More than half of Standard Norge resigns over Microsoft OOXML fiasco

After the Norwegian ISO standards body, Standard Norge, accepted Microsoft’s MSOOXML file format even though only two of 23 members voted in favor, it became clear that some manipulation had been going on behind the scenes.

Apparently, nearly 40 strong and powerful Microsoft partners had sent identical letters to Standard Norge urging them to adopt MSOOXML, and Standard Norge’s own expert committee’s strong vote against the format was simply ignored.

Now 13 of 23 members resigned in protest of this and of other irregularities in the voting process. From the open letter of the resigning members:

  • Administrasjonen i Standard Norge har valg å vektlegge 37 likelydende brev fra Microsoft-partnere mer enn sin egen fagkomité.
  • Prosessen i Standard Norge har vært uforutsigbar og spillereglene har blitt endret av administrasjonen underveis.
  • SN og ISO har begått en rekke brudd på sine egne regler og andre uregelmessigheter i OOXML-prosessen.

Quick pseudotranslation: The Standard Norge administration trusts 37 identical letters from Microsoft partners more than their own expert committee, Standard Norge’s process became intransparent and the rules of the game were changed during the process, SN and ISO have committed a series of breaks of their own rules and allowed other irregularities during the OOXML process.

As a voting member during the Swiss OOXML process, where we have observed strange happenings as well, I respect and applaud the 13 members of Standard Norge for their courage. I am also very happy that the industry is now questioning the integrity and usefulness of the various ISO standard bodies in light of all the inexplicable vote changes and other indications of corruption that appeared during this time.

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