EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.27.08

Is a Vote for OOXML (Office Open XML) as an ISO illegitimate?

Posted in Antitrust, Interoperability, ISO, Microsoft, Standard at 11:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Commission has just published the following document in a very timely fashion.

Egyedi, a researcher of technical standards, at the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands, doubts whether ISO should have a taken into consideration a second standard for electronic documents at all. ISO approved the Open Document Format ODF in 2006, says Egyedi: “What are we to do with a second standard, which is overlapping the first? This conflicts with rules of the World Trade Organisation.”

The standards specialist refers to the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which states that duplication or overlap should be avoided.

I could not help but recalling a discussion that I had a couple of months ago. The evidence that had been gathered by a friend (preferably unnamed until permission is granted) showed the very same thing, which we shall present here. It was never published anywhere. (Update: the evidence had been gathered by Russell Ossendryver of Fanaticattack, who sent me the following a few weeks ago and has just allowed me to reveal his identity)


There should be an immediate freeze on a vote put forth by the JTC 1

Microsoft’s proposal that its Office Open XML specification become an International Standard is ineligible for further preparation as a standard on grounds that it would create an unnecessary obstacle to international trade.

“…OOXML as an ISO has become illegitimate and any vote on it should be placed on hold until all anti-trust litigations are resolved.”Microsoft wants this process to be "left to the experts" and that the discussion should be only technical in nature. But the whole point of the ISO status is economic in nature: ISO is first and foremost about lowering obstacles to trade. Microsoft’s OOXML would RAISE obstacles to trade by giving ISO status to only one vendor: Microsoft.

In light of the compliant filed by the ECIS, BECTA filing a anti-trust complaint with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK, the calling of Microsoft to release information on the legacy formats into the public domain by NLnet,
a Dutch foundation for an open information society because as it is, it hampers third-party development, OOXML as an ISO has become illegitimate and any vote on it should be placed on hold until all anti-trust litigations are resolved.

In the complaint by ECIS (European Committee for Interoperable Systems), Microsoft is alleged to have illegally refused to disclose interoperability information across a broad range of products, including information related to its Office suite, a number of its server products, and also in relation to the so called .NET Framework. The Commission’s examination will therefore focus on all these areas, including the question whether Microsoft’s new file format Office Open XML, as implemented in Office, is sufficiently interoperable with competitors’ products.”

WTO and ISO and the technical barriers of trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

ISO — together with IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) — has built a strategic partnership with WTO. The political agreements reached within the framework of WTO require underpinning by technical agreements. ISO, IEC and ITU, as the three principal organizations in international standardization, have the complementary scopes, the framework, the expertise and the experience to provide this technical support for the growth of the global market.

THE AGREEMENT ON TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO TRADE (TBT)

The Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) [PDF] — sometimes referred to as the Standards Code — is one of the legal texts of the WTO Agreement which obliges WTO Members to ensure that technical regulations, voluntary standards and conformity assessment procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles
to trade.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT

The TBT Agreement recognizes the important contribution that international standards and conformity assessment systems can make to improving efficiency of production and facilitating international trade. Where international standards exist or their completion is imminent, therefore, the Code of Good Practice says that standardizing bodies should use them, or the relevant parts of them, as a basis for standards they develop.

STANDARDIZING BODIES HAVING ACCEPTED THE WTO TBT CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE

The WTO TBT Standards Code Directory 2007 lists all standardizing bodies that have notified acceptance of the WTO TBT Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards. The Directory, which is published annually, also contains the addresses of these standardizing bodies and information related to the availability of their work programmes.

OFFICE OPEN XML is not interoperatible

JTC 1 has the authority and responsibility to clarify whether interoperability is intended to be facilitated by each JTC 1 standard and ISP, to what or whom the interoperability applies, how conformity is related to the provision of interoperability, and how to verify that interoperability is provided between relevant IT systems.

Conclusion

There is enormous overlapping jurisdiction between national standardization body responsibilities and those of antitrust regulators. There is a pretty fair argument that JTC 1 should put DIS-29500 on ice until the antitrust proceeding is concluded, in order to avoid the possibility of inconsistent decisions. The NBs are actually required by the TBT to consider the potential anticompetitive effects of draft standards. Further, mostly based on the implementable and interoperatible factors of OOXML, it is clearly evident that only one company benefits, Microsoft. No ISO standard should benefit just one company. The JTC 1 has the responsibility to intervene.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. azerthoth said,

    March 29, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Gravatar

    Thank you Roy, a great example of the writing you are capable of. If all your articles were of this quality you would be one of the few who would qualify as a counterweight to the plethora of shills working the other side.

    As for the topic and body, you present a strong case, I wish I knew the people who needed to read this article, I would sit on them until they went through it word for word … twice.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    March 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Gravatar

    I know Roy’s witting is often full of typos, I think this is caused by the huge amount of posts he makes daily, must be hard to write that much in a rush. I sometimes feel like the site needs less posts and more focus, but other times I think it is doing all right, it is probably MS-Novell’s fault for giving it so much material…

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Gravatar

    This has been the same for years. I’d have to compromise breadth if I do more passes through the text before finalising. It’s the message and the ideas the count, not just polish (which I leave for papers and articles).

    By the way, it’s Russell who wrote the text above.

What Else is New


  1. Boycotting Micro Focus International

    Microsoft's "Partner of the Year" is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell's remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)



  2. Vesna Stilin's Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

    Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia



  3. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  4. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  5. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  6. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  7. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  9. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  10. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  11. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  12. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  13. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  15. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  16. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  17. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  18. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  19. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  20. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  22. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  23. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  24. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  25. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  26. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  27. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  28. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  29. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  30. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts