Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Microsoft Stuffs OOXML Ballot Box in Sweden?


Sweden is the stage for the latest games being played as the ISO vote on OOXML approaches. Last minute arrivals (listed here) at the meeting of Sweden's technical committee tipped the vote in favor of OOXML.

Is this Microsoft's fault? The real problem is that countries like Sweden (and Portugal before this) never established clear, transparent rules on who and how votes take place.

And companies exploit this. Why? Because huge business interests are at stake, and they can. Microsoft gets its business partners to vote. Microsoft's competitors also show up to vote. They all pay their admission fee and vote.

This is what happens when a vote that should be based on technical and public interest grounds is left to companies to decide.

The basic question: why should companies vote at all on a country's position on a standard?

Whether one standard or another best serves the public interest of a country is not an issue that should be decided by companies, which all have huge market and business interests at stake. This is a decision for government -- weighed by technical experts and decided in a transparent process by politically accountable officials.

Anything less is unacceptable.

Categories: OpenStandards, OOXML, Sweden

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