OOXML becomes ISO standard

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The new Microsoft file formats, Open Office XML (OOXML), have succeeded to be an international standard, with the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) scheduled to release an official announcement today.

Once that is final, the development of the file formats will be handed over to the members of the ISO, which has 100 countries being represented, including Australia. It’s official name is now known as Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500.

On a technical level, this means that any changes proposed during the process will need to be incorporated into the OOXML by Microsoft, Novell and other companies and are expected to conform to the changes in the near future.

There are still distrust, however, by Microsoft’s attempts to promote interoperability between its products and others – including open source. But the ISO ratification is a significant step to support the standards.

During the vote, it is believed that a number of national standard bodies voted “no” or abstained from voting even after the BRM (Ballot Resolution Meeting” in February, which was supposed to resolve the technical issues.

The tally shows that 75% approved the new standard while 14% voted against it. Australia chose to abstain from voting.

Before the vote, IBM executives lobbied against the vote; saying that OOXML was redundant with the OpenDocument Format (ODF), technically flawed and was not exactly open.

The OOXML is now the default file formats in the latest version of Microsoft Office, replacing the original file formats that started in Office 97.