US $30,000 – the cost of a “yes” vote for OOXML in Sweden (Updated)

Apparently Microsoft sent a memo to its Gold Partners instructed them to join the Swedish Institute of Standards and vote yes for OOXML. This memo has now leaked to the media and IDG has broken the news.

The Groklaw volunteer “Ghost” has translated part of the IDG news report and there is now an alternative translation at OS2World.

Swedish newspaper, Computer Sweden, now confirms that Microsoft did send out e-mails to get Gold Partners to get them to vote via one of the Gold Partners that received the e-mail and phone calls from Microsoft. According to the e-mail that Microsoft sent out and only to few partners, at least that is what Microsoft claims, Gold Partners expect to participate at the meeting with SIS (Swedish Standards Institute) and “to vote yes to Open XML”. The partner companies are also asked to participate to a number of meetings after the vote to “show good will”.

Basically Microsoft told its Gold Partners that in return for the expenses accrued through doing Microsoft’s bidding they would be recompensed via marketing subsidies and other support. Here are some very good reasons why OOXML should never make it as a standard.

The FFII Sweden described it thus:

In meeting at SIS yesterday on the standardisation of Microsoft’s OOXML file format (i.e. in principle the file format used in Office 2007) 23 new companies suddenly appeared that had not previously participated in the working group, a majority of these companies are Microsoft partners. From a clear NO-majority among the members, the result in the course of just one day became a YES. The final result was 25 in favour, 6 against; 4 members left the meeting. This also means that the work with hundreds of suggested corrections have been made void in one day; they will not be forwarded to ISO in any form — despite strong criticism against the proposal from several significant parties. Among these, most had been active since before, e.g. National Archives, The Royal Library and Sun, all of which had submitted criticism on several points.

If people can buy standards like this then the process is broken and worthless..


Sweden’s SIS has now declared this vote to be invalid:

The Swedish working group of SiS, Swedish Standards Institute, Document description languages, SIS/TK 321/AG 17, decided on 27 August 2007 at a vote to vote for making Office Open XML an ISO standard. Today the board of SiS decided to invalidate the vote. The motive of the decision of the board is that SiS has information suggesting that one of the members in the working group has participated in the vote with more than one vote. […]