ISO rejects Microsoft’s ‘Office Open XML’ format

“A panel of software experts yesterday unexpectedly rebuffed Microsoft’s bid to have its open document format, Office Open XML, recognized as an international standard. The decision complicates the company’s effort to extend its dominance to the emerging field of open documents,” Kevin J. O’Brien reports for The New York Times.

“After five months of electronic balloting, Microsoft failed to meet the two voting criteria to win a designation as an approved standard from the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, or the I.S.O., and the International Electrotechnical Commission, or I.E.C.,” O’Brien reports.

“The fight over the standard, while technically arcane, is commercially important because more governments are demanding interchangeable open document formats for their vast amounts of records, instead of proprietary formats tied to one company’s software. The only standardized format now available to government buyers is OpenDocument Format, developed by a consortium led by I.B.M., which the I.S.O. approved in May 2006,” O’Brien reports.

“Of the 87 countries that participated, 26 percent opposed Microsoft’s bid. Under the rules for approval, no more than 25 percent of the countries could oppose the bid. Microsoft also failed to win the vote of 66 percent of 41 countries on another panel of I.S.O. and I.E.C. members,” O’Brien reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mark” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s new iWork ’08 supports Microsoft’s “Office Open XML” format.


  1. The problem is that Microsoft’s Open Office XML format is still largely dependent upon proprietary technology such as Windows printer specs and Windows TrueType Fonts which have different kerning rules (enough that where the sentence wraps can change).

    MDN Magic Word: “our” as in “our software is better than Microsoft’s”.

  2. Meanwhile back in the underground Redmond lair…

    “BALMER!! Get your monkey boy *ss in here right now!!”

    “Yes, my master-bates…errr gates”

    “What did you do with the millions I gave you to pay off the opposition to our XML format?”

    “Well sir, there was this cute chimp traveling with the local circus and…”

    “Shut up Balmer…”

  3. so. where is the guy who spent an entire thread telling us all how pages and OO would be gone a month after this was certified?

    never count your chicken before they hatch, and NEVER count on MS to do ANYTHING right……

  4. On OpenOffice, it mentions: “…developed by a consortium led by I.B.M.”
    That being the case, why does it tell me “Copyright 2000-2006 Sun Microsystems Inc.” when I select “About” inside OpenOffice? Hmm.

    I’m pleased to hear that, anyway.

  5. Blatantly Off Topic Post:

    Today, I am happy to announce, is the 7th birthday of my Cube, as I sit here and type this post on it.

    Yes, 7 years ago I became a Mac user. I awoke from my Matrix-like sleep (I let Neo keep sleeping – he seemed tired), and I entered the Macintosh world. I had never owned a computer before then because they never seemed to work right. It was always a constant frustration trying to get anything done. It was late August 2000 that my friend Art explained the difference betwen a Mac and PC. I used his Mac (a first generation G3) for only 20 minutes and I was sold by the ease of use.

    And I haven’t looked back.


    MW = “shown” I was shown the light 7 years ago.

  6. Open Office was originally developed by a German company, subsequently purchased by Sun – which then released it for public development. That’s probably why it still carries a Sun copyright. IBM’s influence was on the Open Doc standard used by Open Office and others. MDN says iWork “supports” Open Office XML, but it’s my understanding it currently *reads*, but doesn’t write OOXML. Am I wrong?

    Finally, the recent vote was over “fast track” standardization, so Microsoft can still go through the normal standardization path, which will take much longer. That’s a defeat for MS, but they’re still claiming “broad support” after the vote. Typical spin.

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