The final votes for DIS29500 is now done. Apparently, results will only come out tomorrow. So, it's all over for now, bar the screaming and shouting. For many observers, it's absolutely clear that the voting process in various National Bodies have been less than ... logical. However, because there's not actually been anything illegal, in so far as anyone can tell, the hanky-panky have been described as "irregular".
There's been accusations of corruption, but none that anyone could really make stick. In Malaysia, there's been cajoling, lobbying, pleading, cabinet paper attempt-ing, lunches, dinners, following of officials like a puppy, arse licking, ego stroking, economic doom-spelling and other methods to convince the vote caster to approve the draft standard, OOXML, or failing that, to abstain. However, there haven't been any reports of outright vote-buying or any other forms of money exchange, nor do we expect any to come in the future.
So, on the surface, in Malaysia at least and in many other countries (except, allegedly, Sweden), the efforts of Microsoft to convince the NBs to approve OOXML as an ISO standard has been legal.
That it stinks to high heaven is beside the point.
What is the point is that we have collectively, globally, bore witness to an awesome display of power by a single corporation. Awesome. Ruthless, even. That Microsoft would fight in every nook and cranny, every possible avenue, every committee, sub-committee, sub-sub-committee, upwards, downwards and sideways to the committees, is simply astounding.
That Microsoft can and did encourage the final decision makers to ignore the wishes of their own standards bodies, majorities be damned, is further affirmation of this awesome display.
Some are saying that this is a Pyrrhic victory for Microsoft, that the battle is not yet over. They refer to Norway kicking back as the first return salvo. We await other nations (and personally, especially my own, Malaysia) to join Norway.
But let's make it clear here that protesting the approval of DIS 29500 OOXML is not a protest against Microsoft per se, but more against the besmirching of the process, the subversion and brushing aside the collective technical expertise of countless of interested/non-interested parties and experts, and sheer ignorance of any due respect to other people's opinions.
However, it was awesome. One company, Microsoft, against all comers, all over the world.
Simply, awfully, awesome.