I read this in the New York Times today and almost fell over laughing:
"IBM is threatening to leave organizations that set standards for software interoperability because of concerns that their processes are not always fair.
IBM published a new set of guidelines it plans to follow, which include encouraging standards bodies to have rules to protect their decisions from "undue influence," a clear reference to competitor Microsoft."
The standards processes “are not always fair”? If I read this correctly, IBM thinks they’re important enough that they can dictate how worldwide standards committees engage with them… or they’re going to take their ball and go straight home.
IBM is one of the more senior technology companies in the world and it has maintained one of the largest established lobbying groups in both the United States and in Europe in order to communicate their ‘value’ to standards bodies & governments alike.
Before 2000, Microsoft had virtually no presence in these circles – but after IBM and others like them testified against them in antitrust hearings, after having been locked out of opportunities on the basis of international "standards" created based on influence by IBM, they discovered how important involvement in the political & world standards process was.
So I find it comical that the 600 lb gorilla of lobbying & politicking should cry foul about "undue influence".
To quote Jason Matusow:
- "If IBM is such an advocate for open standards (meaning process and technology), why then be so concerned when it turns out that the openness invites participation of those who disagree with them?"
In a perfect description of how IBM stacks the deck better than anyone when it comes to standards processes, check out Jason’s blog about the degree to which they will go to outmaneuver their competition in standards committees: