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NZ rejects Microsoft OOXML, Sweden confused

New Zealand last week voted to reject Microsoft OOXML as an international standard while the Swedish Standards Institute invalidated its own vote after discovering irregularities.
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Written by Tom Espiner, Senior Reporter on

New Zealand last week voted to reject Microsoft OOXML as an international standard while the Swedish Standards Institute invalidated its own vote after discovering irregularities.

New Zealand has voted "no" to OOXML being fast-tracked for ISO certification at present.

Grant Thomas, chief operating officer, Standards New Zealand, said in a statement: "Stakeholders raised several philosophical concerns, and identified technical omissions, errors and inconsistencies within the draft Standard. We believe that voting 'no' with comments allows these issues to be addressed."

The Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) declared its vote invalid after it revealed on Thursday that a participant voted more than once. The move follows criticism of SIS's earlier decision to vote "yes" to Office Open XML (OOXML) by the Free Software Foundation Europe, which accused Microsoft of ballot rigging.

"The SIS has information that indicates that one of the participants in the workgroup participated in the ballot with more than a vote," said the SIS in a statement. "Such a procedure is not compatible with the SIS's rules, which state that each [member] only has one vote."

The decision means that the SIS will take the decision not to vote if it is unable to take a new ballot before 2 September, when the global balloting process ends, according to Lars Flink, SIS chief executive.

Microsoft has admitted encouraging partners to join the national bodies deciding whether to recommend OOXML for fast-track ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification.

If OOXML receives ISO certification, it could pave the way for OOXML to be accepted by governments as a document standard. The Free Software Foundation has argued that OOXML contains proprietary components.

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