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Malaysia rejects Microsoft's OOXML ISO dreams

Microsoft has failed to garner the support of Malaysia in its last ditch attempt to have Office Open XML (OOXML) ISO-certified in Geneva this week.
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Written by Lee Min Keong on

Microsoft has failed to garner the support of Malaysia in its last ditch attempt to have Office Open XML (OOXML) ISO-certified in Geneva this week.

Malaysia's Department of Standards (Standards Malaysia) said the majority of technical issues it raised regarding Microsoft's efforts to get its Office Open XML (OOXML) ISO-certified, had not been addressed satisfactorily at last week's crucial ISO meeting in Geneva.

Standards Malaysia sent a delegation to the Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) held in late February, where the team joined other ISO members in deliberating the fate of Microsoft's document format.

"Malaysia had submitted 23 comments and more than 70 percent of them were not addressed satisfactorily by Ecma's proposed dispositions," Fadilah Baharin, director general at Standards Malaysia, said in a statement. "We intended to resolve these technical issues at the BRM, but we could only raise two concerns due to the time constraints."

"After three days, it was apparent that there would be no time to review all the items within the remaining two days on all substantial concerns against the Ecma [OOXML] standard," Fadilah said.

She added that the 32 national bodies, including Malaysia, were then requested to submit a vote on all items not discussed at the BRM and on Ecma's remaining dispositions to "Approve", "Disapprove" or "Abstain".

"Malaysia decided to vote 'Disapprove' [on] the issues not discussed," Fadilah confirmed. However, Malaysia approved certain resolutions that it found appropriate and that were discussed during the BRM, but this was "by far in the minority", she said.

Microsoft last September failed to gain ISO approval for OOXML. Malaysia then chose to abstain while other Asian countries including India, Iran, Japan and Korea, voted "no". Singapore gave its support for the OOXML.

Fadilah said Standards Malaysia would convene a SIRIM Technical Committee meeting soon to decide Malaysia's final vote on the quality of OOXML as an ISO/IEC standard. "Malaysia will review these changes [to the draft standard] before making a decision on its final vote by end-March 2008," she said.

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