Also, the SSI added that there would not be any further voting sessions prior to September 2. Therefore, the invalidation means that Microsoft will lack one very important in favor of its standard before the International Standards Organization (ISO).

If approved by the ISO, the OOXML standard would further go against the Open Document Format, which is supported by IBM, Sun Microsystems and the open source community. The stakes of the game are pretty high, as you may well see.

The invalidation is definitely bad news for Microsoft, but, then again, the Redmond giant looks like has been actively looking for trouble. First of all, it was rather curious to see that over 20 newly registered Microsoft partner companies decided at the last legal minute to pay $1,300 membership fee and therefore be allowed to cast their vote.

Add to that the fact that the OOXML documentation has around 6,000 pages. It takes a lot of time to study it and many doubted that the new members even bothered to gave the documentation a serious look.

The plot gained in thickness when word got out that Microsoft promised “marketing support” to two of its partners in Sweden if they were to join the SSI and vote for the OOXML standard.

Microsoft’s response to such accusations came from director of corporate standards Jason Matusow on a blog post:

“Here is what I know about this situation so far:

– 2 partners were sent an email making a request to participate in the Swedish process, telling them that they would be responsible for paying the membership fee if they did, but also making a related reference to marketing activities and extra support.
– Within hours both partners were contacted by the same MS employee who initiated the mail to notify them that the information in the email was incorrect and that they should disregard it.”

In the end of its message Matusow adds several old PR tricks, such as “offers to pay standards participation fees are totally inconsistent with our internal policy”. Also, he points out that both Microsoft and IBM summoned their local partners to give a helping hand in the voting process.

He may be right but, then again, it’s not IBM that has been caught red-handed. Furthermore, Microsoft is everything but the company to be know to play by the rules.