A few days ago we were made aware of recent mass leaks of US embassy cables to the media but were reluctant to spread the story. You often get forwarded leaked documents in Brussels and it makes you feel bad for our administration. I wouldn't want to read diaries of my close friends. I don't like the vigilante narration of the Wikileaks service. We also didn't mention that the terrorist Brevik spread his "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" in docx format (Yes, we do remember the Oslo situation), and how - around 2003 - a certain company supported a journo-lobbying service that spread anti-muslim hate propaganda in Europe. Sometimes things are too embarassing, not worth to talk about. The cable about the Brazilian lobbying effort falls into the same category… Secrecy is useful as it shields the dignity of the office.
A few days ago we were all surprised by a document leaked at CableGate, exchanged between the US embassy in Brazil and the American Government in 2007. According to this cable, Microsoft made serious accusations against the Brazilian government, and…, they indirectly asked for an intervention of the American Government to halt the spread of ODF in Brazil, to win the Brazilian support for the approval of OpenXML in ISO, to halt the partnership between the Brazilian technical committee and other committees discussing the international standard at that time, to reduce the influence of Brazil in the international debate on OpenXML, and also to accuse the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Brazilian Presidency’s Civil House of being anti-Americans.
Jan Wildeboer of Redhat comments:
We all knew that MSFT would fight hard against ODF. But calling it an un-american standard? Geez.
I don't know if the Brazilian government was pro-American or not. What felt offensive to me was the attempt to depict technical criticism of the format as a way to "discredit" it. Actually that is quite a distortion of the facts. The format was formally not ready for adoption and technical defects were brushed away by stuffing committees. The diplomats also had their difficulties to understand the difference between adoption of a data exchange format and procuring a software solution. Other foreign offices, among them Brazil and Germany, had better recommendations than a hapless co-existence idea.
US citizens and corporations would figure out why the US embassy was turned into a solutions provider abroad. The amount of cooperation between sales representatives and diplomacy is surprising and does not suit the dignity of their office. Disgusting.
Please read Homembit's article for a Brazilian SSO inside perspective.