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Microsoft hands over Office XML specs to Ecma

Microsoft handed over a 2,000-page draft specification to Ecma International which, if all goes to plan, will form the basis of standardized Office document formats.

The transfer took place on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium at the initial meeting of the Office Open XML Ecma technical committee, called Ecma TC145. The committee is tasked with taking the XML-based document formats used in the forthcoming Office 12 product and creating an internationally recognized standard.

Submitters were Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, NextPage, Statoil, and Toshiba.

At the meeting, Jean Paoli, senior director of XML Architecture for Microsoft and co-creator of the XML standard, and Isabelle Valet-Harper, Microsoft's senior program manager for standards strategy, were appointed co-chairs of the committee. Adam Farquhar, head of e-architecture for the British Library, was appointed vice chair.

The draft specification is available for download. The committee intends to complete its work in about a year and submit Office Open XML to ISO for standardization. Office 12 is due by the end of next year.