I can’t help saying ”see for yourself how they really are” when I am reading about the latest scandal in the Swedish Standardization Organisation (SIS) regarding standards for document formats. Open Document (ODF) used by the open source package Open Office/Star Office/NeoOffice has already been selected as a standards by ISO. However, as usual Microsoft has no intention of supporting this and is instead pushing its own XML-based format called OOXML. This standard is up for a vote in the ISO in a few days and Sweden’s SIS had recently a vote to decide how Sweden will vote. Microsoft used promises of marketing assistance to urge their partners to become members of SIS and thus being able to vote. As a result the majority shifted and OOXML was accepted as a standard. Computer Sweden have written about it here. Fortunately the SIS have now declared the vote not guilty based on formal reasons which Dagens Nyheter writes about here. Why is it so hard for Microsoft to participate in international standardization efforts instead of insisting of doing it alone all the time? Don’t they realize that all giants sooner or later will lose its grips on the market just like IBM did 20 years ago….
IBM has now become a good example how to embrace standards and still make money. An even better example is Sun Microsystems that is showing great profits after lots of open source initatives. Even Apple, a company that lots of people used to think of as a very proprietary company nowadays not only implements every standard it finds but base their whole operating system on open source code in the form of FreeBSD/Darwin.