Swedes Invalidate OOXML Vote Over Fraud Allegations

The Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) has invalidated this week's ballot on the proposed Office Open XML (OOXML) standard, eliminating one vote in favour of the standard before the International Standards Organization (ISO). The body said that it had received information that one of its members had cast more than one vote, invalidating the entire election. As a result, the group won't be able to weigh in on the ISO procedure that seeks to establish OOXML as an open standard, as the deadline for votes to be registered passes on 2 September. The Swedish election sparked widespread controversy earlier this week when the SIS approved OOXML. The standard competes with the Open Document Format that is backed by IBM, Sun Microsystems as well as most open source advocates.

Doubts about the vote were raised after 20 companies suddenly joined one week before the SIS meeting and an email emerged in which Microsoft offered its partners "marketing contributions" if they would join the organisation and vote on the OOXML issue. However, although Microsoft's director of corporate standards Jason Matusow admitted that two messages were sent, he stressed that the company immediately flagged them as a violation of company policy. The company called the two recipients asking them to ignore the message, and informed the Swedish Standards Institute. Matusow also pointed out that IBM too had lobbied Swedish business partners to vote against the standard and he argued that companies joining SIS at the last minute was within the rules of the standards body, as both proponents and opponents, such as Google, had joined.

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