Swedish OpenXML Vote Declared Invalid

Aug 31, 2007

The Swedish Institute for Standards (SiS) has just released a press statement declaring its vote for Microsoft's OpenXML format invalid.

In its statement SiS revoked its controversial vote from earlier this week, and announced that Sweden will not be taking an official stand on OpenXML. The official reason stated by the institute was that one of the voting parties had cast two votes, although each enterprise is allowed one vote only under SiS rules.

The Swedish Association for Free Information Structure (Förening för en fri informationsinfrastruktur) FFII had accused Microsoft of manipulating the vote via its partner companies. In a blog entry, Jason Matusow, who is responsible for intellectual property and interoperability at Microsoft, has since admitted that Microsoft had contacted business partners in Sweden and asked them to support OpenXML, and there are media reports that Microsoft promised incentives. According to Microsoft manager Tom Robertson the incentives were immediately withdrawn after they became known as "inconsistent with corporate policy".

At present, ISO is collecting votes from national committees on recognizing Microsoft's XML format as an ISO standard. Standardization institutes can cast their votes until September 2. As Sweden will probably be unable to keep the deadline in the wake of the irregularities, SiS has decided to abstain.

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