Microsoft now owns the ISO JTC 1

Rob Weir replied to a couple of comments to an article he wrote about the plans for maintenance of OOXML should it become an ISO standard. His comment is very insightful, quite scary but ultimately pretty accurate I think…

It is a scary proposition. I don’t think people understand how much Microsoft now owns JTC1 in a very real and tangible way. Absolutely owns.

Consider that it requires 2/3 approval of JTC1 P members to approve a standard. Microsoft, by various means, has managed to achieve very close to that number. They are only 5 short. If they achieve that 2/3 then they can ram through whatever standards they want.

But that scary part is that with even 1/3 of P-members, a number they clearly outright own, they can block anyone else’s standard. It probably hasn’t sunk into your realization yet,but Microsoft can essentially already erected toll bridge in ISO and demand payment or other concessions from anyone who wants to work with International Standards. If ISO rules get in the way, Microsoft can change them. If ISO administrators get in the way — no worry. With this number of NB’s Microsoft can control directives, staffing, paychecks, etc.

They’ve raised an army. You don’t think they will use it?

Is this the sort of company you want to trust your IT too? It isn’t mine.

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One Comment

  • Alan Bell says:

    This is a worry, this may affect ISO at a number of levels. Clearly SC34 is broken now, they can’t approve anything without a three line whip from Microsoft to get out the votes of the new P members. But what else is broken? well the new P members actually have their voting status across all of JTC1, not just the SC34 bit of JTC1. JTC1 is a technical committee of ISO in collaboration with the IEC, could the problem spread out of JTC1 to the rest of ISO? Well yes, it could. If, as we suspect, Microsoft have gained a controlling interest in several national bodies in the context of a technical vote, they probably have that level of control in the national bodies for any other committee they care to join. Just a few years and we will be putting M4 paper into our printers.

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