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Microsoft Tried To Influence Wikipedia Entry

When Wikipedia didn't make changes to what Microsoft claims is erroneous information about a key software standard, the software company reached for its wallet. Microsoft offered to pay blogger Rick Jelliffe to post information on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, to "correct" what Microsoft claims is incorrect information about a key software standard.

"I was a little surprised to receive e-mail a couple of days ago from Microsoft saying they wanted to contract someone independent, but friendly, for a couple of days to provide more balance concerning ODF/OOXML," Jelliffe writes on his blog at OOXML is a Microsoft-sponsored variation of the Open Document Format electronic publishing standard.

Jelliffe, who is CTO at XML software developer Topologi, says he's likely to accept the offer; he didn't disclose financial details. A spokesman for Microsoft says Wikipedia forced the company's hand by refusing to correct the information Microsoft says is inaccurate.

Wikipedia officials aren't impressed with the pay-for-play campaign. "At a minimum, it could be viewed as unethical," says general counsel Brad Patrick. "Microsoft wanting to soften the edges on an entry raises concerns about the perceived independence of both Wikipedia and Microsoft."