The International Standards Organization plans to officially announce Wednesday that the Microsoft Open Office XML (OOXML) specification has been accepted as an ISO standard.
According to a document provided to member countries, 61 out of 87 participating countries approved the DIS29500 standard, 10 disapproved and 16 abstained. The results are a marked contrast to a previous vote in September 2007, in which Microsoft's proposal failed to win approval.
The "yes" vote, conducted Saturday, has generated a huge controversy in international standards communities, with many participants claiming the vote was essentially commandeered by Microsoft supporters.
Microsoft Hails Approval
In a press release Tuesday, Microsoft did not acknowledge the controversy, but hailed the approval of the standard. "With 86 percent of voting national bodies supporting ratification, there is overwhelming support for Open XML. This outcome is a clear win for the customers, technology providers and governments that want to choose the format that best meets their needs and have a voice in the evolution of this widely adopted standard," said Tom Robertson, general manager of interoperability and standards.
"The input from technical experts, customers and governments around the world has greatly improved the Open XML specification and will make it even more useful to developers and customers," Robertson said. "Once it is formally approved, we are committed to supporting this specification in our products, and we will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation."
In Norway, the standards body reversed a no vote to support the standard in a process critics charged was highly irregular. Despite the fact that 80 percent of members favored a no vote, the body, Standard Norge, voted yes after dismissing many of its members during the vote. The final yes vote was made by only three Standard Norge staff members.
Norway Vote a 'Scandal'
That process enraged Hakon Wium Lie, Opera Software chief technical officer, who said the vote was a "scandal." Wium Lie told the German-language version of Computerworld, "I am shocked. I am speechless. Twenty-one members of the committee say no, while MS manages to win through its position anyway. It is incomprehensible."
The committee head, Steve Pepper, was one of those frozen out of the vote and filed a formal protest, saying Norway's vote "does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee, 80 percent of which was against changing Norway's vote from No with comments to Yes." Pepper said the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry has been asked to investigate the vote. (continued...)