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Unofficial document: Open XML passes ISO vote

A document circulating Tuesday among standards advocates shows that Office Open XML has the votes necessary to become an ISO standard. Official word is due Wednesday.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed that Office Open XML has been ratified as an ISO standard. See updated information below.

A document that appears to be the voting record over a contentious ISO vote shows Office Open XML (OOXML) having enough support to pass as a standard.

The PDF document appeared on at least two Web sites Tuesday morning.

The results in the document show that Open XML received 75 percent approval from the "P-members" of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee and 10 negative votes, or 14 percent.

To become certified, Open XML needed at least two-thirds of the votes to be "yes" and not more than one-quarter to be "no."

ISO spokesperson Roger Frost on Tuesday said he could not confirm the results.

"We will be issuing our press release on Wednesday," Frost said.

The document correlates with an unofficial tally done by Open Malaysia and standards expert Andrew Updegrove on Sunday, a day after the voting on Open XML closed.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the appearance of the unofficial tally, saying that it will wait until an official statement from the ISO.

An international document standards advocacy group called the OpenDoc Society posted what appear to be the official voting record on a mailing list.

In a letter to OpenDoc Society members, board member Michiel Leenaars said the impact of OOXML standardization will have a minimal impact on the adoption of OpenDocument Format (ODF), another document standard favored by most open-source advocates.

OOXML which was submitted by Microsoft to ECMA, and by ECMA to ISO, has literally crawled through the needles eye. After a year of discussion and repairs it still receives the very minimum of support. The BRM (Ballot Resolution Meeting held in February) convinced some yet unconvinced others, and counter votes from large countries like China, India, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Iran speak volumes. This must be one of the worst results ever for a standard to pass within ISO/JTC1 in years.

Norway on Monday lodged a formal protest over its Yes vote with an eye to reversing it. Standards Norway responded to the complaint to the ISO, saying that it voted for approval to influence future development.

It does not appear as if a change to Norway's vote would affect the overall result.

Update 8:15 a.m. Pacific: ZDNet has posted the document here, which is a Zip file of PDF.

Update 8:44 a.m. Pacific: Microsoft on Tuesday issued a press release confirming the information found in document posted by the OpenDoc Society. Microsoft said that after the end of voting, 86 percent of the 87 countries participating voted to approve Open XML as a standard.

"The input from technical experts, customers and governments around the world has greatly improved the Open XML specification and will make it even more useful to developers and customers. Once it is formally approved, we are committed to supporting this specification in our products, and we will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation," said Tom Robertson, Microsoft's general manager of standards and interoperability, in a statement.