ISO benches Microsoft OOXML

Due to objections from four countries, the International Organization for Standardization has temporarily put a hold on publishing Microsoft Office Open XML as an ISO standard.

Four countries ' Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela ' have submitted appeals against approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500, the designation for Microsoft OOXML.

According to the rules set by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission, boards of both groups will review the objections and, if they are found to be warranted, attempt to reconcile the differences.

While under appeal, an ISO/IEC document cannot be published as a standard. The process will take several months, according to ISO.

In April, the standards body approved OOXML as a standard, though some controversy surrounded the ratification.

OOXML is used in Microsoft Office 2007 for sharing Word, Excel and PowerPoint file information. The rival standard, Open Document Format, is used in Sun Microsystems' OpenOffice.org and IBM's Lotus Symphony open productivity suites, among others.

Microsoft also announced in May that it would support ODF in the next service pack for Microsoft Office, though the company would not support the ISO/IEC version of OOXML until the next version of the suite, code named Office 14.

Dave Nagel and Kurt Mackie contributed to this story. Nagel is executive editor of 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. Mackie is Web editor at the Redmond Media Group, an 1105 Media company.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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