back to article Official: OOXML approved as international standard

The ISO/IEC confirmed this morning that Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) has been approved as an international standard, leaving the Open Document Format (ODF) lobby raging about alleged voting irregularities. The International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) finally posted a press release today officially confirming what …


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  1. Fox

    I hope they all get cancer

    Anyone know where to sign up for those Virgle one-way tickets? I want to get off this shithole.

    The ISO have put "Subject to there being no formal appeals from ISO/IEC national bodies in the next two months, the International Standard will accordingly proceed to publication." right in the middle of their press release though... an invitation? Perhaps there's still hope for our species.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another April Fools' Day story!

    Oh wait, it's the second of April already.

  3. Kent Rebman

    Right ...

    Right, 3/4s of them change their mind overnight (or, as overnight is measured in such situations)... I smell a rat.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screw 'em

    Why join them if you can beat them?

    March on, I say, and let the market decide over a period of time. More and more people are getting switched on to Open Office, and at the end of the day numbers will decide, not an outfit which is more bent than the Olympic committee.

    OK, it's an uphill struggle, but not skating on ice by any means.

  5. Paul Bristow
    Thumb Down

    A "standard" with only one implementation possible is a waste of space

    Call us back when it's actually possible for a third-party to have an independent implementation.

    Until then, this is just business as usual. New versions of office have yet another file format that is guaranteed to be impossible to import and export. Just calling OOXML a "standard" won't change this.

    Surely one of the national bodies has some integrity left? Or is this just confirmation that standardisation has become like every other walk of business life - hard cash talks - any thought of honorable behaviour (you know - like having a standard that , I don't know, was actually implementable by someone else) can just get stuffed.

  6. lelong

    Bad day for the ISO

    This decision is the end of public confidence in the ISO impartality and honesty, in fact a fateful day for this organization (the fact that Microsoft was an unfair company was already well-known).

  7. Wellard
    Dead Vulture

    April Fool's was YESTERDAY!

    See title.

  8. Stan

    Tom Robertson...'s your appetite? Can't be good, anything you touch with that tongue will turn to dust and acid. As for the ISO, I have some tooling to specify for a milling machine at the mo. I was trying to stick to ISO standards even though they are not the most common, sod that now, they aren't worth shite. Shame MS can't be brought to justice for miss-use of the word 'open' but that would mean 'truth' and 'facts' would have to be judged too.

    Can someone post a clear and simple howto to get the formal complaint procedure rolling without having to leave the keyboard?


  9. chuckufarley Silver badge

    It's broken...

    The 7th seal that is.

    Coat, hat, pub.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Market decisions...

    "...More and more people are getting switched on to Open Office..."

    Frankly, these numbers are utterly insignificant. And it'll take more than a bit of wild accusation-slinging to beat Micro$haft's "marketing and promotion" (aka bribery and corruption) budget in an open market.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zune gets ISO certification

    In a surprise move, ISO certifies the Zune as the world standard MP3 player, shortly after certifying Microsoft Bob, Internet Information Server and Vista.

  12. Dave

    Money can't buy you love....

    But most things have a price

  13. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Down

    widely adopted standard?

    So a standard that has 1 implementation is a "widely adopted standard"? This is a meaning for the phrase "widely adopted" I wasn't aware of.

  14. Stan Pons
    Gates Horns


    SOS - Different Day.

  15. Peter Fox


    Well done to Groklaw for following the details.

  16. chuckufarley Silver badge

    Just to clarify...

    Microsoft win the vote by 2/3rds. See Revelations 13:18.

    Coat, Hat, Home...Before the pub owner knows I'm on his WiFi.

  17. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    How much...

    ...did this cost MS? It just seems strange that so many would suddenly swing in favour when the "standard" still has apparent problems.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Delayed to avoid April Fools?

    People probably would have thought it was the most obvious April Fool they'd come across (even more than the flying penguins!) had they not delayed the release by a day.

  19. Billy Goat Gruff

    It only needs 3 objections

    I don't know the finer details but it seems that if they need 2/3 approval, and they have 24/32 then by removing 3 approvals you get 21/32 - ie less than 2/3.

    Germany and Norway might be 2, and if the irregularities alone don't cast huge doubt on the others like Philippines then it might come down to one other NB to object and the ISO is lost.

    Now, if the BSI would be so kind as to show off how well they operate and have any confidence in their decision to approve, maybe that'll tip the balance.

    It also appears that many votes are void simply because they weren't allowed to vote on MSXML, but only on whether their previous objections had been solved. Thus if the technical committee declared them unsolved or could not verify they were solved (none of them could?), they *should* have kept the previous disapproval. Instead they seem to have had a vote on whether to accept MSXML (with all the irregularities that went with it).

    It does seem as though the ISO cannot accept the 'vote', but whilst they dither they are likely to spend an awful lot of time defending a process they know has gone horribly wrong.

    (I know people refer to it as OOXML but really it's time to clarify this - its MSXML and cannot be anything else).

  20. Tony W

    Standards and business as usual

    Where have you been? The reason for standards is to enable big business to stifle competition.

    If the standards organisations get the wrong answer and don't favour big business, big business simply ignores them and uses their market clout to force their own systems.

    Stop whining, that's the way it is and will be.

  21. Steph
    Thumb Down

    Phantom implementation counts as 'widely accepted'?

    Except even Microsoft isn't implementing OOXML as defined in the ISO submission... so I'm at a loss; who's got that 1 implementation?

  22. Toby
    Gates Horns

    what a load of cobblers


    current office 2007 users are also gonna be up shit creak or made pay out for "upgrades" as the OOXML standard submitted is supposedly just a tad different from what is currently implemented in Off07.

    I conccur, ISO no longer worth a shite

  23. Daniel Wilkie


    Open Office can import and export Office 2007 docs, that was the whole reason I even tried the thing in the first place...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    ISO - The farce is strong in you!

    Stitch up complete then....

    You expected anything else? I will continue installing Open Office on friends machines and save them a fortune on billys bloatware, any company that sends me stuff in "unreadable" format clearly doesnt want my business.

    This is beyond farce - and the ISO mark is severley devalued and tarnished by this.

  25. chas ponsford

    ISO Standards

    This is from the ISO standards pages on Standards Provide to everyone:

    ISO standards provide technological, economic and societal benefits.

    For businesses, the widespread adoption of International Standards means that suppliers can develop and offer products and services meeting specifications that have wide international acceptance in their sectors. Therefore, businesses using International Standards can compete on many more markets around the world.

    For innovators of new technologies, International Standards on aspects like terminology, compatibility and safety speed up the dissemination of innovations and their development into manufacturable and marketable products.

    For customers, the worldwide compatibility of technology which is achieved when products and services are based on International Standards gives them a broad choice of offers. They also benefit from the effects of competition among suppliers.

    For trade officials, International Standards create "a level playing field" for all competitors on those markets. The existence of divergent national or regional standards can create technical barriers to trade. International Standards are the technical means by which political trade agreements can be put into practice.

    For developing countries, International Standards that represent an international consensus on the state of the art are an important source of technological know-how. By defining the characteristics that products and services will be expected to meet on export markets, International Standards give developing countries a basis for making the right decisions when investing their scarce resources and thus avoid squandering them.

    I do not see how MS OOXML works in any of these statements

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    standards of standardisation are dropping

    BSI are no longer recognised as a standards organisation in my view and I no longer recognise ISO as an intenational standard format.

    Now one standard is clearly tainted none can be trusted, good work MS & BSI, hope your pay off was worth it and i hope that the lifetime free copies of windows cause you endless virus and security problems.

  27. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    Re: Wwidely adopted standard?

    Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW.

  28. Sceptical Bastard

    The lessons of history

    Quote (from lelong, above): "... the end of public confidence in the ISO impartality and honesty."

    Eh? *What* public confidence? The ISO may be many things but 'impartial' and 'honest' are not among them. It is a bloated, patriarchal, self-interested cartel run by patronising bureaucrats with a 'we know best' attitude who are in the pocket of big business.

    ISO was the body, remember, that tried to sink TCP/IP in favour of it's own cumbersome inter-networking system, the OSI Reference Model.

    The OSI system was designed by committee and as a result instead of a racehorse they'd come up with a mishapen camel. TCP/IP, on the other hand, had been developed by inspired and talented individuals and was lean and mean.

    Most significantly, TCP/IP was up and running on real networks and was being tweaked and refined all the time. ISO's system was just a collection of abstractions, never tried in the real world.

    Despite initial kowtowing to the ISO by business, many arms of the US government, and most European governments, TCP/IP eventually won the day.

    It won partly because it was evangelised by the fathers of today's internet (most notably by Vint Cerf); partly because the UNIX community adopted it and it was built into early Sun machines; partly because it was the de facto standard in academic and research institutions; but mostly because it was far better than anything the ISO could come up with.

    Which brings us round to today....

  29. Daniel Rendall

    So where were the objections?

    To quote from Alex Brown's blog:

    "Recently my standards colleague Inigo Surguy wrote a blog entry advising readers how to submit comments on the DIS. Guess how many good technical comments we received. I'll give you a clue: it was a good round number. In fact, guess how many truly meaningful technical objections were emailed to BSI over the whole course of the project. I can remember two. By contrast of course, there were a gabillion emails which were either form letters of MS origin, or copy-and-paste jobs from"

    I would have assumed, given the huge rumpus these proceedings have generated, that the BSI would have been inundated with solid technical reasons why OOXML shouldn't become a standard. Evidently this didn't happen - I can only conclude that most of the anti-OOXML zealots are all mouth and no trousers.

    Which is a shame, since as a die-hard Linux / OpenOffice user I'd have liked to have seen MS beaten on this one.

  30. Aidan Thornton
    Gates Horns

    Not even one implementation

    There are currently exactly zero implementations of this standard - Office doesn't comply with the modified parts, and I think Microsoft have publicly stated that it never will.

  31. Kevin Bailey

    At least this is confirmation that we need to mistrust Microsoft

    At least this is confirmation that we need to mistrust Microsoft.

    When they start talking about interoperability remember this shameful ISO shambles, remember their continuing backing of SCO and lets be clear about the following point.

    Microsoft are a monoploy out of control which is prepared to break all kinds of laws and rules to force people to use their poor quality products.

    They do not believe in competition as a force for good. The fact that a so-called democracy called the United States is prepared to allow a company to act in this way brings shame on that country as well.

  32. Matt Bradley
    Gates Horns

    Look at this another way

    If Microsoft change their implementation of OOXML in MSWord, they'll no longer be allowed to call it OOXML. says:

    "36 countries and standardization organizations appended comprehensive technical comments to their votes in the final round, and Microsoft will have to take them into account. The vendor will be forced to thoroughly revamp its current Office standard storage format for the upcoming initial implementation of the "new" OOXML."

    Once MS has complied with the implementation changes, we'll have something that everybody can work with. Now all we need is an OOXML implementation for OpenOffice, and this will STRENGTHEN's position in the market.

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Oli Stockman
    Paris Hilton

    And the Paris Hilton angle....

    Is Paris Hilton the only person Microsoft is yet to corrupt?


  35. paulc

    level playing field???

    If you put this 6000 page monstrosity out on the playing field, you'd have a distinct depression... this thing is so huge, it can warp space and time around it... witness so many people coming out in favour of a standard that not even Microsoft can implement themselves as it has so may completely contradictory sections...

  36. Adam Trickett

    It's a pointless sham

    There are no implementations of the standard available, even MS's Office07 isn't compliant. The standard is flawed and in places opaque so it's impossible to fully implement by anyone other than MS.

    Now we have:

    * one office standard with several independent implementations.

    * one standard that is incompatible with the first and has no independent implementations

    * One non-standard de facto standard...

    Bill Gates must be really please with him self now, he has managed to buy some of the worlds richest and poorest nations all in one go!

  37. Anonymous Coward

    MS broke standards

    What a sad day for interoperability. I'll be writing to my MP, MEP, and to the EC. I suggest you all do likewise.

    The fact that many (11 by my count) national bodies changed their votes from Approve to Disaprove or Abstain afaik has never been seen before. Changing from Approve to Disaprove is almost unheard of.


    I have been following this closely, and I had never heard of Inigo before Alex mentioned him on his blog. If that was common, itsn't not surprising most missed it.


    "Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW."

    Apple: No they don't. Google: How hard is it to search a XML document? I wouldn't call that support. Google's public statements have explicitly slated OOXML.

  38. Bill Smith



  39. OSBob
    Gates Horns

    Re: WWwidely adopted standard

    "Apple fully supports OOXML. Google search also support OOXML BTW."

    Apple currently has very limited support, you'd hardly call it a full implementation. Unless you are talking about "we're behind you" support. Which if you were would be irrelevant to discussion on whether it is a "widely adopted standard" as mentioned in your title.

    Google search has limited indexing and rendering support, just as it does for the old office file formats, which has about as much relevance to the discussion as the flying spagetti monster. Google hate OOXML, and have rightfully pointed out that as a standard it is (to use the technical term) bollocks.

    Not sure why we're adding extra W's to our post titles, but I didn't want to break the widely adopted standard. Even if it's completely unnecessary, probably a mistake and only previously adopted by one person.

  40. Daniel Winstone
    IT Angle

    For the non-technical

    aka - those who come here to read the BOFH stories.

    What does a Standard require to become standard? Although reading the story and the comments, I'm not sure the ISO actually knows any more.

    Wouldn't it be more fun if formats and Standards, were made to battle it out like the Betamax vs VHS and more recently the Blu-ray vs HD DVD (won surprisingly it seems by Blu-ray, I have a suspicion that the developers and makers were only interested in charging far far more for the hardware and then software than they would have got for the DVD equivalent).

    So the crux of this message is. What is a standard. Could anyone create a standard no matter how theoretical, and erm, does copyright/licensing laws still apply to a file format that obtains the ISO "Standard" mark?

    The icon, because now I truly know how little I know about software and hardware. Occasionally I value my ignorance, but on this matter I believe answers will help a great deal.

  41. Tom

    The question is...

    What is the going price of an ISO standard approval, and are you better off buying a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS OOXML - The best standard money can buy....

    Is there anything else really to add?

  43. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    RE: So where were the objections?

    >>> To quote from Alex Brown's blog:

    "Recently my standards colleague Inigo Surguy wrote a blog entry advising readers how to submit comments on the DIS. Guess how many good technical comments we received. I'll give you a clue: it was a good round number. In fact, guess how many truly meaningful technical objections were emailed to BSI over the whole course of the project. I can remember two. By contrast of course, there were a gabillion emails which were either form letters of MS origin, or copy-and-paste jobs from"

    >>> I would have assumed, given the huge rumpus these proceedings have generated, that the BSI would have been inundated with solid technical reasons why OOXML shouldn't become a standard. Evidently this didn't happen - I can only conclude that most of the anti-OOXML zealots are all mouth and no trousers.

    Well I did email my objections, but guess what, you can expect most of the objections to look similar when they are objecting to the same points ! So I can only conclude from the comments quoted that anything objecting to one of these common dung-piles must be "... copy-and-paste jobs from".

    So THAT's how the situation turned around ! Label all objections as meaningless copy-n-paste jobs and dismiss them, about the only plausible alternative explanation for the BSI changing tack so unexpectedly (the primary explanation being that they were bought).

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Why did they vote for it?

    Krusty: Lets just say it moved me. To a bigger house! Oh crap, I said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud.

  45. David Haworth

    @AC and others, re "April Fool"

    It *is* an April Fool story - and ISO are the fools.

  46. thomanski
    Gates Horns

    @Aidan Thornton

    > There are currently exactly zero implementations of this standard

    There are hundreds of thousands of compliant consumers already and it's easy to implement a compliant producer. The Unix cp/DOS copy programs are actually both. Why?

    If I may quote Rob Weir (

    "... in plain English, in order to be able to claim conformance with OOXML, an application must not crash when presented with a valid OOXML document, or must be [cap]able of producing at least a single valid OOXML document. This is not exactly a high threshold."

    This might well mean that Microsoft can already claim OOXML conformance for Office 2007 and so could probably others for their products. In practice most people will be using MS-Office to generate their OOXML-"compliant" documents and will expect competing software to read and write these.

    In how far correctly interpreting/generating Office 2007 documents then has anything to do with the otherwise *optional* features described on a further 6000 pages of the OOXML standard is anyone's guess.

    Cunning, no?

  47. Risky
    Gates Halo

    leavign aside the age of aquarious

    that is supposed to be happing with everyone gamboling about on openoffice/ubuntu etc, in the real world we need a file format for use with the suite they use and that is still Microsoft office.

    The is about zero chance of the sort of large instutions I've worked for moving off excel for many years so I'm pretty unconcerned by the whole fuss here.

  48. iZmOliGy

    If it doesn't implement the standard, gov can't use M$ Office anyway ?

    If, as I am constantly seeing, OOXML isn't currently implemented by anybody and is also unimplementable, then M$ office still isn't in the running for Gov procurement because it still doesn't use the OOXML standard.

    The only true working standard then, is still ODF. If govs mandate standards document file types only and do purchace M$ Office, they are breaking their own rules and can be pushed to move to software that uses a real implemented standard.

    I would still like to see somebody put in an objection to ISO in the next month or two as stopping this in the first place will be better than having to attempt damage limitation later.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only problem i can see is...

    the fact that things like the .docx (OOXML based) file format contains a .bin file and as at this moment the network I work on will not allow these files to be emailed around. Great standard!!!

    Still lost as to why we need two standards...

  50. yeah, right.

    Congratulations ISO

    You have successfully trashed a reputation it has taken you decades to build. You have let yourself get gamed, bought out, and scammed by a company that has no intention of actually USING the supposed "standard" they just had your organization approve.

    I'm actually saddened at the loss. I used to believe in ISO. Now, I see it's nothing more than yet another incompetent organization that is unwilling to enforce its own rules when faced with controversy.

    R.I.P. International Standards Organization.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Can't help but wonder

    If it had gone the other way but with the same allegations of voting irregularity, would all the ODF voices be shouting just as loud calling for justice?

    Didn't think so. Stop your whining.

    MS are not the 'evil' corporation everyone makes them out to be. You want a truly 'evil' corporation, have a good long look at the way Apple does business and screws their customers over. Look with a truly objective eye and you will see they are far far worse than MS.

  52. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Who cares?

    If ISO made Nitrogen the new gas for respiration because it was more abundant in the atmosphere, would the world stop breathing?

    Open Office will continue to support their own formats, and those of competing products, so it's win-win for the enlightened.

    These organisations only have a say because we listen to them. Ignore the ignorant and they cease to matter.

  53. CodeGibbon

    @Risky.... what MS should have done...

    "in the real world we need a file format for use with the suite they use and that is still Microsoft office."

    Well... the answer is fairly obvious. Given the length of time that ODF has been an ISO approved standard (over a year), MS should have been providing interoperability by implementing the ODF standard within their own apps....job done, MS Office would, by now, be compliant with a standard... everybody's happy :)

    How it could ever be easier/cheaper for MS to introduce a new standard to which they themselves are not compliant, rather than obiding to one which already exists....baffles me.

  54. Pierre
    Gates Horns

    Can't help but wonder

    @ the few MS fanbois: As MS doesn't implement "their" standard actually, and are not willing to even try, we can assume that it's only some form of marketting-related show-off. To impress govs and large corps, maybe. Could this be related to the fact that more and more govs and governemental agencies are moving towards OOo (or similar)?. Is that fear that I smell???

  55. Thorne Kontos
    Gates Horns

    The eternal struggle against inferior products.

    I once worked for a company that had two companies compete to

    build a multichip module. IBM vs AT&T... IBM's success rate was

    99% plus. AT&T's success rate was <1%. We obviously went with

    IBM. (AT&T then spun off this particular division and called it Lucent).

    So for the better part of my adult life, I have tried to avoid anything

    AT&T. And yet like a hideous hydra, it keeps coming back to haunt

    me. I chose a cell phone company. AT&T buys them out. I chose a

    phone company...AT&T strikes again.

    The same goes for Microsoft. No matter how far or how fast I try to

    run from anything Microsoft, it too keeps rearing it's ugly head(s).

    I'll continue to use OpenOffice, and in the future, they'll end up

    being the ones to ensure "OOXML" documents can be read using their


    Let me just make one last observation here:

    With the recent bailout of Bear-Stearns, companies like AT&T and

    Microsoft will linger on long after their corpses have been picked

    clean by their competitors as long as governments continue to

    support and subsidize them.

  56. Solomon Grundy

    @ Ash

    Yes, the 10% of the world that uses anything other than MS Office can continue to use whatever they want, and continue to be left further and further behind everyday. The other 90% of the world is more than happy to accept the new standard, note if you will, the overwhelming win for MS was by vote - The majority wanted OOXML, and they got it.

  57. Don Mitchell

    Monkey Pile

    Keep in mind, Open Office and the ODF standard are both derived by inspection and reverse engineering of Microsoft Office and its formats, not from years of research and development and user studies, which is what Microsoft did.

    As usual, the commentary on this news is just a hate-fest by people who wish Microsoft would go away. Preventing them from doing business is not about freedom and openness, it's about zealotry and intolerance.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    @Ash Re: Who cares

    "If ISO made Nitrogen the new gas for respiration because it was more abundant in the atmosphere, would the world stop breathing?"

    No but you might one day find yourself in an aeroplane at 50,000 ft with only nitrogen to breathe.

  59. Paul

    @ Grundy and AC

    "The majority wanted OOXML, and they got it."

    I think Norway would beg to differ. That country's standards body evidently wants to redefine "majority". I'm sure ISO conducted a thorough investigation into irregularities there in the whole one day they delayed by.

    The truth is, *Microsoft* alone wanted OOXML, but in the finest traditions of "democracy" they managed to bribe/badger/threaten/discredit/whatever enough standards bodies to make it happen.

    "MS are not the 'evil' corporation everyone makes them out to be."

    You must have rather low moral standards then, or just no clue about the history of this industry and of the company you try to defend.

    Microsoft's history, right up to the present, is littered with examples of them being generally nasty, uncooperative, untrustworthy and bullying. They've consistently acted as though they're above the law, repeatedly acted to lock PC OEMs in to their product only, and engaged in smear campaigns and API breakage to make their competitors look bad.

    Hardly uncommon behavior by large corporations, I'll admit, but Microsoft have been more blatant than most, especially back when the EU weren't on their case, and they're certainly no fucking angels by any measure.

  60. Blue Pumpkin

    Conformance suite

    Any decent standard also requires a conformance suite, against which products claiming to be compliant need to be run - and pass.

    Hopefully the conformance suite actually tests something that is useful and might possibly correspond to what users want to do ... but then again ...

    Where's the icon for wishful thinking and smoking stuff ??

  61. LaeMi Qian

    I prefer...

    I prefer hand marking-up HTML in a text editor anyway - bold italic and occasionally bullet lists is all I ever use anyway :-D. Now I have finished all the job application cruft I will be uninstalling all my office apps. I hate working to paper, and HTML is better for working to screen. Never had a portability issue!

  62. Jeff Davies

    Ash, it's 20%

    OpenOffice has 100 million users out of world market of 500 million for office suites. MS Office 2007 is also about 100 million users.

    The rest mostly use old MSOffice versions.

    MS Office 2007 cannot use ISO-OOXML it's different to DOCX. And both are different from ECMA-OOXML.

    So currently ODF has 20% of the world market and OOXML has 0%.

    Sure this will probably change in change, but that's the *current* situation.

  63. michael
    Gates Horns

    finally - get in!

    all your standards are belong to us

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    'You must have rather low moral standards then, or just no clue about the history of this industry and of the company you try to defend.'

    No, I have very high moral standards and I stand by what I said. You fail to correct me about Apple being worse.

    As for evil, tell me -

    Have MS paid government officials massive backhanders in corrupt countries for the rights to strip the land, poison the environment, kill the local population and makes millions from it like for example - Chevron?

    Made billions from driving people into debt by using our money that is in the banks, giving them loans and mortgages that they cannot afford to repay causing the banks massive losses that governments have had to step in and bail out using our money yet again to try and minimise the damage and reduce the impact of a global recession like for example - All the hedge fund managers?

    How about making record profits and then cutting back on loyal hardworking staff in order to offshore those jobs in the name of cost savings like Barclays or Shell?

    How about depriving local people of fresh water by privatising it like or torturing employees who want to join a union like Coca-Cola did in India and Columbia?

    How about having a 40% child labour work force like Nestle in the Ivory Coast?

    Wal-Mart - don't really need to say anymore on that one do I?

    Given the above examples can you really consider MS to be 'evil'. they are far from the worst corporation in the world, they don't even make it into the top 50 yet they can stir up such an irrational anti-MS feeling. Granted they can and do use underhand tactics sometimes, but I ask you to name a single large corporation that does not do exactly the same things to stay ahead of the competition. If you don't like the products, don't buy them. It's easy. If you are taking the 'I can't buy X machine without Windows' road - you can. You just ask for the cost of the license refunded. If they refuse to do it (which is illegal) buy a competitors product of the same spec. By the same logic, what if I really like the spec and design of an iMac but don't want the bundled OS, can I get that the price of OSX refunded - not a chance.

  65. Wayland Sothcott

    The way forward

    OK so do we all support OOXML and support Open Source versions of drivers?

    If it's based on XML then it could probably incorporate ODF.

    It ought to be possible to take the initiative and write add on open source drivers for MS Office all versions especialy 2003 which is a good MS Office version.

    With any luck people will love the super Open Source version of OOXML and MS will switch to using that. Also us as techies can help our customers chose the most apropriate file formats. When we set up MS Office we can set DOC format as default, or install ODF drivers or Open Office.

    My smaller customers always ask how they get MS Office on their new computer. I always suggest Open Office. I usually make their donation for them out of my fee. For some customers MS Office is their best option because of MS Access or because of their business environment. I only know one person who likes MS Office 2007 but then he likes anything Microsoft do.

    I don't think OOXML is going to be a good idea unless it has a 2nd source in the Open Source world.

  66. Fox

    @Don Mitchell RE:Monkey Pile

    "Keep in mind, Open Office and the ODF standard are both derived by inspection and reverse engineering of Microsoft Office and its formats, not from years of research and development and user studies, which is what Microsoft did."

    What planet are you from? You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Perhaps you have confused ODF and DOC?

    ODF: Open and transparent data format & specification which was indeed painstakingly developed through much r&d by the ODF Alliance - a consortium of thirty-odd separate IT companies. You may even have heard of some of them on your planet... IBM, Novell, Sun, etc. ODF is well documented and free to use - by *anyone*.

    DOC: Willfully opaque binary blob contrived by Micro$haft specifically to be difficult to inter-operate with. This *was* successfully reverse engineered, after "years of painstaking r&d" by a German company called Star Division. It was this breakthrough in 1999 which has enabled third parties like OOo, Google etc to achieve their "compatibility" with the .doc format - in spite of Micro$haft. Open Office's ability to read .doc files is *NOT* ODF!

    There you go - simple really. I hope you understand now Don. I hope too that you understand that public communications have come a long way since the days of DR DOS - your v5 FUD module has been rendered obsolete. Please report to Micro$haft for an upgrade.

    FUD rating: 1/10

    Go Norway! Give 'em hell.

  67. mh.


    What is this standard actually for? The Office .doc and .xls formats are pretty much a de facto standard anyway and MS has published their specifications (currently at Realistically this means people can go for the "official" OOXML format (which involves buying and installing new software) or stick with the existing binary format files which are supported by pretty much every word processor or spreadsheet written in the last 10 years. Just because something's an ISO standard doesn't necessarily mean people will use it. The .gb top level domain was based on one but no one bothered to use it (apart from the Defence Research Agency) and it has now fallen out of use.

  68. joe
    Paris Hilton

    who's left?

    I guess after M$ is done they can focus corrupting the IEEE. Look for 79 and 286 volts coming to a country near you. Say what weight of oil are you using in you car? Well i'm using SAE 27, and you? I run 3 in the winter, thanks for asking.

    I here the UPU has moved the world hub to Redmond and given it the international postal code of 666. I wonder why no one would protest the latter. ;-)

    I was going to use my rapier wit to come up with something for IETF and W3C but i think they now play nice with them and use anal lube when ever they want something (You know all that openness and "Lets Get along" crap M$ has been trying lately instead of "Kill the Commieware"). I bet you they still ware shirts like this around the campus but she looks way better in it than Ballmer

    The EU was the last western M$ frontline, sadly that battle line as fallen. We have one battle front left, China.

    Sad day in the world of standards, sad day indeed.

    I choose Paris because she knows more about being open..

  69. Mark Rendle
    Gates Halo

    Good grief

    To listen to you ODF zealots whining, you'd swear your precious (and lightweight) format wasn't tightly controlled by $un Micro$y$tem$.

    Wow, look, FOUR dollar signs! Must be a much worse company!

  70. Michael Nielsen

    What is this standard actually for?

    Quite simple, (NB these views are entirely my own, based on Microsoft's history, and what I have read in the media).

    A lot of governments (or parts there of) being tired of vendor lockin (and the accompanying bill), or feeling the push to standardise, have decreed that only open standards are to be used in the public sector.

    Microsoft .doc and .docx were not at the time at open standards (though I really doubt they are now, even though docx are ISO approved), and therefore a huge push existed for ousting Microsoft from the public sectors - possibly one of their largest market segment. If they loose the public sector, the education sector would follow, removing the Indoctrination of the young into believe that Word is the Only office application, and windows the only operating system, that can do what they need - which could lead to the end of their reign as dominant office application platform, and perhaps threatening their desktop monopoly.

    Thus to twart the effort to move public sectors from paying billions to Microsoft in license fees, to using the free Open Office application (or open source in general), Microsoft needed to get a file format approved as an open standard, or they would need to directly support a competitor format - ODF..

    (Incidentally I have yet to find a single task that Microsoft word can do, which open office cannot, I have however found few that open office can, which MS word could not).

    However, supporting the competitor format would directly ease the change over from Microsoft office to Open Office, thus removing a lot of lockin barriers which currently are in place to prevent such a change over, it would therefore be unwise for Microsoft to directly support this format.

    Introducing their whale of a standard, which is so complex, and huge that it is unlikely that it will ever be fully implemented in competing products (last revision is reported to be more than 9000 pages). This means it is not likely anyone will be 100% compliant to the standard, where after Microsoft would not need to comply fully to the standard either, and therefore they can warp the standard sufficiently, preventing competitors from being 100% compatible with Microsoft Word, where Microsoft then can claim that the competitors are not standards compliant, because they have not understood the standard correctly - then arguing for open standards, or open source suddenly becomes more difficult because MS owns the standard, which is defined to be open due to the ISO stamp.

    So the whole process makes perfect sense from the point of view of maintaining their market dominance and their monopoly with in word processing (though, the correct term is ogliopol, which I don't know how to spell).

    Similar things have been done with kerberos which is used in some microsoft applications, they claimed that they're using a standard, however it became a standard + some proprietory additions, which made it incompatible with all other implementations, likewise with the web standards and so forth, so why should I believe that they would follow their own official standard, without certain modifications to maintain a lock in (or rather lock out of competitors) - their history is against them.

  71. John Doe

    SCOOP : Microsoft can not confirm that MS Office 2007 is ISO OOXML compliant...

    Jasper H. Bojesen can not confirm that MS Office 2007 is compliant with the new OOXML ISO standard, which of course is obvious: the standard has been changed by ECMA to comply with comments to the first draft. Jasper has ignored that fact in his answer to the readers of Computerworld Danmark.

    Jasper couldn't tell when MS Office will be ISO OOXML compliant.

  72. Adam Foxton
    Gates Horns

    OOXML and Outlook

    Last time I had a word 2007 document emailed to me (at work)- from someone else running Outlook to myself running Outlook- it failed to work. It ended up saving off as a zip file or something.

    And Word 2007 isn't compatible with the "standard" either.

    How can the ISO possibly ratify a standard presented by a developer who's incapable of making their own software compatible with it?!

  73. Anonymous Coward

    "moral standards"

    AC, you amuse me greatly by finding the only way you can defend Microsoft is to compare it (in a highly selective manner) with Apple! Talk about building a straw man...!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am from Norway

    and when I read the comments from the Microsoft haters, it is evident that they did not bother to check what the process was supposed to be. So have a bad day telling the world how Norway redefines majority etc. You have no clue what you are talking about.

    Microsoft haters will continue to be unheard as long as they fail to comprehend that they need professionalism to "win". Wining is something else altogether.

  75. Anonymous Coward


    @ Norwegian AC: you mean you need money to win?

    @MS haters, come on, they are not that bad, full of crap, but not that bad.

    @MS Sorry, me not getting your point! Yes, there is always worse ... but that doen't make anything that is bad good ...

    @Apple lovers, LOL

    @Apple h8ers, rofl

    @Linux lovers/haters ... I won't even start, got stomach cramps ....

    @Solaris fanboy, wow, I am not alone! ;-)

    "You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No-one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically devoted to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, its always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt"

    Robert M Pirsig

    Coat, please

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE "moral standards"

    AC, you amuse me greatly by finding the only way you can defend Microsoft is to compare it (in a highly selective manner) with Apple! Talk about building a straw man.

    So you completely missed the bit about chevron, nestle, coca-cola etc. The point I was trying to make is the amount of hate MS can generate despite actually being one of the less 'evil' corporations of the world. Where is the outrage when you fill up with petrol? Buy a chocolate bar? Buy a fizzy drink? You don't even think about it because those companies manage to keep their sordid behaviour out of the mainstream media. Compared to those kind of companies, MS are mister goody two shoes.

    As for Apple when they do EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS as MS, the cultist fanboys all jump up to say why this is fine and it is for our own good as the lord god jobs knows what he is doing.

    Besides, this comments section is not big enough for my '15 reasons why Apple are worse than MS'

    One example - Apple actively support companies in China manufacturing their products whose workers have a 120 hour week, pay them $30 for it and making them use toxic materials without adequate safety precautions Their excuse? Same as a lot of other big companies - We comply with local labour laws. They even went to the trouble of announcing a big inspection of a single Foxconn facility, making sure all the people involved knew it was coming and give them ample time to prepare for it. Of course when the Apple 'investigators' turn up, everything is lovely and all the employees declare how happy they are to be working for the company and all the great benefits they get. Don't forget what kind of country China is - should the workers have said any different the very least they could expect would be to lose their job, and that would be if they were lucky. Completly different than when the independent inspectors turned up unannounced. How about setting an example as an American company and telling those manufacturers that they won't get the business from them unless they improve workers pay and condiditions? Not just Apple, Dell, IBM etc are guilty of exactly the same thing. They all profit from peoples misery - not something that MS can be directly accused of. (please don't come up with lame things like - they profit from mine because I have to use their products. Just because you don't like it does not put you in the same category as the poorest workers in the world)

    I boycott as many morally corrupt products as possible, unfortunately I can't do it 100% as so many products come from places like that now.

  77. Mark

    Re: RE "moral standards"

    I don't have to drive to work. I have to interoperate with Word documents because that's what the managers and their secretaries use.

    I don't have to buy Nestle coffee. I can drink Dougie Egberts.

    Coca cola aren't trying to buy laws that make you a priori a criminal without proving your innocence (and when they fuck up, that doesn't mean it isn't my fault, it just means I still have no rights but at least I'm not going to jail for it).

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'I have to interoperate with Word documents because that's what the managers and their secretaries use'

    Aww poor you. Completely on the same level of having to work stupid amounts of hours for little pay and live in shitty conditions or having your water and farmland poisoned so people can have fizzy drinks isn't it.

    And no, you can't get away from the fact that you help contribute to it. I make a concious decision and still can't avoid it. I really doubt that when you bought your last bottle of coke you gave a thought to the thousands of Indian villagers who are now dying of thirst and malnutrition just so you can have a bottle of fizzy crap.

    That computer you work on - a lot of it is made from oil, components made by machinery using oil and practically slave labour and unless it's a custom build, put together by the same. How about your clothes - came from a well paid farmer and then made by well paid workers were they? What about your car? TV? your bike(seeing as your boycotting oil)? What about those antibiotics that made you better the last time you were ill but are refused to poorer countries as they can't afford them because the pharmacutical company own the patent and set the price? Do you know how many large companies own products you would never associate with the parent company (Mars corporation=pedigree foods, maker of dog food). Did you now Nestle own 50% of Garnier and L'oreal who in turn own lots of other brands you will have used.

    So STFU, it's a document format - not a matter of life and death and as of yet no evidence has been presented showing any wrong doing. It's all the usual rumours that circulate whenever MS do something. Either use it or don't, choice is yours but you DO have a choice unlike the people helping to make the products you use everyday. And last I checked, open office reads .doc, as does abiword, as does ajaxwrite and a whole load of others so you never need to dirty yourself with MS office unless you want to.

    As for 'Coca cola aren't trying to buy laws that make you a priori(sic) a criminal without proving your innocence'

    You have no idea just how many laws are sneaked through in many countries on the whims of big business and all of them are designed to be better for the business, not for you.

    Stop trying to take the high moral ground when you have none you shit.

  79. Anonymous Coward

    Can't help but wonder .... what exactly you're full of?

    <If it had gone the other way but with the same allegations of voting irregularity, would all the ODF voices be shouting just as loud calling for justice?

    Didn't think so. Stop your whining.>

    That's the most pathetic excuse I've ever heard.

    "Hey, in this imaginary situation which never actually happened except inside my own head, you guys did something bad, therefore you are bad people and your complaints have no worth."

    Well, in the imaginary situation which /I/ just invented inside /my/ own head, you are a terrorist, murderer, bed-wetter, pope-molester, cattle-rustler and ALSO you gave Adolf Hitler all his best ideas AND you wear really horrible lycra tracksuits, so by that ground, /you/ should stop /your/ whining.

    Sheesh, I can just see you trying to use that excuse in court:

    <Judge: AC, you are accused of stealing/speeding/whatever... how do you plead?

    AC: Well, since I can imagine a world in which someone else did it and I didn't, I reckon you should just stop whining and let me go.

    Judge: Yes, but here in this court we only try real people for real things they really did in the real world, and that's you. Guards, take him down.>

    WAIT!!! Hang on a minute, I was wrong. That's NOT the most pathetic excuse I ever heard ....

    <MS are not the 'evil' corporation everyone makes them out to be. You want a truly 'evil' corporation, have a good long look at the way Apple does business and screws their customers over. Look with a truly objective eye and you will see they are far far worse than MS.>

    ... THIS is. "MS can't be evil because Apple is"? Are you under the impression that it is only possible for one corporation in the entire world to do bad things? Only one ever, or only one at a time? Do they have a baton that they pass round so they know whose turn it is today? Or is it just a red herring, a meaningless non-sequitur? Yes! It is!

    If you want to /argue/, you need to be able to /think/ first. Stringing together words into meaningless nonsense doesn't count.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE Can't help but wonder .... what exactly you're full of?

    "Hey, in this imaginary situation which never actually happened except inside my own head, you guys did something bad, therefore you are bad people and your complaints have no worth."

    And that's your argument is it? And you have the cheek to criticise my arguing skills?

    That whole statement basically sums up what I said. As of yet, there is NO EVIDENCE - none whatsoever that MS have paid anyone to change their vote. All there is are rumours which don't seem to have any official starting point just lots and lots of voices drifting around the internet saying 'It's MS so they must have paid them'

    It will never occur to these people that maybe, just maybe that because MS made the changes that they were asked to make, it satisfied the various committees enough to vote for it. The reason it won't occur to them - an irrational all consuming hatred for anything MS do. And that hatred is irrational. As I gave enough examples of, and there are countless more there are many corporations guilty of far far worse than MS and for who hatred would be a good reaction yet nobody is shouting about them, telling them to change their ways, trying as much as possible to avoid their products. Why? Because their products contribute to making our lives a little easier, more comfortable etc. Doesn't matter that that comfort comes from destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of people we have never met. So no, I am not under the 'impression that it is only possible for one corporation in the entire world to do bad things', merely pointing out that MS are not entirely deserving of the amount of hateful rants they are currently receiving. Throwing money at people to get want you want is a long way away from being the worst thing that corporations do, yet MS are currently being made out to be the earthly incarnation of satan himself.

    And the choice of Apple, easy enough. Same industry, yet at the minute Apple seem to be the industry darlings who can do no wrong, but it is currently fashionable to be a MS hater and berate them for anything, even if there is no evidence or, god forbid, they do something right like delaying the Vista service pack when issues were reported with it.

    So right back at you

    If you want to /argue/, you need to be able to /think/ first. It helps if you read /everything/ and put it in its correct context.

  81. Stan


    The point that MS may have made all the changes to the spec required by the ISO one I have been wondering myself, it doesn't seem to be getting much attention. However, the plain, simple fact still stands that MS has used brute force to push through a 'standard' that is, at best, confusing and very difficult to implement, that is only of any interst to MS and that MS themselves don't even use. This 'standard' will become one of the major necessities of future office applications due to office 2007 even though that app doesn't comply to the 'standard', no apps do because it's damn near impossible to implement. In short OOXML is going to be a pain in the ass for developers for a long time to come because MS want to keep up their long standing tradition of fsck'ed up 'standards'.

    As for evil companies, MS has done far more damage to computing than any other company. If Apple where the ones who got the ball in the 80's they could well have done just as much damage, I doubt it because they do seem to take an interest in genuine innovation, but they didn't. As to coke, mars etc. your points are valid but where is the IT angle? Hate to say that, the environment and the rights of man are far more important than pushing bytes full of bits around (sorry to the geeks, but its true) but this is a Paris Hilt... technical journal centered on the IT industry. If you want to spend a day pouring bright green paint on 4x4's in the city then I'll try and join you but in here the byte rules.


  82. Anonymous Coward

    Quit whining you fREeTARDS

    Microsoft probably made a substantial investment into turning the vote around and buying the support of the independent analysts etc, they deserve to be rewarded for their effort. You're FREETARD commies are just jealous.

  83. Stuart Van Onselen


    I am confused. Who exactly is it that represents countries at the ISO?

    It's obviously NOT the national standards bodies (NSBs), because the Norwegian NSB voted *against* OOOXML, yet Norway's vote at ISO was *for* OOOOXML.

    The British case seems to have been mis-stated in the article. The British NSB happily voted for OOOOOXML, it's an opposition MP who's raising the big stink, IIRC.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    MS Orifice and it's corrupt standards

    MS Orifice 2007? OOXML?

    I wouldn't use it, if it was pirated and burned on a CD for me.

    In fact I am quite fond of Ubuntu Linux and Open Office.

  85. Michael Nielsen

    Apple Vs MS

    Whether or not Apple does the same nasty things as Microsoft, is rather irrelevant, because Apple is a niche product which is not something that is necessary to use.

    MS is an Ogliopol, or Monopol, depending on your point of view, which means they need to play by a different set of rules than Apple, Apple is absolutely allowed to bundle, tie, bind, and what not, their customers, because they do not control the market, and is only a minor player (relative), that means that what they do is legal, but when you control the markedet like Microsoft does, then you have to playe "Nice" because you are now able to levie force on the market, and force the market to move as they want.

    So unfortunately for Microsoft, being the controlling player, with around 90% of the market, they are subject to the monopoly laws, which means they must play nice and not abuse their position (something they've been charged with in several cases, and lost quite a few court cases over), Apple is not in such a dominant position (though their I-Pod is heading that way), and therefore is not subject to the limitations nor restrictions imposed on monopolies.

    If you want to compare buisness practises of Microsoft to other companies you need to find someone who is a monopoly and compare them, comparing actions of random companies to Microsoft is not relevant because very few companies have the total market domination that Microsoft has. Coca Cola does not own the soft drink market, and has real competitors, which is why they are not under monopoly restrictions,

    About Microsoft complying with changes required by ISO, from the fragments I've read about, some of the compliance seems to be more like "yes we are aware of it, but we are not going to implement the change" (specifically relating to the CEILING function), which really doesn't indicate compliance, and yet Denmark who apparently received some replies like that, changed their vote to a yes, even though the standards forum indicated a no - something strange is happening in this case.

  86. Scott
    Dead Vulture

    Have you heard the sage advice

    There are two things in the world you never want to see being created:

    chicken soup and standards.

    Now you've seen a standard being created. Do you have the stomach to see the other one?

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