The ballot, held by the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), is a setback for Microsoft to see its Open XML approved as an open standard for office documents.
The vote follows previous fears that an open standard would be controlled by a single commercial entity.
Apple, The Department of Homeland Security, EMC, The Electronic Industries Alliance, HP, Intel, Microsoft and Sony Electronics voted in favor of OOXML. But the software giant needed a majority of nine votes and lost by one. There were seven opposing companies including IBM, Oracle and the US Department of Defence.
"The use of proprietary file formats within the open standard appear to cause potential intellectual property ownership concerns," said the US Department of Defence.
The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) abstained from the vote "due to the divergent viewpoints of key IEEE members and stakeholders."
Microsoft teaming with Novell on the standard has also raised question about its openess. Novell announced it will provide a plug-in for its edition of the open source OpenOffice.org productivity suite to support the Open XML format, in a move to boost interoperability with Microsoft's Office 2007.