So MS claims that IBM is behind the contradictions that were filed on the OOXML document. Even if they were, why would that be an issue? The ISO contradictions process asks for national standards bodies to highlight and submit issues between a proposed standard and any pre-existing ISO standard. Should national standards bodies kowtow to IBM or Microsoft or anyone? Shouldn’t national standard bodies be looking at what is good for the country and also to follow the tried and true process of standards setting? I think Mr Robertson and Mr Paoli are clearly trying to mislead with their open letter.

One of the hallmarks of an International Standard is that it is defined and independently implementable. If one looks at the Office Open XML document – all 6000+ pages of it – it quickly becomes obvious that the task is onerous.

So for Mr Robertson and Mr Paoli to say: “Microsoft understands that addressing interoperability involves drawing upon a variety of tools. We are deploying all of them: designing products so that they are interoperable with other products out of the box, without need for extensive consulting services; collaborating with others in the community to jointly solve interoperability challenges; broadening the ways we provide access to our technologies so that others can create interoperable solutions; and participating in efforts to develop standards that create common solutions to interoperability challenges,” is spinning the reality. They say “without need for extensive consulting services” and amazingly they are truthful only on that point. It however does mean that one would need Microsoft services before any form of interoperability can happen. Why would that be a good way to achieve anything? The test of interoperability, as is shown in any IETF standard, is to have clear and well documented standards be independently implemented by at least two unrelated groups.

Mr Robertson and Mr Paoli also say that: “When ODF was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process because we recognized customers’ interest in the standardization of document formats.” Could it have been because they walked out of the meetings? And also, there were no contradictions that the ODF had over other ISO standards? Not telling the whole story is such a hallmark of any Microsoft statement that eternal vigilance is needed.

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