Microsoft Wins in Preliminary ISO Ballot for Office Open XML

The International Organization for Standardization finally issued a statement this evening, Geneva time, saying a preliminary vote to publish Microsoft's Office Open XML as an international standard failed to meet the requisite two-thirds majority of support to attain fast-track status. The standard itself has not failed, contrary to many reports this morning. But for OOXML […]

The International Organization for Standardization finally issued a statement this evening, Geneva time, saying a preliminary vote to publish Microsoft's Office Open XML as an international standard failed to meet the requisite two-thirds majority of support to attain fast-track status. The standard itself has not failed, contrary to many reports this morning.

But for OOXML to emerge beyond the draft status, Microsoft now has until February - not March, as was earlier reported here and elsewhere - to address the comments of members who voted both in the affirmative ("yes, with comments") and the negative ("no, with comments"). At that time, if members believe Microsoft has addressed those comments adequately, they may change their vote to outright approval.

As the ISO account this afternoon stated, "The objective of the meeting will be to review and seek consensus on possible modifications to the document in light of the comments received along with the votes. If the proposed modifications are such that national bodies then wish to withdraw their negative votes, and the above acceptance criteria are then met, the standard may proceed to publication."

Sadly, even the ISO's account of the vote requires us to take out our calculators - literally no one involved in this process thus far has presented a simple rundown of the tally. However, the ISO's account this afternoon does clear up a very important point about the balloting process which has been misconstrued elsewhere (and about which BetaNews hasn't said much to date until we felt we could clear it up): The phrase "participating" or "P-class voters" refers to member countries who also serve on the ISO/IEC joint committee JTC 1. There are 41 member countries who are part of JTC 1, among 104 total members. The countries who recently applied to have their voting status "upgraded to P-class" are those who urged the ISO to make their vote actually count, because despite the 104 number, it's the 41 who actually count.

Among those 41 P-class members, 22 votes were positive, or "yea," in favor of fast-track status, while 11 votes were negative or "nay." The remainder, we can assume, were for "yes, with comments," which would bring the total number of positive voters up to 74%, in line with Microsoft's victory declaration earlier this morning.

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ISO, XML, OOXML, Office Open XML, Open-Source, Open source, Microsoft, File Format, Document, Tech News