Microsoft has failed in its attempt to have its Office Open XML document format fast-tracked as an international standard after falling short of receiving the required support from voters.
For a proposal to be approved as an ISO standard it must win the support of two-thirds of the voting national standards bodies that worked on the proposal, and also of three-quarters of all voting members. OOXML failed on both counts, after receiving 17 “yes” votes, 15 “no” votes, and 9 abstentions from the 41 members that worked on the proposal and a 74% positive vote of all the 87 national standards bodies voting – just shy of the 75 percent needed.
The Office Open XML standard has been the subject of much debate in the software industry. Critics include the free software and open source communities, which claim that the format is inherently closed in many respects and thus a poor candidate for a global standard.
There will be a another Ballot Resolution Meeting held in February or March of 2008 where Microsoft seems confident their format will finally gain approval after taking into account the technical comments submitted along with the votes and probably make some changes to the file format itself.