EU investigating OOXML vote

EU investigating OOXML vote

Summary: The EU is investigating Microsoft's handling of the OOXML vote, in which Microsoft's problem-ridden format was approved by the ISO, CNET reports.In an ongoing investigation, the EU checked in with several European countries where there were allegations of irregularities.


The EU is investigating Microsoft's handling of the OOXML vote, in which Microsoft's problem-ridden format was approved by the ISO, CNET reports.

In an ongoing investigation, the EU checked in with several European countries where there were allegations of irregularities.

In a letter seen by CNET, European regulators queried the national standards body in Norway to gain details into the local standardization process. Specifically, the European Commission sought information on attempts to influence the debate or vote over the standards proposal. In response, Standards Norway said there was heated debate but not any "inappropriate behavior that endangered our process," according to a document seen by CNET

ooxml.JPG also reports the EU is talking to Microsoft about the vote, as well.

Microsoft's general manager of standards and interoperability Tom Robertson said that Microsoft, too, has been queried as part of the investigation. He said that Microsoft will "fully cooperate" with any investigation from the Commission. In response to the accusations of stacking committees, Robertson said that IBM and other competitors have done exactly what Microsoft is accused of doing. For example, an employee from Google, which opposed Open XML standardization, joined the Finnish national committee only three days before a vote. "It seems that one of the main concerns that people have raised about the process is the broad-based participation in the standards body deliberation," he said. "I think it's ironic IBM is complaining about new members in national standards bodies when they have been working around the clock to get people to join."

Topics: CXO, Government, Government UK, Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Here come the conspiracy theories!

    I predicted this months ago. Microsoft wins, the vocal minority and the EU socialists cry conspiracy!

    Well, what about the conspiracy, bias and over representation of the open source supporters on these boards, organisations and technical commitees who got to vote? Why was there no outcry at how unrepresentative the supporters of ODF and open source communities are on these standards bodies and committee's???

    It never ceases to amaze me, you don't like the outcome so you challenge the integrity of the process and those who participated but rather than looking in your own backyard for any innappropriate behaviour or representations you begin by attacking the successful party saying they got their unfairly or in a underhanded way! Hypocrites.

    This is a win for common sense and the overwhelming majority of the world who don't use open source, or OpenOffice or other similar apps and therefore have no desire or need for ODF.
    • Re: Here come the conspiracy theories!

      [i]This is a win for common sense and the overwhelming majority of the world who don't use open source, or OpenOffice or other similar apps and therefore have no desire or need for ODF.[/i]

      Speaking of theories.

      It really doesn't matter to users whether ooxml was approved. I mean, really, if you're an Office user, how is this a win for you? Do you mean it's really sucked so far but now things are looking brighter? What's going to change for you because of ISO approval?

      none none
    • ODF is not equal to OpenOffice. ODF actualy has everything needed to

      support the features of MS Office or any other office suite for that matter. The OOXML standard only creates a lot of compatibility problems for no reason.
      • Well yeah! You expected something less?

        Considering the sheer mass of the OOXML standard, part of the goal is obviously to create compatibility problems (along with confusion). OOXML is a beast, pure and simple.

        [i]The OOXML standard only creates a lot of compatibility problems for no reason.[/i]
    • Conspiracy?

      Well, perhaps in your little RDF.

      You don't get out much, and clearly have forgotten little insignificant incidents such as ...
      • And you believe everything in the media!?

        Oh please, show me the hard evidence!

        I am sick of the unsourced and unsupported claims of bribes, greasing the wheel and incentives. Who is the quote from on Infosource, what was their role and where is their evidence?

        I could make exactly the same claims and unproven statements about the intellectual blackmailing, coercion, greasing, lobbying and outright bullying the disproportionate number of ODF and Open Office, IBM supporters were doing behind the scenes. Oh, but I forgot it is OK for ODF backers to do it but not the other side?

        Show me the proof..and don't point me to the media for god sake!

        At the moment all I hear are lots of disgruntled statements from the vocal minority making outlandish statements and claims to support their view that they were and are right and that the majority are wrong.
        • Interesting...

          You scream and rant for "real evidence" of bribery and corruption and claim that reading a story from "the media" doesn't prove anything. And yet all of your comments are rants accusing FLOSS supporters of the very same conduct. So I guess that means you don't need evidence, but you expect everyone else to, and discard it when they do?

          You must be a parody. Either that, or you're just stupid.
    • The "Standard" practice

      Is NOT to investigate the victim of a knife fight to determine why he committed suicide-by-knife, but to investigate the winner of the knife fight to determine why he murdered the victim.

      Your predictions are so predictable. Criminals always whine that everybody else was committing the same crime when they are apprehended, or even investigated in this case.
      Ole Man
    • You lost any credibility at "EU Socialists", Martin_Australia

      B/c by that statement, you're clearly marking yourself as a Rethuglican-Tory right-wing MicroShaft anticompetitive bigot.
  • Are you surprised that the EU investigating OOXML vote?

    They are doing everything in their power to "evict" Microsoft from the EU, leaving only "homegrown" Linux distros as the only choice avaliable, so is anyone surprised at their "investigation"?

    If OOXML was voted down, the "inproprieties" would have still been present, but at that point the EU would not have bothered. Why?

    Because it is not the process that the EU dislikes, it is the outcome.
    John Zern
    • Not suprised at all given all of the dirty tricks. And, even if OOXML were

      not approved, the actions are still just as bad.
      • I agree, all sides where playing dirty

        the were just as bad no matter who had done them, but I was just pondering a thought that if OOXML was turned down for approval, would the EU have "cared" at that point to look into it?
        • Hmm...

          So can you give any examples of the playing dirty on the anti-OOXML side? All, I've heard complaian is Microsoft. Not to be too picky, but they don't haev a long history of telling the truth.
          Let's see,
          1) Accusation: hidden code in Windows to deter use of DR Dos (proof: beta copies of Windows 3.1, plus the lawsuit, plus the message still exists within the released versions of Windows 3.1, but is disabled, numerous other sources [ie "Unauthorized Windows 95" by A. Schulman).
          2) Accusation: stolen copyrighted code incorporated in Windows 3.1. (Proof: Stacker lawsuit and Microsoft recall of affected software)
          3) Netscape. 'Nuff said.
          4) Do you really want me to go on?

          So anything MS says needs to be scrutinized, and not taken at face value. So do anyone have any proof or witness besides MS that there were shenanigans on the anti-OOXML side? Anyone? Didn't think so. Sometimes, the media actually reports the truth, like in this case.
        • Felons always say all people is like them

          thats #1 argument of any crook, thieve and liar:

          ...but everybody does the same!

          BS, sir.
          • You seem a bit too overly familiar with that.

            I did not know that was the #1 argument of a crook. In fact, i don't know much about crooks, thieves or liars. <br><br>
            I guess you do. <br><br>
            But what about all the dirty tricks trying to stop it? In your mind, they are not dirty i suppose, since they were on the side of "justice". Is that it. <br><br>
            What a load of BS. <br><br>
            It's time all of the ABM zealots quit sucking their thumbs and do for themselves instead of trying to bring down MS so they get a free ride into the market. <br><br>
            I have no respect for anyone who can't find their own way, but must do so at the expense or others, even if they claim the "others" are "felons". <br>
            yes, sure sir, all of the employees and their families and children are all felons and evil and should have their jobs taken from them. <br>
            I'm afraid in the end, sir, you are the thief here.
  • RE: EU investigating OOXML vote

    Martin, please give an example of inappropriate behavior on the part of those opposed to the acceptance of DIS 29500.

    The issue with DIS 29500 is that there are a number of feature which only Microsoft can implement. Anyone is welcome to have proprietary features in their own products.

    On the other hand those same proprietary features should not not make it into ISO standards.

    Microsoft and ECMA had many opportunities to to remove those features in the editing process. Instead of handling the issues at a technical, Microsoft chose to force that standard through political mean.

    As to the conspiracy angle, I don't believe any denies that the issue became very political. Now it is time to step back and make sure the in the heat of the moment no one acted improperly.
  • Hopfully all of the irregularities will be disclosed. This is a black eye

    for OSI, and they have a lot of work to do to restore their image.
    • There is no restoring the image

      because the black eye was not given by MS alone.
      Take IBM. If they could block OOXML, they stand to win more contracts by blocking out MS. So they 'campaigned', or do we call it 'lobbied'? Oh, we could call it bribed, but that seems to be only when MS 'campaigned'(and yes, you can take that as my calling you the mindless hypocrite you are).

      Many for-profit folks were way too involved in throwing cash at just about everyone for the 'image' to be restored.

      And as long as folks like you are willing to look the other way only for one side, there really is no salvaging the system
  • Erm to you.

    The guy is saying he will not accept something as a fact until he sees some proof for it. That's absolutely the correct position to take - too many people, especially on the internet, are suckered in by spin, conjecture and half truths.

    He asked for some evidence. You say its fact. It should not be hard for you provide a couple of links to credible sources.
    • Microsoft give their feet both barrels

      The thrashing, anti-consumer dinosaur Microsoft, "winning" a battle, losing the war ...
      "Microsoft may have won a year-long quest to make its Office Open XML document format an ISO-recognised international standard, but claims of foul play in the voting process may come back to haunt the software giant when the European Commission concludes its latest antitrust investigation of Microsoft's business practices. The Commission sent a confidential request for information to all the national divisions of the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) in Europe, asking for information about the ongoing process of assessing OOXML.

      "In your opinion, have there been any irregularities or attempts to influence the debate or vote on the ECMA 376 proposal as regards your organisation? If so please provide details and any relevant facts," the Commission wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by IDG News Service. ECMA 376 is the title under which Microsoft submitted OOXML for consideration by the ISO.

      The request for information, known as an Article 18 letter, is a formal procedure carried out by the Commission's antitrust officials, designed to gather evidence of antitrust abuse"

      More info in the article.

      As for "interoperable", Microsoft's OOXML isn't even interoperable with their own Office software - what a crock.

      "Confusingly, the Office Open XML format being assessed by the ISO "is not what Microsoft implements in the Office suite," Vinje said, adding that "If you implement OOXML, you don't get interoperability with Office."