A thousand pardons for my lateness

I was supposed to have up a report on the OOXML seminar that happened last week. Sadly I have been spending all my time preparing for the follow up meeting which happens in an hour or so.

This one will be more interesting. We have representatives from Microsoft, IBM and apparently a professor at the University of The Western Cape in South Africa. All the relevant stakeholders will also be there to listen and possibly vote. We are however going to require full disclosure of any affiliations they have with Microsoft before the meeting.

Just so you know, the way it works is the standards board assembles a list of relevant stakeholders, sends them the specification and then lets them vote on it. I’ll have the list for you after the meeting. I should also point out that the standards board is doing their best to appear neutral because of a ton of pressure from Microsoft and its partners on one side, and IBM, civil society groups and apparently foreign standards boards on the other. It has also been strongly implied to me that they do not want to be seen as an impediment to a rumoured deal between Microsoft and the Government of Ghana. That can be bad for careers.

Also worth noting, some of the Microsoft people who came here also went to Ethiopia to make the same pitch. This is definitely part of a concerted effort to lobby African governments. And to be perfectly honest it annoys the hell out of me.

I’ll be there to speak and take notes on the event, so you’ll get both reports later this week. Maybe tonight if I have the energy to write them up.


2 Comments on “A thousand pardons for my lateness”

  1. omz says:

    softtribe is a microsoft partner,,, so i believe that his views about OOXML aren’t so much technical


    the same goes for Atlantis computers, a MS certified partner that sells Microsoft software


    Are NBs mere commercial proxies? i thought that they studied the standards before endorse them … but it seems that is not the case in many NB around the world

  2. kwasi says:

    Oh, I’m aware of their commercial leanings, as is the standards board. And they are far from the only ones.

    The problem as I understand it is that the standards board usually has its own technical team, and then gets input from a mixture of government bodies, professional institutions and private companies for this kind of stuff. In this case they are now in the process of building up their IT technical team and a lot of the IT companies in Ghana have been co-opted.

    Also keep in mind that the size of the standard and the amount of time given to review it really doesn’t leave time for a thorough review anyway, and that leaves plenty of room for someone to muddy the waters if they were so inclined…….

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