OOXML standard vote down to the wire

Denmark changed its vote to "yes" taking Microsoft's document format one step closer to becoming an ISO standard. Plus, the U.K. moves closer to changing its vote.

Denmark has decided to back Microsoft's Office Open XML document format, reversing its previous disapproval and bringing the format closer to fast-track approval by the International Organization for Standardization. A vote is expected to take place in the next few days.

According to a Friday statement on the Web site of Danish Standards (the Danish equivalent of the British Standards Institution, or BSI), the country's previous vote of "disapproval with comments" on the original draft of the OOXML standard has now been changed to a vote of "approval."

The statement goes on to say that Danish Standards is changing its vote because "the 168 Danish comments have been adopted as changes to ISO/IEC DIS 29500 OOXML."

Denmark's change of vote enables OOXML to pass one of two criteria to becoming a standard--that fewer than 25 percent of the large group of bodies "observing" the process disapproves.

However, OOXML is still three short of the positive votes required amongst the 32 standards bodies "participating" in the process. Some of these are wavering, however.

UK on the fence
A technical group formed to make a recommendation to Britain's BSI's policy panel has voted five-to-one in favor of OOXML being accepted as an international standard, a source close to the process has told ZDNet.co.uk.

There was intense lobbying by interested parties before a meeting on Tuesday, in which IBM was apparently the one remaining dissident. IBM uses the competing OpenDocument Format (ODF), which is already an international standard.

The committee--whose members are not made public--voted against OOXML in September, criticizing it, among other things, for failing to take account of existing international standards, including ODF.

The BSI policy panel is not obliged to follow the technical group's recommendation and can simply note it, leaving its vote unchanged.