Groklaw: The France Shift From No to Abstain — HP helped Microsoft France do it

Here's the scoop from Les Echos.fr on France's sudden change from its No vote to Abstain. Microsoft France's President Eric Boustouller sent AFNOR a letter [PDF] in French, of course. He tells a tale about OOXML and ODF progressing side by side and how if OOXML is approved, a group will be working hard to make the two more interoperable. Attached was a an HP statement of support for OOXML. HP sings the same song. And AFNOR?

"A la lumière des contributions et des commentaires, il nous est apparu qu'une "Désapprobation" n'était plus justifiée. Pour autant, il demeure encore des incertitudes sur les textes et les engagements, ce qui nous a conduit à nous prononcer par une "Abstention"", a expliqué dans un message électronique samedi Tony Hittema, directeur technique de l'Afnor.

That's saying that in light of the new information, it seemed to them that disapprove was not justified. But neither was a Yes vote, because there remain issues with OOXML. So that's why they did it.