Buy, Cheat, Steal, and Lie: The OOXML Story

Today is an international day of mourning, mourning for the loss of the standardization process and for the fate of those who will suffer under OOXML and whatever other standards Microsoft decides to strong-arm through the ISO.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the process had been corrupted, the ISO officially acknowledged yesterday that DIS 29500, better known as OOXML, has been adopted as an ISO standard. The news leaked Tuesday after what appeared to be an official voting record was posted to an email list. Some reportedly believed the announcement to be an April Fool's Day joke — unfortunately, the only joke involved was the maligned and manipulated standards process that produced the result.

The OOXML adoption process has been rife with questionable and downright corrupt activity since the first vote in September. After stuffing committees , they earned themselves an investigation by the European Commission, quite possibly the only government body in the world they haven't bought off. They've blamed IBM for the initial defeat, borked the BRM, slandered well respected men and women alike, planted wolves in sheep's clothing — pretty much everything short of resurrecting Machiavelli, and we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they tried that too. Linux Journal's Glyn Moody has an excellent commentary on the scandalous events which goes into far greater detail than we can in Breaking News.

Where does the mess go from here? A few places. The European Commission is, as we said above, already investigating Microsoft's conduct, and are rumored to be looking into voting irregularities in Poland and Denmark. A formal protest has been filed in Norway seeking an annulment of the vote, and a complaint over the UK's about-face is reportedly in the works. At the ISO, there is a two month window for appeals to be filed, though there's nothing to suggest the same tactics won't be used against an appeal. There's hope — albeit faint — that the adoption of a second standard could be ruled a violation of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, an international treaty to which the United States is a party.

A 2007 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit may end up coming back to haunt Microsoft in their ongoing U.S. antitrust battle. The case revolved around claims by Broadcom that Qualcomm had deliberately included its patents in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standard in order to create a monopoly for its products. The appeals court held that if a company acts deceptively to gain adoption of a standard that then results in a monopoly to their advantage, they can be held to have violated anti-trust laws, irrespective of their right to determine the use of their patents. Interestingly enough, the Court of Appeals ruling relies on a Federal Trade Commission ruling which in turn relied on — drumroll, please — United States v. Microsoft, the very case that put MS under supervision in the first place.

All we can say is, we hope that with this many available avenues, something is done to rectify the farce acted out over the last several months.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Is Microsoft using CNBC to LEVERAGE OOXML FRAUD against Yahoo?

Anonymous's picture

CNBC never wrote a feature article about OOXML.

But the crew on "Fast Money" Friday afternoon said that they had been increasing their positions in Microsoft earlier in the week. So, Microsoft stock had increased price momentum from OOXML this week. It just needed a little extra juice Friday afternoon. Why would CNBC bang the drum from noon til close Friday April 4th 2008 on Cable TV and the internet about shareholder lawsuits against Yahoo if Yahoo did not accept the Microsoft takeover bid, but then CNBC is mum on the OOXML Fraud at the ISO and only publishes a press release about the Microsoft OOXML "victory".


Yahoo! Inc. Apr. 3, 2008

Market Close: $ 28.36

After Hours Trade Reporting

After Hours Last: $ 27.42
After Hours High: $ 28.37
After Hours Volume: 7,883,773
After Hours Low: $ 26.57


Microsoft Corporation Apr. 3, 2008

Market Close: $ 29.16

After Hours Trade Reporting

After Hours Last: $ 29.60
After Hours High: $ 29.75
Volume: 1,589,961
After Hours Low: $ 29.0278

A search on the morning of Staurday April 5th 2008 for ooxml from for all of CNBC created the two following press releases (not CNBC feature stories):

NEWS Results 1 - 2 of 2 for ooxml
Date | Relevance
Ecma Office Open XML Document Format Appears to Win Approval as an ISO/IEC Standard Final vote appears overwhelmingly in favor; input from 87 national bodies contributed to an improved specification.
0:00 DT, April 1, 2008 | Source: PR Newswire | Relevance: 43.301%
Ecma Office Open XML Document Format Appears to Win Approval as an ISO/IEC Standard Final vote appears overwhelmingly in favor; input from 87 national bodies contributed to an improved specification.

Software Freedom Law Center Publishes Analysis of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise Nonprofit Group Says Microsoft Promise Provides No Assurance for Developers
9:00 DT, March 12, 2008 | Source: Business Wire | Relevance: 100%
Software Freedom Law Center Publishes Analysis of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise Nonprofit Group Says Microsoft Promise Provides No Assurance for Developers

Microsoft FUD attempt to scare Yahoo via.CNBC

Anonymous's picture


this comment is off topic for OOXML fraud but, on topic for Microsoft fraud in general.

Please monitor, investigate, report, and enlighten as many honest minds as possible. Thanks for your great work.

CNBC hauls Microsoft wastewater along with FUD and BullShit on Friday April 4, 2008. All day today CNBC has been setting up the story about Microsofts' dismay about Yahoos' resistance to their takeover bid. At lunchtime today the CNBC wastewater boys started talking about shareholder lawsuits. The CNBC news (propaganda/market priming/market manipulation) has continued all day through market close and it continues with full crap slosh on "fast money" . After hours trading shows Yahoo down and Microsoft up. Manipulation accomplished.

Yahoo is to hold a managers meeting on Monday.

4:39 PM ET
36 minutes ago
Microsoft: Walking Out On Yahoo Or Saber Rattling?

Typical Microsoft Behavoir

Gary Ratliff Sr.'s picture

Well this is typical Microsoft behavior. Remember that they stole outright compression technology from Stacker.
They lost a suite for $120 million for doing so. Then they turned around and just bought the company.

Perhaps they are upset that they can't bully many more into paying their bribe to hold harmless than Novell, and the others who have entered deals with them recently.

Oh yes

Justin Ryan's picture

Thanks for your comment Gary. Yes, this is definitely standard operating procedure for Microsoft, no doubt whatsoever. The thing is, it shouldn't be. And I don't mean in the "nobody should be this evil" sense, I mean, they shouldn't be allowed to get away with this stuff.

Over a hundred years ago, the United States recognized the inherent danger of monopolies and moved to outlaw their activities and act against those who thought they were above the law. Now, almost 120 years later, here we are with companies doing exactly the same things, crushing competition and buying off regulators. My question is, why is this allowed? It's not like it's going on in secret; the evidence of their activities is almost as voluminous as their "standard."

Why isn't the court that is supposed to be monitoring them — for exactly what their doing — intervening? Why isn't the FTC stepping in? Where are the governments in all the countries that they bribed or disenfranchised outright? For that matter, where is the ISO leadership that is supposed to be protecting us from these sorts of things? Where are the lawsuits, the Congressional hearings, the criminal charges, the guillotine set up in the Redmond town square?

The EU is doing their part by investigating, and they'll probably find Microsoft guilty of something and nail them with a couple billion more in fines. I hope they do. But Microsoft is an American company, an American monopoly, and it's the U.S. government's responsibility to put a stop to it. They missed their chance to bust them up in U.S. v. Microsoft, and now their completely AWOL.

It just isn't good enough.

Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

Do something about it!

AnonymousWon's picture

There must be something we can do apart from just bitching about it?
Any suggestions?


Justin Ryan's picture

...on where you are.

If you're in the EU, complain to your government representatives, ask them to support the EC's investigation and push for real sanctions against Microsoft.

If you're not, contact Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Commerce, tell her the same things, and show support for her tough stand against Microsoft.

If you're in the US, contact your government officials. Call your Congressperson and your Senators. Call the Federal Trade Commission. Call the Department of Justice. Call the White House if you want. Demand hearings. Demand the DOJ file another lawsuit. Demand the DOJ file something in the lawsuit they already have. Send letters. Send faxes. Send email. (Remembering that they usually decrease in effectiveness as you go down the list; calls get more action than letters, which get more action than faxes, which get more action than email.) There was a time a few years ago when research said fifty calls from constituents could change a U.S. Senator's vote on most any issue. If hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of constituents call, write, fax, and email, they're going to wake up and pay attention.

Organize a letter writing campaign. Organize a boycott. Write about it: on your blog, to your local paper, to a national paper.

Protest. Picket in Redmond. Picket at the White House. Picket at the United Nations. Picket at the Vatican. Picket at the penguin cage at the zoo!

Contact the media. Call CNN. Call ABC. Call CBS. Probably not very useful to call MSNBC, but call them anyway. Call the BBC. Call the Times. Call Le Monde.

Pull strings. Know the daughter of the FCC chairman? Get a meeting! Know the Attorney General's Aunt Gertrude? Get a meeting! Know Prince Andrew? Get a meeting! Know the Pope? Get a meeting!

And, of course, the most effective of all: Stop buying Microsoft products. Ban them from your home, and do everything you can to ban them from your workplace. Spread the word to everyone you know about what Microsoft has done, and why it matters. Most people aren't pro-Microsoft, they're just uninformed about what Microsoft is doing, and how it affects them and everyone else. So tell them!

Note: These are just suggestions. I'm not suggesting everyone should do all of them, just something.

Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.