ISO announces OOXML success

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ISO announces OOXML success

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has announced that Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format has received the necessary number of votes for approval as an ISO/IEC International Standard.

Subject to there being no formal appeals from ISO/IEC national bodies in the next two months, OOXML will proceed to publication as an international standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

For OOXML to be approved, at least two thirds of the 41 countries participating in the decision-making committee needed to have voted in favour of the format and no more than one quarter of votes cast by ISO national member bodies could be negative.

According to the ISO announcement made yesterday, the criteria have been met. Seventy-five percent of the participating countries casted positive votes and 14 percent of the total votes were cast negative.

Voting closed on Saturday 29 March, following a ballot resolution meeting to address the 3,500 comments received by a previous vote on OOXML. The document format was disapproved by the original vote, which ended in September 2007.

More than 1,000 individual issues were discussed at the week-long meeting in Geneva, including accessibility, date formats and conformance issues to do with the OOXML format.

The discussion and resolution of some of the issues raised resulted in sufficient national bodies changing their September votes in favour of Microsoft’s document format.

Open Source consultant Jeff Waugh, who was a member of the OOXML working group advising Standards Australia, told iTnews last week that the standardisation of OOXML is likely to further entrench Microsoft’s monopoly position and also may inflict a burden on Australian Government, business and software developers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and its partners are celebrating OOXML’s success, touting expectations that it will have a positive impact on the industry.

“This outcome is a clear win for the customers, technology providers and governments that want to choose the format that best meets their needs and have a voice in the evolution of this widely adopted standard,” said Greg Stone, Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Australia.

“The input from technical experts, customers and governments around the world has greatly improved the Open XML specification and will make it even more useful to developers and customers.”

“Once it is formally approved, we are committed to supporting this specification in our products, and we will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation,” he said.

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