OOXML said to win ISO standardization approval with 75 percent of the vote

OOXML said to win ISO standardization approval with 75 percent of the vote

Summary: While ISO isn't set to announce the official voting tally until tomorrow, the OpenDoc Society has posted to a mailing list what it claims are the final results indicating that Microsoft will be granted ISO approval for its Office Open XML (OOXML) document format.


While ISO isn't set to announce the official voting tally until tomorrow, the OpenDoc Society has posted to a mailing list what it claims are the final results indicating that Microsoft will be granted ISO approval for its Office Open XML (OOXML) document format.

According to the alleged results page, OOXML received a 75 percent "approve" total. It needed 66.66 percent to become an ISO standard. Here is the alleged ISO ballot information on OOXML (zipped PDF file).

ISO officials aren't commenting on the leaked ballot tally. Nor is Microsoft. ISO officials said on March 31 that they planned to notify privately the national bodies who participated in the standards vote before publicizing the final results on April 2.

Update: Microsoft is now confirming (in a rather long-winded way) that OOXML won the vote for ISO standards approval. From the company's April 1 press release:

"While the final vote has not yet been announced formally, publicly available information shows overwhelming support for Open XML. According to documents available on the Internet, 86% of all national body members support ISO/IEC standardization, well above the 75% requirement for formal acceptance under ISO and IEC rules. In addition, 75% of the Participating national body members (known as P-members) support standardization, also well above the required 66.67% requirement for this group.

"Open XML, IS29500, now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO- and IEC-recognized open document format standards.

"The ratification of Open XML is proof that the consensus-building process worked."

OOXML is currently an ECMA standard. Microsoft has been advocating for OOXML to receive ISO standard status, as that is seen as more of a "gold" standard by many governments when evaluating standards compliance of new software.

In a note sent to its mailing list recipients, OpenDoc Society Board Member Michiel Leenaars portrayed the alleged OOXML victory as having "minimal"impact on OOXML vs. Open Document Format (ODF) adoption. Leenaars wrote:

"OOXML which was submitted by Microsoft to ECMA, and by ECMA to ISO, has literally crawled through the needles eye. After a year of discussion and repairs it still receives the very minimum of support. The BRM convinced some yet unconvinced others, and counter votes from large countries like China, India, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Iran speak volumes. This must be one of the worst results ever for a standard to pass within ISO/JTC1 in years.

"Appartently (sic) the chair from the Norwegian comitte(e) has filed a protest against the national outcome. Although one vote would not make much difference, others may follow."

(Thanks to ITWire for the link to the mailing list post.)

Update on April 2: Here's the official ISO statement on OOXML obtaining standards approval.

Topic: Enterprise Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • And people didn't see it coming?

    Heck, the writing was on the wall months ago. Myself, I'm glad to see its over and people can move on to the next political (and yes it was political) argument.
    • Or, like you, roll over, have their tummy tickled

      and thank the monopolists for their daily bread.
      • Why the insults?

        Are you so cognitively limited you can't do anything else?
        • I didn't see it as an insult

          more a ... kinda poignant thing .....
          • Then you have very poor "vision".

            Hmmm, "like you". When in fact you have not the begining of a clue who or what I am about.
          • True, we can only judge you by your posts.

            Such reason, eloquence and grace...
          • Yup, No_Ax is slowly becoming a non-believer ...

            not so many months ago you could have found him readily in bed with Gates or Ballmer ....

            Now, ssslllooowwwwllllyyyy he's going to become one of those "know nothing Linux experts", because Penelope and Rupert told him to ...
    • Of course it was political

      This vote does nothing to stop us from using the using ODF if that is our choice. And it does nothing to diminish the ODF format.
      Michael Kelly
      • Exactly. It's only as powerful as you make it.

        The OpenOffice package works fine for me and my family. It's a great choice and even works great with OSS programs.

        I just wonder when the Microsoft hammer will come down and the wallets will be forced out of hiding.
      • Who/What isn't now days - MS, Apple, EU, Feds...sheesh .. nt

      • I agree, CHOICE is wonderful!

        Who can cry over users being able to make a choice that fits thier needs? (Other than open source trying to force ODF on everyone.)
        • I lament the loss of CHOICE!

          Microsoft Office has most of the market. Office 2007's major competitor is Office 2003. I don't see Open Office, et al, making much advancement now.
          UNLESS...OOXML truly becomes a standard, that every one is able to use. And remains stable. That is: Microsoft doesn't change it to get people to "upgrade" to the latest version.
          We need more viable competition in the market. Competition brings on real innovation, and adds real value.
          I believe Microsoft is like Intel in the nineties. Huge monolithic company with slowly evolving, overpriced products. Along came AMD, and that competition forced Intel to respond. Look what we have now. Affordable extremely powerful PC's.
          Oh How I wish that for the software arena!
          I am Gorby
        • i dont care what format it is

          if you can make my apps work the way i want them to, and suits the needs of a community. make it happen!

          case closed.
          • clueless?

            This is sort of clueless.

            Without active participation to use open standards, you end up serving the whims of your single vendor.

            OOXML is in a shambolic state, which means that it will be impossible to have high fidelity of your documents with different sortware. You send an OOXML document to your colleague and you pray they will see the same on their screen.
    • over? haha it's only just starting

      This is going to be funny to watch.
      • Truth be told....

        It's already been quite funny watching you Microsoft haters squirm and blurt things out and cry over this democratic style decision that is for the good of the vast majority of the worlds occupants, not just the 1% that backed the idea IBM and SuN cooked up to use OO.ORG, long before the first "committee meeting".
        Love the deflection of guilt. We go back and it was the ABM crowd clearly trying to sneak one in the back door. That is just wrong, and today the world decided so.
        • 20% of the desktop market is openoffice dude

          there are 100 million users. And there are way more people involved than just Sun and IBM.

          Exactly how did they sneak this through the back door?
          Funny I don't recall votes where most people voted against ODF, and somehow the vote was "yes".

          Also, if you recall Microsoft was present during this process.

          The next few weeks will be very funny indeed, and it'll be Microsoft and you squirming not me.
          I EXPECTED corruption where they were concerned. But I also expect this won't pass without a battle.
          • 20 percent? Try .2% (nt)

          • you'd like that to be the case, but that doesn't make it a fact

            the fact is that over 100 million people ARE using openoffice. about the same or more than Office 2007.
          • It could easily be more, as people are free to make

            multiple copies.