ISO, IEC leaders recommend rejection of OOXML appeals

The leaders of the ISO and the IEC have recommended the rejection of appeals from four countries that protested OOXML approval.

The leaders of the ISO and the IEC have recommended the rejection of appeals from four countries that protested a vote approving OOXML, an XML-based document format submitted by Microsoft as an international standard.

This means that DIS 29500, or Office Open XML (OOXML), likely will remain an uncontested international standard. The national bodies of Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela wanted the International Organization of Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission to re-examine the vote for various reasons, including violations associated with a ballot resolution meeting in February that eventually led to the final vote.

In a document filed to the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB), ISO Secretary-General and CEO Alan Bryden and IEC General Secretary and CEO Aharon Amit recommended that the appeals go no further because the process conformed with ISO/IEC directives.

The board has until Aug. 4 to decide whether to take on the appeals.

The ISO did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. However, some standards advocates and supporters of ODF (Open Document Format), a rival XML-based document format that the ISO approved before OOXML, are not pleased with the leaders' recommendation.

In an entry on his Standards Blog, Andrew Updegrove, an intellectual-property attorney with Gesmer Updegrove in Boston, expressed disappointment about the decision and the limited room for appeal of ISO votes that exists because of the rules that govern them.

Since the standards process for OOXML "was so flawed from the outset," merely "following the rules is inadequate to the events that have been witnessed, resulting in (among other outcomes) a loss of credibility for ISO/IEC, the publishing of a poor quality standard, and the endorsement of some very bad decisions along the way by those within ISO/IEC that were entrusted with those decisions," Updegrove wrote.

He added that even winning an appeal at this point would be "cold comfort after the time has been wasted by countless people around the world, the marketplace has been confused and the reputation has been tarnished."

Pamela Jones, author of the blog Groklaw, called the recommendation and the entire OOXML standards process "a farce" in a blog entry, but hinted that there's still a chance for the appeals against the vote to be processed.

"Stay tuned," she wrote. "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Microsoft submitted OOXML to Ecma International, another standards body, in an effort to fast-track it through the ISO while ODF already was going through the ISO standards process.

The OOXML fast-track process and subsequent approval by the ISO on April 1 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 vote.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?