Microsoft spins OOXML loss as a win

Microsoft spins OOXML loss as a win

Summary: Microsoft lost its effort to win "fast track" approval of its OOXML (which it calls Open XML) as an international standard, but you wouldn't know that from reading much of the press coverage.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Brooklyn Bridge in 1904 from PBSMicrosoft lost its effort to win "fast track" approval of its OOXML (which it calls Open XML)  as an international standard, but you wouldn't know that from reading much of the press coverage.

Not exactly. As C|Net's own Martin Lamonica reports, Microsoft needed two-thirds of the "participating" members in the ISO to vote yes in order to get OOXML declared a standard. It got 17, and 15 voted no. That's not two-thirds. It's not even close.

Among others who got the story right were Ars Technica, Web Informant, and PC World. Not to mention a host of bloggers.

The game is still on. Microsoft can get another vote in March after addressing technical questions attached to the votes. It may win that one.

But this is not a technical question. It is a political question. You don't try to buy votes on technical questions. You do on political questions.

You also don't try to spin technical arguments about engineering standards. You do on political arguments. Whether to make Microsoft's OOXML, or Open XML, an international standard is a political question, and this weekend Microsoft lost the first vote.

Don't believe me? OK, Larry Craig is not gay. We're winning in Iraq. Global warming is a hoax. Housing prices are headed up. And that bridge at the top of this post?

I'll let you have it for a song. My real estate agent can give you a full report.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • This time you got it right!

    Hi Dana

    Why don;t we see more 'real' analysis of MS-OPEN XML on ZDNET to show its true colors of it's openness. Is' it because 'advertising revenue'?. True journalism is not always money, but delivering the real news to it's readers. I don;t see a good attempt from any your the bloggers including our own, Mary Jo on this topic. I am sure George Ou will have a few 'memory dumps' to show why OpenXML is great. Tell him this is about standards and not implementation of any product.
    • CNet got it right

      WE're part of CNet. We got it right. I'm proud of that. I linked to my colleague Martin Lamonica's copy.

      This is one of the big changes which has taken place in the last few years. ZDNet is no longer affiliated with the ZD computer magazines.

      I believe we've entered a new era of credibility with stories like this, and I'm sad to see how many publishers continue to just shovel their readers whatever spin their sources give them.

      But it's your choice. You can choose them or you can choose us.And we're willing to be judged on that basis.
  • A Yes might have been worse for MS

    A No vote with comments means that MS may actually attempt to address some of the comments. Even the countries that, let's use a neutral word, "enticed" to vote yes still expected their comments to be addressed.

    With a yes vote, inside MS, they would throw some effort to address the least relevant and easiest to resolve comments, all that minimally impacted their office 2007 product. There would be a HUGE resistance to actually fix the tough ones that require substantial changes to Office 2007. With the standard "in the bag" with a yes vote, little expect more lobbying would be done. They might then have been surprised when a lot of "Yes with comments" become flat out "No" when they simply assumed all the "Yes Men" would stay "Yes"

    Now, lobbying will still be job #1 from MS on it's OOXML initiative, however, there will be much more effort put into making OOXML into something resembling a standard.

    They have an uphill road though. Some of the flaws in OOXML are so fundamental, to fully address them requires a substantial rewrite of Office 2007. At least with a no vote, the mission statement "Address all problems with the standard that require zero changes to office 2007" is less likely.

    • Good comment

      I would not underestimate Microsoft's ability to shift the vote between now and March, and good answers to the questions is a big part of that.

      Thank so much for writing.
    • I agree with a lot of what YOU say here, but

      can you agree their spin on it is as false as what they closed this blog with? That just sounded like anti-microsoft drum beating to me and not much else.
      • You lost me.

        [B]their spin on it is as false as what they closed this blog with[/B]

        What I suggested was genuine. It will be in MS's best interests to address the problems. I think more effort would be put into the comments since a no vote happened.

        • Never mind, figured it out

          What the blog authors wrote. I can agree the sarcasm is quite intense at the end of the blog.

  • Why (.rtf) should suffer to a GXL future mark is only a pullback.

    We are all going to miss not having XML, but RSS has pretty much taken the industry for practical purposes online.

    Even the new release expectation of <cfm> Microsoft Servers for Small Businesses and Entreprenuers may not have this feature value for quality rendering during use; it will certainly grow market share in the USA.

    Putting an indefinite cap on Anti-trust issues as Microsoft moves forward with Linux based operating system sales and development.
  • Not a surprise......

    With all the spin that Microsoft does, it's a miracle that they haven't spun themselves out into the far reaches of the universe by now.
    linux for me
    • What disturbs me is not the spin

      What disturbs me is the way journalists accept the spin and parrot it.

      Back in the day there used to be such a thing as credibility. If a publication or a journalist was continually non-credible, if they were selling spin as fact constantly, they got dumped.

      This is a responsibility which now falls on individual readers and individual writers. I'm willing to be measured by you every day. If you think that I lie, don't read me.
      • "Don't read me."

        I intend to NOT read you anymore.

        "What disturbs me is the way journalists accept the spin and parrot it." Methinks thou dost protesteth too much, since you did EXACTLY the same thing with the garbage you are being fed by those with certain political agendas.

        Goodbye Dana.
        • That's OK, Dana

          I'll read your column twice and leave off
          somebody else's.

          Keep up the good work! I believe in people
          (and corporations) getting what they
          deserve, whenever possible. Now, if they
          ever tape your mouth closed, you won't be
          able to give them what they deserve.
          Ole Man
          • Response

            I choose not to dignify your inane response with a substantial one from me. People like you are too sheep-like and/or brainwashed to think for yourselves enough to objectively listen to both sides of an argument and form your own opinions anyway, so it would be a total waste of time on my part to respond. That obviously includes you AND Dana.

            Good bye to you, too, "Ole Man".
          • I'm confident that

            When MSFT loses a vote in a standards body, I'm pretty certain that the code stunk.

            I'm more than a little miffed at MonkeySoft right now because ActiveSync is returning a very determined "85010014" error code when I try to sync my T-Mobile Dash (Windows Mobile 6) with Outlook 2007. VERY determined. It synced exactly once ... and then bailed. Don't do a Google search on that error code and respond unless you actually KNOW the answer because it is apparent MSFT does NOT know what the problem is.
            Jambalaya Breath
  • Swallowing Microsoft's spin seemed typical this morning

    Seems too many sites and news orgs were eager to report Microsoft's spin as fact. Given the misinformation and FUD Microsoft has spewed during this whole debacle, I should not have been surprised that they had already written their take on the loss "as a win."

    Thanks Dana, for keeping it light. I believe you, and love your sense of humor!
    • Thanks, now on to Washington

      I find too many Washington reporters buy the spin of the politicians they cover.

      I also think too many sportswriters buy the spin of the teams they cover.

      But we're umpires. Or judges. We're not supposed to care who wins.

      Or at least we're supposed to pretend we don't.
      • Cut thro' the spin

        Well done Dana, thanks for telling it how it is and cutting thro' the spin (BS)
  • attitudes

    I find it both ironic, moronic and insulting that you inject your own tilted politics into an objection about someone else' politicizing a technical subject. You have lost any credibility you *may* have had.
  • RE: Microsoft spins OOXML loss as a win

    I subscribe to ZD for technical info,and not to seek your political opinions.You have a right to your political opinions, but I'm not interested in them. Keep them to yourself.
  • RE: Microsoft spins OOXML loss as a win

    Dana Blankenhorn & Paula Rooney are wannabe political pundits. Flamers, for short.