It looks like Germany is the new Portugal, actually. You do remember how in Portugal IBM and Sun were not allowed in the room because it was allegedly "too small" despite having empty chairs? Well, in Germany, Google and Deutsche Telekom were allowed in the room but were not allowed to vote, heise says. Something about allegedly signing up too late and how they might not know enough about the issues therefore. This is turning into a not-so-funny joke.
And Schürmann, Frauenhofer, a lab partner of Microsoft voted "YES with Comments", the reason given for that it quite interesting
Schürmann voted to approve “with comments”, in order not to have to call up to the steering committee and avoid further delay.
In a press release Schürmann offered to participate in the ECMA TC45 forum and help Microsoft to solve the issues. His institution is a Non-For-Profit member of ECMA.
Google: on multiple standards
The Groklaw also reports about Google's position. To single one issue out, Microsoft supporters insisted that "multiple standards" are beneficial and they even found a well respected researcher who did a study that claimed that "multiple standards" make sense. The good old ISC "choice" message. This is what Google has to say:
Aren't multiple document standards good?
We have PDF and HTML, so why not ODF and OOXML? Multiple standards are good, but only if they are designed to address different problems. HTML is a very simple mark-up language designed for rendering within browsers, while PDF is a display-only format designed for high-fidelity print output. ODF and OOXML are both designed as a format for editable documents. As such they both address the same problem and almost completely overlap. The current state of file formats for editable documents makes life very difficult for consumers and vendors of office productivity software, and is a looming disaster for long-term document storage. Having two mutually incompatible formats for editable documents will allow the current noninteroperable state of affairs to continue.
Google answers: OOXML is a perfectly good ISO standard. Isn't this just complaining by other vendors?
In developing standards, as in other engineering processes, it is a bad idea to reinvent the wheel. The OOXML standard document is 6546 pages long. The ODF standard, which achieves the same goal, is only 867 pages. The reason for this is that ODF references other existing ISO standards for such things as date specifications, math formula markup and many other needs of an office document format standard. OOXML invents its own versions of these existing standards, which is unnecessary and complicates the final standard. If ISO were to give OOXML with its 6546 pages the same level of review that other standards have seen, it would take 18 years (6576 days for 6546 pages) to achieve comparable levels of review to the existing ODF standard (871 days for 867 pages) which achieves the same purpose and is thus a good comparison. Considering that OOXML has only received about 5.5% of the review that comparable standards have undergone, reports about inconsistencies, contradictions and missing information are hardly surprising.