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. In the European Patent Office, One Gets Rewarded for Mentally Torturing ('Interrogating') Staff

    Elodie Bergot and her "Gestapo" have both enjoyed spectacular promotions, broadening the reach of Battistelli's "police state" culture



  2. IP Kat Participates in Deletion of Information About EPO Scandals

    IP Kat has just deleted nearly 40 comments (some of them very detailed); we bring these back to life for the sake of history and preservation



  3. Links 23/10/2017: Wine Staging 2.19, GNOME 3.27.1

    Links for the day



  4. SUEPO Has Just Warned That Patent Quality at the EPO is About to Get Even Worse

    The staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) speaks of increasing "production" pressure, which is certain to result in low-quality European Patents



  5. The EPO No Longer Measures Quality of Patents; Instead It Publishes Fake Statistics

    The decline in patent quality at the EPO is a long-known issue and suppression of information about it merely enabled several more years of questionable patent grants, thereby putting at risk the perceived value of EPO services



  6. Speaking of “Social Democracy” While Suffering Extreme Democratic Deficiency

    The EPO represents an even broader assault on democracy in Europe (implicating ILO, Team UPC, national delegates, and national governments), but Benoît Battistelli is unique in the sense that he's disguising it or lying to himself about it



  7. Management by Intimidation Has Caused Deaths at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An accurate diagnosis of the conditions created at the European Patent Office (EPO) by Benoît Battistelli and his cronies, who have essentially hijacked the Organisation -- not just the Office -- then attacked every 'enemy', either real or perceived



  8. The Difference Between Alain Pompidou and Benoît Battistelli as EPO President

    The different approaches adopted by Pompidou and Battistelli; one pursued amicable mediation and training, whereas the other resorted to vindicative witch-hunts, kangaroo courts, and a culture of terror which resulted in many suicides



  9. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part IV: Links Between CGD (Former Employer of António Campinos) and the INPI

    More information about connections between CGD and the Portuguese Intellectual Property Office (INPI)



  10. Links 21/10/2017: Purism Against ME, Pop!_OS Ready

    Links for the day



  11. US Patents Appeal Board Attacked by the Patent 'Industry', Defended by Federal Courts, and Dodged by Patent Trolls

    PTAB, the branch or the 'court' responsible for eliminating bad patents, is coming under attacks from those who rely on poor patent quality and receives praises from everyone else, as usual



  12. In the United States, the Patent 'Industry' is a Dying Breed and China Adopts This Destructive Force

    The decaying patent microcosm, or the pipeline of low-quality patents and frivolous lawsuits these entail, loses its grip on the US; China, much to the astonishment of people who actually create things, is attempting to attract that ruinous microcosm (which preys on real, producing companies)



  13. Microsoft and Nokia's Patent Trolls by Proxy: First Conversant, Now Provenance Asset Group Holdings LLC

    Microsoft's shell game with patents (passing Android-hostile patents to trolls) carries on and publishers funded by these trolls offer the details, albeit vaguely and with obvious spin



  14. Anonymous Professionals Speak of Benoît Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO, But Why Does the Media Turn a Blind Eye?

    Everyone in the circles of EPO staff and EPO stakeholders knows that dysfunction has become the norm; European media, however, remains suspiciously silent about what otherwise would be a major European scandal (bigger than FIFA or Dieselgate)



  15. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part III: More Details About Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Former Employer of Campinos

    The side of Campinos which he prefers to conceal, or rather his association with a rather notorious Portuguese bank



  16. UPC Looks Like More of a Distant Dream (or Nightmare) as Germany Adds Another Two Months' Delay

    The likelihood that the UPC will be altogether scuttled is growing as delays keep piling up and more complaints are being filed by public interest groups (as opposed to Team UPC, which hoped to shove the UPCA down everyone's throats behind closed doors)



  17. Patent Trolls Roundup: BlackBerry, Dominion Harbor, IPNav, IP Bridge

    A quick review of recent news regarding patent trolls or entities which resemble (and sometimes feed) these



  18. Battistelli's Destruction of the EPO is Bad for Everyone, Even Patent Attorneys

    The collapse of the European patent system, owing primarily to Battistelli's totalitarian style and deemphasis on patent quality, means that "the war is lost," as one professional puts it



  19. Links 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

    Links for the day



  20. Some of the USPTO's Most Ridiculous Patents Are Scrutinised by “Above the Law” While Dennis Crouch Attempts to Tarnish Alice

    Controversies over patent scope and level of novelty required for a patent; as usual, public interest groups try to restrict patent scope, whereas those who make money out of abundance of patents attempt to remove every barrier



  21. Microsoft's Software Patents Aggression in Court (Corel Again)

    Microsoft's tendency to not only abuse the competition but also to destroy it with patent lawsuits as seen in Corel's case



  22. The Spanish Supreme Court Rejects the EPO's “Problem and Solution Approach” While Quality of European Patents Nosedives

    European Patents (EPs) aren't what they used to be and their credibility is being further eroded and even detected as such



  23. Europe is Being Robbed by Team Battistelli and the UPC/PPH Would Make Things Worse

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has put litigation at the forefront, having implicitly decided to no longer bother with proper patent examination and instead issue lots of patents for judges and lawyers to argue about (at great expense to the public)



  24. Team UPC Continues to Promote Illusion of UPC Progress Where There's None

    The core members of Team UPC in the UK spread obvious falsehoods in the media, probably in an effort to attract 'business' (consultation regarding something that does not exist)



  25. António Campinos: A True EPO Reformer or More of the Same?

    More unfortunate reminders that Campinos and Battistelli don't quite diverge on the big issues, they're just more than two decades apart in age (but the same nationality)



  26. Juve Has Confirmed That António Campinos is French

    The relationship between Campinos and Battistelli has a nationality aspect to it, not even taking into account the interpersonal connection which goes a long way back



  27. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

    A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position



  28. SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

    António Campinos, who is Benoît Battistelli's chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month



  29. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  30. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day


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