Final vote overwhelmingly in favour; input from 87 national bodies contributed to an improved specification
After more than 14 months of intensive review, a Joint Technical Committee of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (http://www.iso.org) has concluded its formal process to evaluate Ecma International’s submission of the Draft International Standard (DIS) 29500: Office Open XML (Open XML).
Early this month ISO/IEC announced that more than 87 countries participated in a process culminating with the ratification of Open XML as an ISO/IEC standard. The details of the vote are as follows: 86% of all countries supported ISO standardization, well above the 75% required of this group for formal acceptance, and 75% of the Participating countries (known as P members) supported standardisation, also well above the 66.67% required of this group for formal acceptance. Open XML now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO/IEC recognised open document format standards. This is a positive outcome for public and private sector customers and technology providers who want to choose the format that best meets their needs and want to have a voice in the ongoing evolution of this already widely adopted standard. Similarly, it is a significant validation for government policy makers committed to promoting technology-neutral, market-driven policies that enable choice, opportunity, competition, and local economic development. Microsoft looks forward to continuing to work cross-industry, including with competitors, to address customers’ real interoperability needs.
“With 86 percent of voting national bodies supporting ratification , there is overwhelming support for Open XML. This outcome is a clear win for the customers, technology providers and governments that want to choose the format that best meets their needs and have a voice in the evolution of this widely adopted standard,” said Tom Robertson, general manager of Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft Corp. “The input from technical experts, customers and governments around the world has greatly improved the Open XML specification and will make it even more useful to developers and customers. We are committed to supporting this specification in our products, and we will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation.”
Sri Lanka, represented by the Sri Lankan Standards Institution (SLSI), opted to vote “Abstain”.
Endorsing Open XML as a standard, the President of the Sri Lanka Association for Software Industry Mr. Udaya de Silva states “ SLASI has always promoted choice with multiple products & standards of high acceptance. We have supported Open XML, as ODF and Open XML are expected to meet different needs in the marketplace and will be suited to different case scenarios. We believe that a fundamental level of choice engenders more innovation. Users should have a choice and these different formats would evolve to meet their respective use case scenarios over time. Open XML will also enlarge the field of vendor-neutral, open standards choice for governments, businesses, consumers and the ICT industry. This inclusive approach widens alternatives consistent with the industry/public interest.”
The open standard has gained broad adoption across the software industry for use on a variety of platforms — including Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Palm OS. Hundreds of independent software vendors and platform providers around the world — such as Apple Inc., Corel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Microsoft and Novell Inc. — are developing solutions using Open XML that offer real value for IT users around the globe. Independent research has concluded that use of Open XML is likely to expand further over time.* Thousands of companies have expressed support for Open XML and its ratification by ISO (http://www.iso.org) and IEC at http://www.openxmlcommunity.org.
Those working withOpen XML can attest to the benefits of this open file format in the areas of file and data management, data recovery, interoperability with line-of-business systems, and the long-term preservation of documents. The formats are optimized for the level of precision and detail that facilitates carrying forward billions of existing files. Open XML file formats are uniquely capable of integrating other types of systems and data with Open XML documents, while maintaining a clean, simple separation of presentation Open XML markup) and data (custom schemes and instances thereof). This means that organisations can use Open XML formats to report information from other applications and systems without having to translate it first, which is a key innovation for developers seeking to incorporate real-time business information into their documents, or those who seek to “tag” documents with their own categorization system to improve their understanding of the documents’ contents.
More information aboutOpen XML, as well as available solutions using the open standard specification, is available at http://www.openxmlcommunity.org/inuse.aspx.