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Microsoft sails through document standard vote

Office Open XML, the default file format in Office 2007, was certified Thursday as a standard at Ecma International.

Standards body Ecma International passed a vote to make Microsoft Office document formats an international standard on Thursday.

At the general assembly of Ecma International in Zurich, Switzerland, Microsoft's Office Open XML--a set of specifications detailing the document formats in Microsoft's office--was certified as a standard.

In addition, the membership-based standards organization voted to propose Office Open XML to the larger International Organization for Standardization (known as ISO) for standards approval through its fast-track process, according to Ecma.

The vote to accept Microsoft's submission as a standard was expected. The ISO standardization process typically takes about nine months, according to experts.

IBM, which has been a vocal advocate of another standard called open document, or ODF, . ODF was passed earlier this month as an ISO standard.

The certification from ECMA--formerly known as the European Computer Manufacturers Association--marks about a year of work for a technical committee set up to standardize Office Open XML.

These document formats are the default for Office 2007, an upgrade to Microsoft's productivity suite that was released to businesses late last month and expected to be available to consumers next January.

Novell, which participated in the Ecma technical committee, intends to support Office Open XML in its distribution of the OpenOffice open-source productivity suite. Corel, which makes the WordPerfect Office suite, intends to support both Office Open XML and OpenDocument.