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Office XML Format Becomes Industry Standard

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After an extensive 14 month review, Microsoft has got what it wants...

The Joint Technical Committee of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) this week concluded their formal process to evaluate Ecma International's submission of the Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500: Microsoft's Office Open XML (Open XML) and gave it the thumbs up (that's a lot of brackets).

Technically, the final vote has yet to be officially announced but with 86 per cent of the voting bodies so far backing it and a 75 per cent requirement level required to pass this seems a formality. Ultimately it means Open XML joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO and IEC-recognized open document format standards.

"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, Microsoft GM 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. 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."

The format is now widely expected to spread across Linux, Windows, Mac and Palm OSes and represents another major win for the Redmond based firm after HD Photo was approved as Jpeg's official successor in November. The announcement should mean simplification for users working across multiple systems, but let's see someone other than Microsoft win something soon otherwise we might as well all be running Windows... *shudder*

Links:
Press Release
Open XML Community

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