ISO certifies MS Office Open XML, just barely, with 75% approval

No, it's not an April Fool: Despite controversy over whether certain countries' voting members truly represented the wishes of their respective standards delegations, it would appear ODF now has company in the world's library of standards..

A document leaked by the OpenDoc Society to members of its internal mailing list this morning shows what purports to be the final ballot of voting members of Standards Committee 34 of the International Organization for Standardization.


In light of what day it is, BetaNews relied upon several sources for verification of the document; and a separate source directly connected to the vote has reported the same results based on other information. Then just minutes ago, Microsoft confirmed the news to BetaNews.

The final tally of votes for adoption of Microsoft's OOXML file format suite as international standard DIS 29500 shows 24 votes aye, 8 votes nay, and 9 abstentions. Under the ISO formula, two thirds of the "P-class" (participating members) must vote in the affirmative; and among all votes cast, fewer than one-fourth must be negative. The measure has apparently passed on both counts.

Microsoft's comment includes the following: "The ratification of Open XML is proof that the consensus-building process worked. With input from an unprecedented number of technical experts from around the world, the Open XML specification has been greatly improved for the benefit of ISVs, customers and governments. Microsoft is committed to supporting this newly approved specification in its products, and will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation."

Evidently Microsoft will discontinue referring to the standard as "Office Open XML" or "OOXML."

11:05 CST April 1, 2008 - Voting in the affirmative were the following countries: Azerbaijan, Cote-d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malta, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, the US, and Uruguay. The UK was among ten countries to change their votes from nay or abstaining to yea.

Another was Norway, whose own mirror technical committee, Groklaw learned yesterday, filed a formal protest with the ISO asking that its country's vote be annulled. It's calling for an investigation into whether the voting representative was acting in the interests of his committee.

But if Norway's vote becomes annulled, it would change nothing: OOXML would still pass with 74% of the P-class vote rather than 75%.

Voting in the negative were: Canada, China, Ecuador, India, Iran, New Zealand, South Africa, and Venezuela -- the latter being the sole voter to change its vote from aye to nay, reportedly late last week according to one running tally.

Abstaining were: Australia, Belgium, France, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey. France's official change from nay to abstain apparently came as late as today.

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