Open XML to be reviewed next week

Open XML to be reviewed next week

Modifications will be under scrutiny at Geneva meeting

Representatives from 37 countries will meet in Geneva next week to review modifications to Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) document format standard and consider whether to approve it as an ISO standard, or withdraw it from the fast-track approval process.

During the previous round of voting, which ended last September, the format failed to meet the acceptance criteria for fast-track approval as an ISO standard. Only 53 per cent of national standards bodies voted in favour of the standard, falling short of the two-thirds majority required; while 26 per cent of votes were negative – one per cent above the acceptable number.

In the interim period, many of the comments and technical objections raised about the draft standard have been addressed, according to Ecma.

Once the ballot resolution meeting has concluded on 29 February, standards bodies will have 30 days to reconsider their vote. If enough of the previous negative votes or abstentions are changed to positive or withdrawn by 29 March, OOXML can then proceed to publication as an ISO standard. Otherwise the fast-track procedure will be terminated and the format will need to be resubmitted for approval under the normal ISO rules.