Microsoft wins spoof award for OOXML fiasco

An open standards group has awarded the software giant the prize for "Best Campaigner against OOXML Standardization".
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Microsoft has been awarded a tongue-in-cheek prize by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure for the debacle surrounding its Office Open XML specification.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), an organization set up to aid the removal of barriers to competition in IT, gave the software giant the "Kayak Prize 2007", honoring Microsoft as the "Best Campaigner against OOXML Standardization". The FFII claimed Microsoft had done the most to discredit OOXML.

FFII president Pieter Hintjens said: "We could never have done this by ourselves. By pushing so hard to get OOXML endorsed, even to the point of loading the standards boards in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, and beyond, Microsoft showed to the world how poor their format is. Good standards just don't need that kind of pressure. All together, countries made over 10,000 technical comments, a new world record for an ISO vote. Microsoft made a heroic--and costly--effort to discredit their own proposal, and we're sincerely grateful to them."

The FFII said that Microsoft can collect the prize of €2,500 (US$3,546) minus the cost of registering the noooxml.org domain, which cost €12 (US$17).

FFII vice-president Alberto Barrionuevo said: "We ran a cheap campaign, mostly through that single Web site. So we're happy with a token reimbursement of our costs. Several of the Kayak Prize nominees told us they did not want any financial reward for their work. So, if Microsoft does not send someone to the award ceremony, we'll give the money to the Peruvian earthquake fund."

Microsoft admitted attempting to influence the outcome of votes to fast-track OOXML as an ISO standard last month. The voting process will finish in February.

Microsoft could offer no comment at the time of writing.

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