Geneva (Switzerland) – The ISO standardization of Microsoft OOXML file format already looked like a done deal to many. But Microsoft has lost a key vote which would have allowed the fast-track approval to proceed and the company is back to the drawing board.
The lost vote isn’t quite a disaster yet for Microsoft, as there are more opportunities to get Open Office XML standardized. However, the result serves as an indication on the current chances of the format to be cleared by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
According to a press release issued today, OOXML received 53 % of votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 being positive and 26% votes cast being negative. An approval for the publication of the OOXML draft standard, officially referred to as ISO/IEC DIS 29500, would have required Microsoft to receive at least 66.66% of positive votes and not more than 25% of negative votes.
Comments that accompanied the votes will be discussed at a ballot resolution meeting next February.
The goal of this meeting is to determine whether a consensus on possible modifications to the proposed document can be achieved. Negative votes can be withdrawn and positive votes can be added following this meeting, which would enable the standard to proceed to publication. If no sufficient consensus can be achieved, the proposal will have failed and the fast-track procedure will be terminated.
If Microsoft does not meet the requirements of both at least 66.66% of positive votes and a maximum of 25% of negative votes, the company will have to re-submit OOXML under the normal ISO/IEC standards development rules.