Not the end of the ISO road for Microsoft’s OOXML

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Not the end of the ISO road for Microsoft’s OOXML

Antony Savvas

Microsoft's defeat in failing to win enough international support for its draft Office Open XML (OOXML) file format as an ISO standard may not be the end of the road for the technology.

Analyst Ovum says Microsoft may well quickly re-submit the standard to the ISO after making some modifications to the draft, which it is allowed to do under ISO rules.

The ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) announced earlier this week that, following a five-month ballot among countries, the draft Office Open XML (OOXML) file format had not achieved the required number of votes for approval by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

OOXML required at least 66.66% of the votes to be positive and no more than 25% of the votes to be negative. It achieved neither of these criteria, with 53% positive votes and 26% negative votes. A number of countries also abstained.

Laurent Lachal, an analyst at Ovum, said, "The ballot is a setback but not the end of the line for OOXML as an ISO standard.

"As part of its efforts to try and win over more national bodies to its side, Microsoft is likely to make more concessions that will lead to a better specification, good enough for it to eventually scrape through as an ISO standard," said Lachal.

Microsoft is keen to get OOXML approved to help convince users, particularly public bodies and governments, that its software does not totally lock in customer data to proprietary platforms.

OOXML is the first major Microsoft response to open source document formats such as the OpenDocument Format (ODF).


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