ISO, IEC reject appeals, approve OOXML spec

The ISO and IEC have rejected appeals from four countries and given final approval to publish the OOXML spec.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have given the green light to publish the Microsoft-backed Office Open XML (OOXML) specification after organization leaders rejected appeals from four countries to protest the vote that approved OOXML as a standard.

The ISO and IEC technical boards approved the publication of ISO/IEC DIS 29500, the official name for the OOXML specification, the ISO said Friday. The spec is expected to be published within the next few weeks after the standards bodies complete the final processing of the document, provided there are no further appeals against the decision.

According to an ISO press statement, appeals by the national bodies of Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela did not garner support from two-thirds of the members of the ISO Technical Management Board and IEC Standardization Management Board, which is required by ISO/IEC rules to keep the appeals process alive.

However, those countries could still bring their appeals to the executive councils of the ISO and IEC for review and processing, which could stall the publication of the OOXML spec.

Last month the leaders of the ISO and the IEC recommended the rejection of the four countries' appeals. Reasons for filing the appeals included alleged violations associated with a ballot resolution meeting in February that eventually led to the final vote on April 1 to approve OOXML as an international standard.

Microsoft submitted OOXML to Ecma International, another standards body, in November 2005 in an effort to fast-track it through the ISO while another XML-based document format, Open Document Format (ODF), was midway through the ISO standards process. The ISO approved ODF as an international standard more than two years ago.

The OOXML fast-track process and subsequent approval vote was riddled with complaints that Microsoft acted unscrupulously, the standards process was not implemented properly and the specification approved was too unwieldy to implement. As a result, the national bodies of Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela protested the April vote.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service

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