Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Lobbying Could Cause Legal Trouble for Microsoft

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the keep-it-above-board-maybe dept.

Microsoft 138

Rob Isn't Weird writes "In the wake of the exposure of Microsoft's attempt to buy Sweden's vote on OOXML and Sweden's annulment of that vote due to irregularities, IBM's Rob Weir points out that the fiasco could cause anti-trust worries for Microsoft. He quotes ALLIED TUBE & CONDUIT CORP. v. INDIAN HEAD, INC., 486 U.S. 492 (1988), which says 'What petitioner may not do (without exposing itself to possible antitrust liability for direct injuries) is bias the process by, as in this case, stacking the private standard-setting body with decision makers sharing their economic interest in restraining competition.'"

cancel ×

138 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Service please? (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | about 7 years ago | (#20428837)

Anyone able to translate this into normal-speak?

Oh, and because it's required...Fist Psot, or whatever the first post trolls are saying nowadays...

Re:Service please? (1)

Xybre (527810) | about 7 years ago | (#20428891)

Basically all it says is that companies can't bias lobbying decisions in it's favor by flooding the voting polls with paid supporters.

Oh, and you didn't get first post.

Re:Service please? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429031)

It also says that some twit at IBM thinks it is OK to confuse "some employee in Sweden's" independent action as being an official "act of Microsoft". I'm going to bet that there is NO paper/email, whatever, trail that shows that the vote buying had any sanction by anyone with authority to actually sanction it.

Re:Service please? (4, Insightful)

Ajehals (947354) | about 7 years ago | (#20429091)

Oh that's handy, so if I get a lower level employee, say a junior manager to do all those illegal things I have thought about doing then that's OK?

Whoever received the communication that Microsoft apologised for seemed to think that the communication was official, that is all that should matter. Organisations need to have some some responsibilities (isn't that what corporate responsibility and due diligence is supposed to be all about?) When it comes to agreements or communications between organisations all parties need to be happy that what is being communicated is the official line, otherwise any organisation could pull out of any agreement they feel is no longer beneficial (a sale, a purchase a contact etc..) by simply claiming that by some fluke the person who negotiated didn't get it right.

Re:Service please? (2, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20429171)

I'm pretty sure that low-level employees don't get to go around promising money for things without management approval. Nobody, especially someone working for Microsoft, is that dumb. Someone in management there approved this. Microsoft's explanation is ridiculous.

Re:Service please? (1)

Ajehals (947354) | about 7 years ago | (#20429203)

Well yeah that's a given. Doesn't stop companies claiming that it was all jut a big mistake / enthusiasm on the part of a single person.

Strange thing is, if an employee of any company called me and offered me a very valuable service, cash or other products I'd damn well confirm it with whoever my contact was within that company, if the answer was still the same then I would take it as official communication and I'm sure that any other reasonable person / judge / juror / investigator would too.

Re:Service please? (1)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20429343)

Doesn't stop companies claiming that it was all jut a big mistake / enthusiasm on the part of a single person.
Right, and I'll believe that when someone gets fired and doesn't get a big payout/cushy new job along with it.

Re:Service please? (1)

Ajehals (947354) | about 7 years ago | (#20429527)

When you put it like that it makes me want to start searching for jobs specs with the following in them:

"Required to be flexible, your role will include you becoming a scapegoat occasionally - remuneration : excellent"

The "law" is for sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429417)

"Doesn't stop companies claiming that it was all jut a big mistake / enthusiasm on the part of a single person."
It doesn't matter what anyone says. The rule of law does not apply in the U.S. any longer; the Bush administration sells the government to the highest bidder.

Re:Service please? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 7 years ago | (#20429613)

UNless they can proove that the emplyee was not authorized to act (very, very hard), the company is responsible. Othewise companies could allways sacrifice empleyess whenever anything goes wrong. That would not do at all.

Re:Service please? (1)

SageMusings (463344) | about 7 years ago | (#20430089)

Othewise companies could allways sacrifice empleyess whenever anything goes wrong

Don't they?

Re:Service please? (1)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20430535)

Othewise companies could allways sacrifice empleyess whenever anything goes wrong
Don't they?
Seems like often one of the higher-ups goes, like CEO, CFO, etc. Of course they generally leave with obscene heaps of cash in their bags, and get on somewhere else after a nice vacation, and maybe write a book about it.

Re:Service please? (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#20430765)

Of course they generally leave with obscene heaps of cash in their bags, and get on somewhere else after a nice vacation, and maybe write a book about it.

Yeah ... and then they go on the lecture circuit and make even more heaps of cash, at which point some other sucker^H^H^H^H^H^Hcorporation hires them. Really, it's beyond belief what goes on in those circles.

Re:Service please? (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 7 years ago | (#20430991)

Oh no seriously the cost of an audit were certainly be more than the amount in petty cash! Next thing you'll be saying is that bribes oops make the lobbying is illegal

Re:Service please? (1)

Xybre (527810) | about 7 years ago | (#20429101)

Microsoft is responsible for it's employees making decisions like this. A representative of their company enacted this, and as a result the company as a whole needs to take responsibility. Someone in authority had to nod their head for this to happen, a bit of money exchanged hands here, it's not a tiny thing.

Re:Service please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429571)

No, actually he did get first post...

Normal-speak version (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429477)

> Anyone able to translate this into normal-speak?

Anyone who lost money because of Microsoft pushing OOXML by ballot-stuffing a standards organization might be able to sue Microsoft for whatever amount they lost. And it doesn't matter if the ballot-stuffing was legal per the rules of the standards organization, it's still bad.

In even simpler terms:
* Microsoft has just given people a reason to sue them.
* Competitors like IBM just might do so, especially after Microsoft funded SCO.
* Fireworks ahead?

Note that IANAL so this translation may contain subtle flaws. I don't speak for anyone except myself, and I have no idea if anyone will actually sue over this. I'm just speculating based on the content of this story. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer. By reading or transmitting this message, you agree not to sue me. Hey, it's worth a shot :-)

Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#20428841)

to quote a US law in a swedish case? There is a little matter of sovereignty.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

KevMar (471257) | about 7 years ago | (#20428893)

there is just no way that they would do anything like that here in the US....

I think the jump is if they do it out side the US, we should check to see if they do the same thing here.

US laws apply to overseas behavior (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 7 years ago | (#20428921)

In particular, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Of course, IANAL.

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 7 years ago | (#20429781)

Yes, but the jurisdiction of US law doesn't stretch to Scandinavia.
Domestically, one could summarize the DoJ (irrespective of administration in power) as saying to Redmond: "Stop, or I will say 'stop' again."

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (2, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | about 7 years ago | (#20429885)

US law extends over most of the world, they just normally can't arrest you until you set foot on US soil - and microsoft is in seattle right now.

If you're unlucky enough to live in the UK, for the last few years you've had to understand US law to avoid being arrested here just doing normal everyday things. Three top bank managers were extradited not long ago for engaging in business practices from the UK that are legal to engage in under British law but illegal under US law. The UK is the 51st state - other countries are the same.

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (2, Informative)

Darth (29071) | about 7 years ago | (#20429991)

If you are talking about he guys picked up for having previously been involved in banking for online casinos, I'm pretty sure they weren't extradited. They were picked up on U.S. soil in an airport while making a connection on a trip.

(it is still a stupid law and it was a stupid arrest, but it did happen on U.S. soil)

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (1)

Bloater (12932) | about 7 years ago | (#20430483)

No, they arranged an investment deal for one of their customers... Enron
Their work was apparently carried out in the UK and they were definitely extradited (well one of them had a heart attack from the stress)

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 7 years ago | (#20430841)

At least you used the word extradited in the proper context.
Furthermore, you seem to imply that extradition treaties are a one-way street. I'm reasonably certain that if you commit a crime in the EU, and your flesh happens to be in the US, you'll be turned over upon arrest here.
Governments have been colluding like that for a many a year now.
Of course, there are times when governments do engage in a bit of "urinary struggle" over individuals, too.

Re:US laws apply to overseas behavior (2, Informative)

Bloater (12932) | about 7 years ago | (#20430921)

Nono, these guys were in the UK and did something legal in the UK (allegedly - which seems to be supported by the fact that they weren't tried for breaking British law) but were arrested and extradited to the US because the US forbids what they did. Simply put, the US laws apply to the UK, the UK is a jurisdiction of the USA - if they ban it in the USA you must also not do it in the UK or you could be lifted.

It's an *IBM* guy saying this... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429027)

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [usdoj.gov] is one example where overseas actions can be prosecuted inside the USA. IANAL, so I'm not going to claim that it does apply to Microsoft, especially when I think it's a criminal statute that would have to be prosecuted by the DoJ. I don't even know if there's any civil right of action in there. If there are any lawyers out there, feel free to chime in.

Now then, did you note that this was an IBM guy saying this? Given that Rob's blog covers approximately two things--brewing and OOXML--I'd have to say that he learned about this law from the Nazgul (IBM lawyers, for you young'uns) because I don't think Rob is a lawyer, either. And I don't think normal people go around reading and quoting 20 year old anti-trust cases for fun.

So if IBM is examining something like that, especially when we have Microsoft doing other things like funding SCO, I'd say to stay tuned, because we just might see fireworks in the future. It wouldn't be the first anti-trust action against Microsoft by any means. Mind you, this is 100% speculation, but what do you expect on Slashdot?

Re:It's an *IBM* guy saying this... (3, Insightful)

khb (266593) | about 7 years ago | (#20429869)

Assuming that the reason Rob knows this case law is because IBM's lawyers are discussing it is ... specious. If Rob is involved (or ever has been involved) in a formal Standards process (e.g. served as an ANSI officer) he probably got a briefing (I did when I was ;>). Various bits of arcane anti-trust trivia are shot at the poor volunteer, in the attempt to ensure that a handful of someones in the room during deliberations have a clue as to what is, and what is not legitimate discourse. Otherwise ANSI would lose it's special standing (which permits competitors to meet "safely" in terms of Anti-Trust. This is, of course, purely US experience ... but many other countries have similar systems.

This is just one o many ways that Rob could have been exposed to such things sans IBM lawyer involvement.

Re:It's an *IBM* guy saying this... (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 7 years ago | (#20430827)

this is exactly why companies are pushing to keep the anti-trust case open a little longer. The current remedy is toothless, but it's like double-secret probation. As long as it's in place there's somebody to take this too. Sort of like grandma being able to get the PO officer to rattle a wayward kid's cage. I'd agree that while this can't be "prosecuted" in the US, "probation" if you call what M$ is on now doesn't matter what's "legal" it matters what the watcher "believes" is legal and in the spirit of the agreement made. This behavior shows Microsoft is not dealing fairly and is "biding their time" for the clock to run down... more reasons to lengthen the "time-out" a bit until they learn to play fair. Preventing M$ from overrunning a standards body while the industry gets its but in gear is the best way to cut the wind from Microsoft's sails.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

MathFox (686808) | about 7 years ago | (#20429095)

US law isn't binding for the European Commission, but I can imagine that Mrs. Kroes would like to ask some questions regarding this topic to Microsoft. There seems to be a pattern of unduly influencing the votes of national standardization bodies throughout the EU.
Things wouldn't look too bad for Microsoft if it didn't meet Mrs. Kroes in her position as "Competition Commissioner" before or if they didn't make a lasting impression in the encounters before. I am pretty sure that Microsoft's assault on the ISO standardization process will be part of the "Office Software" anti-monopoly proceedings of the EU. Few companies have risked the wrath of the EC a second time...

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (5, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | about 7 years ago | (#20429199)

It's not a "swedish case". Its about how a US corporation or its subsidiaries behavior in Sweden might make it liable under US anti-trust laws in the US because the actions in Sweden might be aimed at affecting the competitive landscape in the US to.

It's clearly for US courts to decide if a US corporation affects the US competitive landscape.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

HardCase (14757) | about 7 years ago | (#20429241)

Indeed - and it isn't even quoting US law. The author is attempting to twist a Supreme Court decision against a domestic company that influenced a domestic standards agency. And not just any standards agency, but the one that generates the standard electrical code that is at the heart of municipal building ordinances.

And, to boot, if a law was broken, it was not in the US. Maybe Swedish law is different in this regard, because I can't imagine that a US court will decide that it has jurisdiction over an incident that happened in another country.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 years ago | (#20429379)

The law may be applicable anyway - figure that if you commit a murder while abroad - do you expect to stay free when you come home? (unless your government sanctioned it, but that's a different question).

Anyway - There is a Swedish authority named Konkurrensverket (Swedish Competition Authority) [konkurrensverket.se] that has some influence in matters like this. Maybe you should send them an email with your opinions?

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#20429461)

As far as I understand, you will be extradited if a) the country where crime took place requests it, b) sufficient evidence is given according to standards set by american law and c) there is an extradition treaty. For example, if a european citizen chose to volunteer in a firing squad as part of US death penalty, he will probably be Ok, even though the same conduct would be considered murder in his home country. Now consider African countries where murder is effectively not illegal because of absence of effective government. How would you even sort out if a particular accident was murder or self-defense.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 7 years ago | (#20429623)

to quote a US law in a swedish case? There is a little matter of sovereignty.

US law applies everywhere on the planed. At least they are acting like it....

get a clue (1)

toby (759) | about 7 years ago | (#20430703)

There is no sovereignty in the "post-9/11 world"...

Google for NAFTA-Plus for an example.

Or research Australia's history. Australia lost its sovereignty to the US 32 years ago.

Re:Isn't it a bit presumptuous... (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 7 years ago | (#20431089)

This really transcends sovereignty because it involves international standards, and by establishing OOXML as an ISO standard it will greatly enhance Microsoft's ability to market their product not only in Sweden but in others countries including the USA. Basically you have to read the law, some says something like "It's illegal for anyone in the United States to ..." then being outside the United Sates removes you from US juridiction; however if the law is missing the "in the United States" part then you still subject to US laws and it's a matter of how much the US wants you. If your a guy like Noreaga, bin Laden, or Hussein life can become difficult. Microsoft has what about 11 Billion in the bank, most countries would assume that they could afford to pay a substantial fine; there will be plenty left after Sweden/EU decides what to do with them.

Does US law apply here? (0, Redundant)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20428853)

The actions were in Sweden.

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

smist08 (1059006) | about 7 years ago | (#20428873)

I think the assumption here is that they are doing the same thing in the US where it is not only un-ethical but illegal.

Re:Does US law apply here? (0, Flamebait)

Nimey (114278) | about 7 years ago | (#20428937)

US laws apply everywhere.

That's what Republicans believe, anyway, and they will act on that belief (trade agreements, etc.)

Re:Does US law apply here? (1, Funny)

josteos (455905) | about 7 years ago | (#20428983)

If Sweden had oil then maybe Bush would try to liberate its citizens and *FINALLY* bring democracy to those poor, oppressed people. Along with US laws. And Haliburton & Blackwater Security, of course.

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

init100 (915886) | about 7 years ago | (#20429105)

Given the popularity of Bush here, if we'd have more civilians with guns, you'd be facing a new Iraq.

Re:Does US law apply here? (2, Funny)

josteos (455905) | about 7 years ago | (#20429235)

See... if Bush invades Sweden he'd bring more Freedom. Like, the Freedom to have more guns. So you could defend yourself against the Enemies of Freedom. Enemies like Bush. Its just a vicious circle.

Now if we colonized Sweden we'd dramatically increase our odds of getting another medal in Olympic hockey. Hmmmm.... On the plus side, I understand Yankee taxes are lower than Swedish taxes. The downside is you'd get Michel Moore coming over and making movies all the time.

Re:Does US law apply here? (3, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20429065)

Where the action occurred is probably of little consequence to US antitrust law; what will matter is the intended and actual effect on US market position. I think its pretty hard to argue that Microsoft isn't pushing for ISO standardization as a way to reinforce (among other things) the US market position of Office, and Allied Tube suggests that the particular means being used may be antitrust violations in that context.

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

josteos (455905) | about 7 years ago | (#20429175)

As I understand it, the anti-trust settlement doesn't address MS market position directly; it address the usage by MS of its position in order to hinder competition. I don't think anybody would mind if MS made a great product that dominated the competition because it was a superior product. But when they make a mediocre product and actively seek to prevent competition, well... thats another case.

As for international interest in this Sweden thing, yeah... I think its a good point. A 'Win' by MS in Sweden would have been very beneficial for MS here in the US, esp./ as they try to position Office vs Open Office. I wouldn't be surprised if the US judge discusses it with them at their next settlement meeting. However I believe only OS items are covered by the anti-trust settlement. If I where MS I'd maybe worry that some other folks (google, DOJ, states, etc.) might want to revisit the antitrust lawsuit based on this behavior.

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20429255)

As I understand it, the anti-trust settlement doesn't address MS market position directly; it address the usage by MS of its position in order to hinder competition.


The past antitrust settlement is not the issue, the issue is liability (in a separate action) for the vote-buying under antitrust law.

I don't think anybody would mind if MS made a great product that dominated the competition because it was a superior product.


Well, lots of people (including the competition) would mind, but it wouldn't be illegal. Leveraging an existing monopoly in another market to monopolize a market is one illegal way of monopolizing trade, another way (demonstrated by Allied Tube, cited in TFA & TFS) is to corruptly influence a private standard-setting body. The previous MS antitrust case resulting in the settlement centered around a particular case of the former, the issue here is the latter.

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 7 years ago | (#20429099)

The actions were in Sweden.

Yeah, but the corporation is in the US. You can't just do anything you want because you do it in a foreign country. Just like you can't not-pay US taxes because you do your business in Sweden... International Law treaties are far more complex than just "If you do stuff in CountryX you are not liable in CountryY"

Re:Does US law apply here? (1)

JonJ (907502) | about 7 years ago | (#20429123)

If Microsoft is breaking Swedish law, then Sweden could easily fine Microsoft. Even if internation treaties exists, it does not mean you are free to break national laws. And using US law as a defense is a very poor defense at best.

ho hum (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20428889)

Unfortunately for us lowly citizens, US law only *theoretically* applies to Microsoft.

Re:ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20428961)

From the way their product managers seem to think they have the right to micro-manage the allocation of tasks to staff with third-party companies, International law only "theoretically" applies to Microsoft.

Re:ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429115)

But hey, nobody cares anyways.

And besides, if need be, MS has so much dough to cough up that no lawyers or governments can scare them. Way too late for that.

Question on lobbying (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | about 7 years ago | (#20428965)

Sorry, this is a little off-topic, but I'm curious. I don't really get the specifics of the whole "lobbying" process. Is it just a roundabout way to go about bribing an official? Pay them off prior to them being elected, and threaten to not give them money next election if they don't vote in your favour?

But if so, how did this situation come about? Does Microsoft pre-emptively make campaign contributions to political candidates in major markets just in case such a vote has to be passed? Or do they promise campaign support for the next election? If they promise money for doing something, doesn't that constitute bribery?

I'm genuinely curious. If anyone can shed some light on this, it'd be appreciated.

Re:Question on lobbying (4, Interesting)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | about 7 years ago | (#20429023)

As improbable as it sounds, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Political lobbyists represent the interests of their clients to various politicians. They can also provide campaign contributions to politicians running for office - which is, if not outright bribery, is definitely within spitting distance. This is the source of much controversy. You can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_lobbying [wikipedia.org]

Re:Question on lobbying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429709)

The campaign coffers in the US are always open. No need to wait for the next election. Of course, if you really want influence, then, yes, you do contribute ahead of need. Then you have a relationship. As in someone is getting s$%#$%d.

How to ruin Microsoft from the inside... (2, Funny)

KillerCow (213458) | about 7 years ago | (#20428969)

...in three easy steps...

1) Get hired at Microsoft
2) Use your MS email address to offer bribes to public officials without management knowledge
3) Enjoy anti-trust actions

For anything to stick, they would have to show that there was some management involvement. A corporation is not one single mind.

Re:How to ruin Microsoft from the inside... (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20429119)

Use your MS email address to offer bribes to public officials without management knowledge


Actually, if they were public officials rather than a private standard-setting body, Allied Tube wouldn't apply.

For anything to stick, they would have to show that there was some management involvement. A corporation is not one single mind.


A corporation is, however, a single legal person, and to escape liability for the actions of its employees often (especially in a civil rather than criminal case) must demonstrate that those actions were outside the scope of employment, since the carrying out of actions which advance an overt corporate interest by an employee can itself be evidence from which a jury can conclude, barring any contrary evidence, that the action was within the scope of employment notwithstanding the illegality.

Re:How to ruin Microsoft from the inside... (1)

SoulRider (148285) | about 7 years ago | (#20429315)

A corporation is not one single mind.

Yes its a hive mind, sort of like the Zerg.

Re:How to ruin Microsoft from the inside... (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | about 7 years ago | (#20429471)

Are you saying that a corporation should not always be held responsible for actions committed by their employees, on their behalf, in their name, and through the use of their resources? I'm sorry, but plausible deniability only goes so far...

Just one guy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20430397)

I think you misunderstand. This case is about stuffing a standards body full of your partners, not about bribing them. In fact, it wouldn't matter if you didn't bribe them at all, so long as you influenced them to join.

Given that Microsoft partners have been joining in MANY countries, and that 40+ countries have suddenly become interested in voting for OOXML in the ISO, you have to feel like this global campaign isn't the work of just one man in Microsoft (even if the bribe email was) ...

But that's just me. What the hell do I know?

INDIAN HEAD? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 7 years ago | (#20428977)

Whoa whoa whoa, wait... Indian Head? Are you saying, Microsoft outsourced Bill Gates?

My brain hurts (-1, Flamebait)

Stevecrox (962208) | about 7 years ago | (#20428995)

Now I remember why I don't RTFA, that article is such a mess I had trouble following it. When I did decipher it, it just turned out to be a biased news piece bashing Microsoft by selecting sources and making insinuations.

Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429089)

I would *never* insinuate that Microsoft may have done something wrong and should be brought to justice for it.

just a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429007)

isn't that kind of the idea of competition? restrain the competition.

oh well, i guess competition is illegal now.

Re:just a thought (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20430307)

isn't that kind of the idea of competition? restrain the competition.

No, the idea of competition is to produce a better product than everyone else so the customers will buy yours in preference.

Anything which restricts the customers' ability to switch between products (format lockin, leveraging existing monopoly platforms, predatory pricing, OEM penalties, etc) is anticompetitive and should be prevented.

More directly: (1)

Trillan (597339) | about 7 years ago | (#20429019)

Although I consider OOXML to be an abomination, at this point Microsoft could be seen as trying to introduce competition. This seems to be more directly related to stacking "no" votes.

Re:More directly: (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20429127)

Although I consider OOXML to be an abomination, at this point Microsoft could be seen as trying to introduce competition.


Right. Microsoft is just a little-guy competitor trying to break into the office suite market dominated by OpenOffice.org which is virtually without serious competition, not a dominant player desperately trying to fend off a challenge to its dominance.

Re:More directly: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429951)

...Because I'm sure that the people involved in the standarization process are being completely fair, given that the committees are stacked with people who have been beaten by or are competing with Microsoft in some shape or form.

Re:More directly: (1)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20430563)

...Because I'm sure that the people involved in the standarization process are being completely fair, given that the committees are stacked with people who have been beaten by or are competing with Microsoft in some shape or form.
Maybe. Or maybe they just want to have standards that are actually possible to implement. Something that Microsoft obviously doesn't give a damn about.

Re:More directly: (1)

Trillan (597339) | about 7 years ago | (#20430039)

No, but OpenDoc is already approved. Nobody's trying to block OpenDoc's approval (mind you, only because it's too late).

just to even the playing field (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | about 7 years ago | (#20429039)

the D.O.J should force microsoft to use open file formats such as ODF in their office products...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument [wikipedia.org]

Re:just to even the playing field (1)

Danse (1026) | about 7 years ago | (#20429307)

the D.O.J should force microsoft to use open file formats such as ODF in their office products...
That's the sort of thing that sensible people were proposing when the DOJ had Microsoft in a position where they were going to lose and knew they would have to make reforms. Unfortunately, the open file formats and APIs people were being drowned out by the "split up Microsoft!" and "remove IE from Windows!" people, even though those remedies would do virtually nothing to solve the real problems.

Lobbying? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#20429111)

Is that how it's done?

 

Re:Lobbying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20430565)

> Is that how it's done?

Trust me. You DON'T want to know.

IBM?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20429125)

Is Rob Wier making this statement on IBM's behalf or in his personal capacity? If Rob can't certify this as an official IBM statement, then please edit the story to not say "IBM's Rob Wier", it should just say "Rob Wier".

Re:IBM?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20430459)

Haha just kidding I suck the cock.

what's all this about ? (2, Insightful)

edxwelch (600979) | about 7 years ago | (#20429263)

What's the upshot of all this anyways?
Even if OOXML gets approved for ISO don't we still have a choice? Won't ODF still be there?

Re:what's all this about ? (2, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | about 7 years ago | (#20429427)

> Even if OOXML gets approved for ISO don't we still have a choice? Won't ODF still be there?

Sure, but will government offices with public records use it? No, they'll choose the "standard".

Frankly, I don't think OOXML is all that satanic, nor is ODF all that perfect, but the latter is definitely more focused on an actual document format rather than encoding all the goofy idiosyncratic semantics of an office app with XML tags. And MS's behavior is definitely not above board here.

Re:what's all this about ? (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 7 years ago | (#20429679)

but can't there be two standards? Can't ODF get ISO approval as well?

Re:what's all this about ? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20429777)

It has already...
However, if microsoft's format also gets ISO approval then noone will use ODF, despite it being a superior format in many ways, they will stick with the only one microsoft supports.

Re:what's all this about ? (2, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20430267)

Frankly, I don't think OOXML is all that satanic

Try to implement an app that will round-trip MOOXML through MS Office editing, then get back to us.

I think you'll find it's not possible to use MOOXML unless you're Microsoft.

Re:what's all this about ? (1)

sybesis (1095871) | about 7 years ago | (#20430995)

All i know is that ooxml contain tags that are proprietary...refering to office95 by exemple...For microsoft it may not be a bad idea but seriously...you're making a standard. thats like saying if HTML contained tag for Internet Explorer and it was w3c valid....! Something like But you are asking people to implement things don't have anylink with any other web browser... wouldn't be restrictive and would not contain any proprietary tags. By standard, i see a format that will work on whatever software without making fancy hack... ODF does it... ODF is an ISO...ooxml isn't and contain some proprietary information that may not be handled by any other software except ms office... It contains deprecated things and things that don't have their place there.

Re:what's all this about ? (1)

caseih (160668) | about 7 years ago | (#20429555)

Sure but nothing will actually support it, and those products that do support it will support it in a half-baked, crippled way. MS always used to make sure Word could read WordPerfect documents perfectly, but couldn't create them worth a darn. Expect this type of behavior to continue.

If OOXML does get ISO approved, expect to see all the major packages support it in some fashion, while MS moves on with MSOOXML and kills off all the competition as they fruitlessly try to implement OOXML in a way that's compatible with Microsoft.

The trap continues, even for their own formats. (4, Informative)

Erris (531066) | about 7 years ago | (#20429713)

Sure but nothing will actually support it, and those products that do support it will support it in a half-baked, crippled way. MS always used to make sure Word could read WordPerfect documents perfectly, but couldn't create them worth a darn. Expect this type of behavior to continue.

Office 2007 does not even have working support of older M$ formats. Footnote numbering is broken if you save OOXML to WORD.DOC and macros are broken between versions of Excel. I expect to hear similar things powerpoint and other formats as a few foolish people around me continue their Office 2007 trial. As usual, data goes in but does not come out and you can't really co-operate with people who are not on the same point release.

This is stunning behavior, even for M$. A reasonable XML format should support all previous version behavior perfectly because the internal representation does not have to change. The transition should be easier than any previous M$ Office "upgrade" but it is in fact worse than others. For all of their bluster, they have not lived up to the 6,000 pages of specs they are now trying to force on the world as an ISO standard. Un-Fucking-Believable.

Re:The trap continues, even for their own formats. (0)

dedazo (737510) | about 7 years ago | (#20429911)

Office 2007 does not even have working support of older M$ formats.

This is not true. I can open MSO2007 documents in MSO2003 and viceversa, except when I specifically pick the 2007 format, which evidently prevents 2003 from opening the file.

With the exception of a single problem between Office 95-97 which was corrected with a filter, this has always been the behavior. No software vendor in the planet promises that older versions of an application will open newer versions of a file without problems.

Re:The trap continues, even for their own formats. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20430153)

Not true- I worked at a company where it was company policy that older versions of the software be able to open files written by the latest version (as far as humanly possible). It's not hard to do if you plan for it from the beginning, although at some point the file sizes get large because you're duplicating a lot of information. This was for the educational market, where clients could (and would) be running a mix of versions of the software on an equally varied mix of machines, some of them quite old.

How to advocate free software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20431101)

twitter [slashdot.org] , please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/Advoca cy [ibiblio.org]

Re:what's all this about ? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#20429913)

Do you have a choice of receiving .doc files?

Re:what's all this about ? (3, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 years ago | (#20430347)

What's the upshot of all this anyways?
Even if OOXML gets approved for ISO don't we still have a choice? Won't ODF still be there?
What's the point of a standard when there is a multiplicity of them? The amount of work required to create an OOXML-compliant office suite could probably be used to better the ODF standard (or at least implement it better). If the same people have to implement two different standards for the same software, either one of the standards will not be implemented as well, or less features will be available in the software since the programmer had to waste time with an extra data format.

Arrogance (2, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | about 7 years ago | (#20429433)

The main problem with Microsoft is arrogance. They believe they have the right to do whatever the hell they want. Screw the laws, they don't apply, "We're Microsoft! We're special!" In reality, that's been true. So they were declared an illegal monopoly. So what happened to them? Basically, not a god damn thing. The courts told them to take a 10 minute time-out in the corner, and let them off after only 5 minutes. So of course Microsoft thinks they can do anything they want, because they have been getting away with doing anything they want. Microsoft is incapable of believing the normal rules apply to them. And the more they get away with shit, the more firmly entrenched they will be in this belief and these kinds of kinds of actions.

Re:Arrogance (2, Funny)

ianare (1132971) | about 7 years ago | (#20429525)

It's good to be the king :-)

MS has the right to do whatever the hell they want (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 7 years ago | (#20430745)

It's not arrogance, if it's accurate. The worst that could happen to msft is that they have to pay a fine, or pay a settlement.

Since msft has $30 Billion in the bank, what do they care?

Operative words: restraining competition (3, Funny)

517714 (762276) | about 7 years ago | (#20429443)

Since this is an open standard, how could it possibly restrain competition? Clearly you do not understand how magnimus Microsoft is being in sharing this wonderful document with all of us.

Re:Operative words: restraining competition (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20429833)

Have you actually read this supposed standard? Have you even read the slashdot stories talking about it?
To sum it up...
The spec may be partially open, but it refers to other non published specs/programs which arent.
Microsoft's own implementation doesn't fully comply with the published specs.
The format spec is very broken in several ways (some formulae fail to specify units of measurement etc)
The format itself is also broken (date support is broken, support for different working-weeks as in the middle east is nonexistent etc)

And a lot more, try reading some of the recent stories...

I tried to read that blog entry... (2, Interesting)

Durindana (442090) | about 7 years ago | (#20429545)

... but I couldn't make any sense of it at all. The summary mentions recent irregularities, but those aren't detailed at all. And the rest of it is incoherent, like the content it links to.

In summary: Please avoid relaying submissions to blog entries, by the blogger who wrote them, without making sure they're not stark raving unreadable. Is there some kind of news buried here about MS's activities on the Swedish OOXML vote? Maybe - but I can't tell from this garbage.

Re:I tried to read that blog entry... (3, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 7 years ago | (#20429901)

As always, Groklaw [groklaw.net] comes to the rescue.

I also recommend reading the top page [groklaw.net] for info what is happening at other countries.

Dear Sweden... (4, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 years ago | (#20429547)

Dear Sweden,

We needed your NO vote. Microsoft has won their battle by removing your vote entirely, which is probably not what you intended.

Sincerely,
The rest of the (still) Free World.

Re:Dear Sweden... (0, Offtopic)

emj (15659) | about 7 years ago | (#20429943)

Ok you put down at least $60000 then we all can become members, and vote NO.

We may have money, but not many are zealots enough to put it where it's worth.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | about 7 years ago | (#20430533)

we just called it bribeing

By the Corporation, For the Corporation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20430761)

Who says the American system doesn't blaze trails? M$ knows this bullshit flies in the US, so why not try it in Sveeeden? It's a helluva lot easier to find an honest mechanic than a politician who serves the public interest. Kudos for nullifying the "sullied" vote, though. Too bad the special interests have all the power in Washington...

A series, perhaps? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 7 years ago | (#20430927)

As I was reading, I half expected the lawsuit to be "ALLIED TUBE & CONDUIT CORP. v. INTERNATIONAL BIG TRUCK INC."
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>