The fight over the standard, while technically arcane, is commercially important because more governments are demanding interchangeable open document formats for their vast amounts of records, instead of proprietary formats tied to one company’s software. The only standardized format now available to government buyers is OpenDocument Format, developed by a consortium led by I.B.M., which the I.S.O. approved in May 2006.Sobre la votación, NYTimes:
(...) More than 90 percent of all digital text documents in the world are in Microsoft formats, according to the consulting firm Gartner. Many national and local governments in Europe and some in the United States are requiring open formats to reduce their reliance on Microsoft. In an open format, the computer code is public, which allows developers to create new products that use it without paying royalties.
Of the 87 countries that participated, 26 percent opposed Microsoft’s bid. Under the rules for approval, no more than 25 percent of the countries could oppose the bid. Microsoft also failed to win the vote of 66 percent of 41 countries on another panel of I.S.O. and I.E.C. members.Infoq explica el significado de estos votos:
According to the official news approval for Microsoft's OOXML Format would have required "at least 2/3 (i.e. 66.66 %) of the votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 to be positive; and no more than 1/4 (i.e. 25 %) of the total number of national body votes cast negative. Neither of these criteria were achieved, with 53 % of votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 being positive and 26 % of national votes cast being negative". Microsoft on the other hand speaks of a "strong global support":We are extremely delighted to see that 51 ISO members, representing 74 percent of the qualified votes, have already voiced their support for ISO ratification of Open XML, and that many others have indicated they will support ratification once their comments are resolved in the next phase of the ISO process.Sobre la actividad lobbista de Microsoft, Infoq menciona los comentarios de Andy Updegrove:
Many voices have criticized the process. Andy Updegrove, a standards expert, is one of them. He stated his concerns about the process in the US and other countries as well as the system in general. One day before the official news he predicted the outcome to the point:With the polls now closed and the early results in (some public, some not), think it's time to predict with assurance that ISO will announce tomorrow that ISO/IEC DIS 29500, the draft specification based upon Microsoft’s Office Open XML formats, has failed to achieve enough yes votes to gain approval at this time. This, with all due respect to the contrary prediction of The Old Gray Lady and US Paper of Record, the New York Times.
The final vote has been a moving target for some time, and for a variety of reasons. In most cases, the dynamism in the vote has been as a result of various types of behavior by Microsoft, both alleged as well as, in some cases, admitted. In one case, that behavior led to the Swedish national vote being thrown out and replaced with an abstention, after it became apparent that one company voted more than once (Microsoft admitted that an employee had sent a memo urging business partners to join the National Body and vote to approve, and assuring them that their related fees would be offset by Microsoft marketing incentives).
ISO emitió un comunicado de prensa sobre la votación y el proceso de aprobación:
Usuarios de Barrapunto señalan que de todas formas el proceso no está concluído; sólo la vía rápida (fast track), como el comunicado de ISO indica.
A ballot on whether to publish the draft standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats, as an International Standard by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) has not achieved the required number of votes for approval.
The five-month ballot process ended on 2 September and was open to the IEC and ISO national member bodies from 104 countries, including 41 that are participating members of the joint ISO/IEC technical committee, JTC 1, Information technology.
Approval requires at least 2/3 (i.e. 66.66 %) of the votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 to be positive; and no more than 1/4 (i.e. 25 %) of the total number of national body votes cast negative. Neither of these criteria were achieved, with 53 % of votes cast by national bodies participating in ISO/IEC JTC 1 being positive and 26 % of national votes cast being negative.
Comments that accompanied the votes will be discussed at a ballot resolution meeting (BRM) to be organized by the relevant subcommittee of ISO/IEC JTC 1 (SC 34, Document description and processing languages) in February 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The objective of the meeting will be to review and seek consensus on possible modifications to the document in light of the comments received along with the votes. If the proposed modifications are such that national bodies then wish to withdraw their negative votes, and the above acceptance criteria are then met, the standard may proceed to publication.
Otherwise, the proposal will have failed and this fast-track procedure will be terminated. This would not preclude subsequent re-submission under the normal ISO/IEC standards development rules.
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 is a proposed standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. According to the submitters, one of its objectives is to ensure the long-term preservation of documents created over the last two decades using programmes that are becoming incompatible with continuing advances in the IT field.
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 was originally developed as the Office Open XML Specification by Microsoft Corporation which submitted it to Ecma International for transposing into an ECMA standard. Following a process in which other IT industry players participated, Ecma International subsequently published the document as ECMA standard 376.
Ecma International then submitted the standard in December 2006 to ISO/IEC JTC 1, with whom it has category A liaison status, for adoption as an International Standard under the JTC 1 "fast track" procedure. This allows a standard developed within the IT industry to be presented to JTC 1 as a Draft International Standard (DIS) that can be adopted after a process consisting of a one-month review by the national bodies of JTC 1 and then a five-month ballot open to all voting national bodies of ISO and IEC.