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India still thumbs-down on Open XML

With a week to go before an important vote count, India votes against Open XML as a standard and lobbying intensifies.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has decided to vote against recommending Office Open XML as an ISO standard.

According to local reports, India's national standards-making body will not change its position in regards to Open XML, the document formats Microsoft and other companies have sought to standardize at the ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

By next Saturday, March 29, national standards organizations need to submit their judgment on whether Open XML should be an ISO standard through its accelerated process.

The United States has already indicated that he will recommend Open XML to be a standard.

India's vote against Open XML standardization is consistent with its decision from last year. And the country has heavily promoted standards software--Indian states, including Delhi, Kerala, and others, have already adopted the standard OpenDocument (ODF), according to the Business Standard.

India and other countries that voted against Open XML last September attended a Ballot Resolution Meeting last month in Geneva to address technical issues that were raised. Now, countries have until March 29 to change their votes to "yes."

Microsoft representatives told the Economic Times of India that the company is disappointed with the decision and that it goes against the wishes of many companies in the IT industry.

"While we are disappointed with the decision of the BIS LITD 15 committee, we are encouraged by the support of IT industry players like Nasscom, TCS, Wipro, and Infosys, who voted in favor of Open XML becoming an ISO standard," Microsoft India said in a statement.

Lobbying on both sides of the debate is picking up, with only one week to go before votes are recast.

Microsoft's senior vice president of Office, Chris Capossela published an open letter on Sunday outlining the software giant's rationale for standardizing Open XML. He cited a number of customers, including the U.S. Library of Congress and The British Library, which have contributed to the specification.

IBM blogger Ed Brill responded to Capossela's letter reiterating IBM's opposition to Open XML because it is not truly open, too complex, and technically flawed.