ISO Will Approve Microsoft's OOXML Format Wednesday

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"Because ISO needs first to inform its worldwide membership of national standards bodies of these results, a press release on this subject will be issued on Wednesday, 2 April 2008," Frost wrote in an email.

Unconfirmed online news reports predicted Microsoft garnered the necessary two-thirds vote majority from the 87 countries participating in the voting, which closed Saturday night among some last minute vote reversals.

While the United States affirmed its support for the confirmation, other countries shifted positions. The Czech Republic changed its vote to one of support while Cuba changed course and decided to oppose Microsoft's efforts, The International Herald Tribune reported.

In a blog post on Friday, Brian Jones, Microsoft's OOXML technical architect, announced that Norway, South Korea, and Denmark had switched their votes from Disapprove to Approve. Standards New Zealand Chief Executive Debbie Chin affirmed in a statement on Sunday the nation opposes adoption of the OOXML specification as an international standard.

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Microsoft developed OOXML for its Office 2007 suite and is positioning it as an open standard. In December 2006, OOXML was certified as an Ecma standard, and Microsoft has been pushing hard to get OOXML certified with the ISO.

Heavy lobbying from Microsoft, IBM and Sun Microsystems has also stirred up emotion, while allegations of voting irregularities caused further strain. "This is a purely commercial battle masquerading as a principled debate over open-document standards," John Zuck, Association for Competitive Technology president, told the Tribune. "If Microsoft had opened up sooner, they might not be having the problems they are having now."

Jason Matusow, Microsoft's director of corporate standards, writing in a blog post on Friday acknowledged that the issue at the heart of the matter of standards is interoperability, but insisted having more than one document format is beneficial.

"I have repeatedly made the argument that it is bad logic that leads you to the conclusion that there should be only one document format," he wrote. "If you value innovation in document creation, and you want to see applications continue to advance rapidly, and you want to see broad-based problem sets be addressed creatively -- then more innovation is good."

This article has been updated with new information