Microsoft has joined the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee, which plays a key role in the ratifying the OpenDocument format as an international standard, according to Ingrid Marson's report on ZDNet. Groklaw's Pamela Jones speculated that Microsoft's intentions may not be pure--the wolf in the hen house--and the company would like to sabotage ODF ratification and promote its own format, Open XML File Format.
Here they are on the list, bold as brass, on the INCITS V1 list, the group that has the job of reconciling comments ISO voters make with the work OASIS is doing and deciding whether resolution has been reached. There sits Microsoft, waiting, like a spider.
I know. They just want to help out.
I hope I'm not giving them ideas, but all they would have to do to slow ODF down, I'm thinking, is ensure lots of discussion, review, documentation, exploration, etc. to arrange that ISO can't ratify ODF until ECMA is ready to submit their competing XML.
That can't be the plan, I'm sure. That would be mean and anticompetitive.
It's rare that there would be no comments needing resolution. And if there is a comment, it has to be sent around to everyone, and then there has to be a response, and then consensus has to be reached. You get the picture. Meanwhile, Microsoft's XML is whizzing through ECMA's special fast track process.
Accusation denied by Microsoft. Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of standards affairs, said that Microsoft's presence in the group won't impact the voting process for ODF.
Olavi Petri, a researcher in Finland, responded to the news in his Talkback post:
Effects on the group's other activities remain unaddressed. Voting is only one small part of what the INCITS/V1 Technical Committee will be doing. There will be plenty of other opportunity for MS to throw sand in the gears. If MS has truly made a 180-degree turn and decided to make positive contributions to OpenDocument, then the OASIS Technical Committee would be the place to do that instead of ISO's INCITS/V1. MS has been repeatedly invited to join and repeately encouraged to join by observers. To make a positive impact, it would be a matter of accepting the invitation and joining the OASIS TC.
However, the place where MS has the potential to have the most negative impact on OpenDocument at this stage would be ISO's INCITS/V1.
Actions speak louder than words.
Indeed, let's see what Microsoft actually does as a participant on INCITS/V1 before issuing the final judgement...