After months of political maneuvering and manipulation, ISO has rejected OOXML for fast track approval as an international standard. Approval required a two-thirds majority, or 67% "yes" votes. OOXML received 53%, a few votes short.
Rejection of OOXML is a setback for Microsoft, which wanted ISO approval to help convince customers--especially governments--to accept its usage and speed adoption of Vista and Office 2007.
The loss is likely temporary, though it is difficult to say how temporary. In February, ISO will convene a special ballot resolution meeting to consider changes to OOXML addressing technical objections raised by countries. There are many. And most do not address to core issue -- the need for a truly open document standard (like ODF) without proprietary extensions (as currently fill OOXML).
The real battle continues in the marketplace and in government policy circles. However, Microsoft can do itself (and ISO) a big favor, and follow the advice of France...
Split OOXML into two standards -- one that can be merged into ODF as a real open standard; and one that catalogs all the proprietary extensions needed for backward compatibility with the legacy MS formats (a closed but useful standard).
In this case, splitting the baby will save it (and us).
Categories: ISO, OOXML, Microsoft