As significantly, Rob reports that a very dramatic increase in the membership of V1 was observed in the months leading up to the vote – most of whom were coincidentally were representatives of Microsoft business partners, and the great majority of whom voted as a block in favor of advancing the specification in a manner that would permit, and against any vote that would prevent, final approval as an ISO/IEC standard. Rob describes the events to date as follows:
On April 2nd the INCITS Executive Board asked V1 “to coordinate and develop the U.S. recommended position” on OOXML and to return this recommendation by July 17th. After several meetings, including a two-day face-to-face meeting in Washington, DC in late June, and the recording of over 300 member-submitted comments, V1 voted last Friday….
An important factor in the V1 vote was the large number of members who joined very late in the process. At the start of the year, V1 had only 7 voting members. But by Friday’s meeting V1 had 26 voting members. There was a clear pattern in the voting where the long-time V1 members voted for the “Disapproval, with comments” position as well as “Abstention, with comments” while the newer members voted overwhelmingly “Yes, with comments” and against “Abstention with comments.” This is not surprising since the new members were largely Microsoft business partners.
The following chart makes this trend clear. As you can see, at the start of the year, V1’s membership consisted of seven organizations, six of whom on Friday voted “Disapproval, with comments”, and one (Microsoft) who voted “Approval, with comments”. The membership spurt came at the very end, in the last month, when 16 new members joined V1. Of these 16 new members, 14 of them voted, “Approval, with comments” on Friday.
Note that this is not the final step in developing the US position on OOXML. The next step will be for the INCITS Executive Board to review the comments V1 has generated, and then to determine the US position via a 30-day letter ballot. That, followed by a possible 10-day reconsideration ballot, will take us to the September 2nd deadline for this JTC1 ballot. It is typical practice for INCITS to follow the recommendations of its technical committees. But since the committee of technical experts in V1 was not able to develop a consensus recommendation, it is not clear how the INCITS Executive Board will now make their decision.