Michael Brown April 3 2010 07:12:56 PMAlex Brown, the man who is largely responsible for the passing of Microsoft's OOXML "standard", IMHO, has just made an amazing blog post, in which he admits, in effect, that Microsoft used him.
Yep, it seems that since Microsoft got the coveted ISO stamp of approval, it's made pretty much zero attempts to fix all the problems in it like it promised to. Really, Microsoft lied? You could have knocked me down with a feather when I found out.
So shout it from the rooftops! Whenever anybody, Microsoft or otherwise, bangs on about the standards support in Microsoft Office, you can plainly contradict them. Microsoft does not support any standards, not even its own. Not in Office 2007 and not, it appears, in Office 2010 either.
My own comment, which I've posted as response on Alex's site, is as follows:
Standardizers should be skeptical of corporations ... I think the view that reduces corporate disputes to some kind of soap opera with "goodies" and "baddies" is reductive and unintelligent
I appreciate that treating the likes of Microsoft with a Jeremy "why is this lying bastard lying to me?" Paxman approach is a luxury not available to a neutral body such as ISO. Even if that had been your thoughts at the time, you still had to treat all parties fairly and equally. It's like how we vote for politicians based on what's in their manifestos, even though we know that they probably won't keep too many of their promises once they're in power. (Just occasionally though, they do come through, e.g. Obama's Health Bill.)
By the same token, however, you didn't have to bend over backwards to help Microsoft get their standard approved either. For surely, that is what you did. Rather than following your own (very sound) advice to be "skeptical of corporations", you displayed an unbelievable naivety in trusting that Microsoft would make any serious attempt to fix its problems once the company had obtained the coveted ISO stamp of approval.
By any objective view of the text, as it existed at the time of the BRM, the standard should have failed. Five days was never enough time to fix its mountain of problems. Game over. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Fail.
But by splitting the standard into Transitional and Strict versions, the BRM found a way, perhaps the only way, of getting it through. You also proposed the "all or nothing" vote, when it became clear that there was not enough time to discuss all the NB's issues on an individual basis. Did ISO rules require you to come up with this? I think that they did not. You appear to have interpreted your role as to find the best way to get the standard passed, come whatever. That was *your* choice and ultimately it was your failure.
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