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Microsoft's Open XML Moves Forward as ISO Standard

Microsoft's Open XML Moves Forward as ISO Standard

by , 8:45 AM EDT, August 18th, 2008

Microsoft's Open XML format overcame its final stumbling block and is moving forward as an official ISO standard. The file format had been held back earlier this year by claims that the voting process was rushed and that Microsoft's specification information was incomplete.

Open XML got the green light to move forward after appeals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela failed to gain enough support from the other national standards bodies. Microsoft's file format will now also be known as ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology - Office Open XML formats.

The controversy surrounding Open XML as an ISO standard isn't new. Complaints over the file format have been brewing ever since Microsoft first submitted it standard proposal, and concerns escalated after it was slated for a fast track approval in March 2007.

At the time, countries opposed to approving Open XML as a standard raised concerns over issues related to how the file format works, patent violations, and the overlap with Open Document Format (ODF) -- an alternate Office-compatible file format that had already been approved as an ISO standard.

Open XML's approval is a big win for Microsoft because now the company can more easily push its Office software suite on government agencies that require open file formats.

The ISO plans to publish the DIS 29500 standard within the next few weeks.

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