Saturday, 1 September 2007

The Swedish OOXML vote has been declared invalid!

The Swedish Standards Institute has tonight issued a press release where they declared this weeks earlier vote regarding OOXML as invalid. This means that Sweden doesn't have any official position regarding OOXML any more.The official reason for invalidating the vote was because one of the participants voted twice, which is against the rules. As it turns out, the voter appears to be a Microsoft supporter, bringing new evidence to the already dirty list of tricks Microsoft has employed to win the Swedish vote.I was shocked when I heard earlier that Microsoft had effectively "bought" the Swiss vote on OOXML, with 20 Certified Microsoft Partners joining just hours before the decision was made. This in itself would seem suspicious, but when you also consider that Microsoft sent an email to some of their Certified Partners offering them more dollars for marketing support if they voted for OOXML, the situation looks overwhelmingly like bribery. I wouldn't have thought that a company like Microsoft would stoop to such dishonest tactics. But regardless of the morality of the issue, Microsoft's approach to this vote has demonstrated an important factor: fear.By using underhanded tactics to swing the votes in their favour, Microsoft has inevitably demonstrated that they believe they would otherwise have lost the vote. This means Microsoft doesn't believe that OOXML could stand up to ODF on an even playing field. Just as they recently showed their fear of Linux as a viable competition to Windows, Microsoft has now admitted that open standards are a very real threat to their monopoly.It will be interesting to see the result of the ISO vote on document formats later this year. If things continue to go as they have been, this looks like it will be the biggest single manipulation of the standards industry for the advantage of one company that has ever been seen. Here's hoping that we don't have to accept the proprietary standards of Microsoft, especially after seeing the anti-competitive behaviour they have exhibited in the Swedish vote.

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