Moleketi against the IT industry as a whole. UWC’s Derek Keats addressed many of these confusions in a published letter to the Business Report.
South Africa was one of a handful of countries that voted against approving OOXML as an ISO standard. Other countries that voted against OOXML were Canada, China, Ecuador, India, Iran, New Zealand and Venezuela.
Ubuntu Linux founder and Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth said in an interview with ZDNet that the adoption of OOXML was a â€œsadâ€ day for the ISO and computing in general.
“It’s sad that the ISO was not willing to admit that its process was failing horribly,” he said, noting that Microsoft intensely lobbied many countries that traditionally have not participated in ISO and stacked technical committees with Microsoft employees, solution providers and resellers sympathetic to OOXML.
“The things that make for a very good standard are clarity and consensus, and the genuine belief that multiple organizations can implement the standard,” he added, noting that much of OOXML is a compilation of old Office “quirks and inconsistencies” dumped into an XML format that different Microsoft developers implemented differently for different versions of Word and Excel.
“They have a tasty dump of all of that declared as a standard,” Shuttleworth claimed.