Failed Microsoft Diplomacy
Guess what this is. It’s modern day international democracy at work, in this case Microsoft’s winning effort to have the US vote “yes” to extending ISO approval to its OOXML file format as open-source software. Sounds arcane, but apparently tens of millions of dollars in government contracts are at stake with the question.
Alas, Microsoft failed to garner sufficient support of other participating state delegations. Here’s the story in Wednesday’s NYT. The vote formulas and balloting are complicated. Here’s the ISO press release; here’s a Linux-sponsored blog with some details, including what sounds like a “vote early and often” situation among Microsoft corporate partners in the Swedish national process and the suspiciously late sign-up of several small states (Malta, Azerbaijan, and Ivory Coast among them) for the obscure ISO committee handling the matter (perhaps reminiscent of small landlocked states joining the International Whaling Committee at the behest of either Japan or Greenpeace).
I won’t pretend to have a handle on this, but it looks like a demonstration of a) how important the ISO is, in this posture working as a hybrid state/non-state entity, and 2) how we are still very much in the Wild West days of new international processes.