20070114: New Study Examines Microsoft ISO Votes

PRESS RELEASE — [ Economy / Innovation ]

Brussels, 14 January 2007 — Poorer countries more likely to vote for Microsoft format, says a new study from the Digital Standards Organization.

A new study from the Digital Standards Organization (Digistan), "Influence of Per-capita GDP on the ISO OOXML Process" says that the average GDP per capita of the countries who voted for the Microsoft OOXML proposal in September 2007 is 'significantly lower' than the GDP per capita of those who voted against it.

Microsoft started a highly controversial international "fast-track" standardization process for their OOXML format early in 2007. At a "ballot resolution meeting" in Geneva in February 2008, delegates from 81 countries must sort through the thousands of technical comments made during the previous ballot, in September. The final vote on the format is due at the end of March 2008.

The Digistan study says, "Just before the ballot the following countries applied for p-membership: Malta, Venezuela, Pakistan, Poland, Egypt, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, Ecuador, Jamaica and Uruguay, 8 of which voted for approval." P-members are normally long-term participants in the standards process.

By comparing the per-capita GPD of those countries that voted "YES" against those that voted "NO" in September, the authors of the report showed a difference of almost USD10,000 per capita. The report explains, "Countries with lower GDP per capita usually have weaker institutions representing its citizens and weaker economies that depend more strongly on foreign multinationals. For instance, the correlation between the Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International and the GDP per capita is of 0.8322."

Digistan founder Pieter Hintjens concludes, "recently approved standards like ISO 26300 (Open Document Format) and ISO 32000 (Portable Document Format) show a near 100% approval rate. We hope our study helps ISO to acknowledge and deal with the full implications of the anomalies of the OOXML ballot."


Contact information

Benjamin Henrion, Digistan Brussels Office, French/English
Phone: +322 414 8403 Mobile: +32 484 566109

Pieter Hintjens, Digistan Brussels Office, French/English/Dutch
Phone: +322 414 8403 Mobile: +32 475 235 984

About the Digital Standards Organization

The Digital Standards Organization (Digistan) was founded by a group of open standards professionals in 2007 with the goal of promoting customer choice, vendor competition, and overall growth in the global digital economy through the understanding, development, and adoption of open digital standards.