This widespread participation and support is consistent with the rapid adoption of the Ecma Office Open XML file formats across multiple platforms and products from a wide range of IT vendors (including Apple, Novell, Corel, Sun, Microsoft, Java developers and Linux distributors), creating real value for IT users around the globe.
This preliminary vote is a milestone for the widespread adoption of the Open XML formats around the world for the benefit of millions of customers. Given how encouraging today’s results were, we believe that the final tally in early 2008 will result in the ratification of Open XML as an ISO standard.
Approval requires at least 2/3 (i.e. 66.66 %) of the votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 to be positive; and no more than 1/4 (i.e. 25 %) of the total number of national body votes cast negative. Neither of these criteria were achieved, with 53 % of votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 being positive and 26 % of national votes cast being negative.
The ISO has given preliminary backing to Office Open XML. A large majority of the international standards body voted to support ratification of Microsoft’s file format. Although the "yes" vote was short of the required majority, many of the members who voted no, including the UK, indicated they would approve OOXML as a standard once some technical issues have been addressed. Microsoft was naturally delighted with the result and welcomed the "invaluable technical comments designed to improve the specification"….The NoOOXML campaign, which had predicted a "no" vote, has yet to respond.
Although I have described the next steps in the past, it is interesting to see them described from an authoritative source, in this case, the ISO press release:
Comments that accompanied the votes will be discussed at a ballot resolution meeting (BRM) to be organized by the relevant subcommittee of ISO/IEC JTC 1 (SC 34, Document description and processing languages) in February 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The objective of the meeting will be to review and seek consensus on possible modifications to the document in light of the comments received along with the votes. If the proposed modifications are such that national bodies then wish to withdraw their negative votes, and the above acceptance criteria are then met, the standard may proceed to publication.
Otherwise, the proposal will have failed and this fast-track procedure will be terminated. This would not preclude subsequent re-submission under the normal ISO/IEC standards development rules.
Finally, recall that I have consistently predicted that the vast majority of the O members that upgraded to P membership would vote in favor of approval, presumably inspired to do so at the urging of Microsoft. That expectation has been confirmed, although the motivation must continue to be inferred from the results, which are as follows: of the 11 upgrades, 9 voted to approve, or approve with comments, and only one voted against approval (Ecuador; Trinidad and Tobago abstained).
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