The official results won’t be released until tomorrow, but Microsoft today claimed victory in their prolonged effort to get their Office Open XML document format declared an ISO standard:
After more than 14 months of intensive review, a Joint Technical Committee of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has concluded its formal process to evaluate Ecma International’s submission of the Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500: Office Open XML (Open XML).
While the final vote has not yet been announced formally, publicly available information appears to indicate the proposed Open XML standard received extremely broad support. According to documents available on the Internet, 86 percent of all voting national body members support ISO/IEC standardization, well above the 75 percent requirement for formal acceptance under ISO and IEC rules. In addition, 75 percent of the voting Participating national body members (known as P-members) support standardization, also well above the 66.7 percent requirement for this group. Open XML now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO- and IEC-recognized open document format standards.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings, but a variety of leaks from the national standards bodies who got the results today indicate that the long nasty battle is over. Except for Neelie Kroes and the EU Competition Cops of course.
Microsoft is predictably ecstatic that they won’t get beat out of government and other contracts where office software is required to save documents in formats defined by “open standards,” but the continued bad vibes associated with the way this 6,000 page standards monstrosity was jammed through the “fast track” process will continue to rankle. Microsoft promises to implement the standard now known as IS 29500 (which differs and will differ further from the Open XML implemented in Office 2007) in the next version of Microsoft Office. It will be interesting to see if anyone else attempts it.
Update (April 2, 2008): The official announcement.