Yesterday, the International Standard Organization rejected the wholesale acceptance of MS OOXML also known as ECMA-376 as a new ISO standard.
The relevant comittee did not reach the 2/3 approval rate nor did it stay below the 25% objection threshold. This is not a final decision but a request to study the matter in more detail. The 26% “No” votes of participating committee members have mandatory comments attached and these will be discussed at an assembly February 2008. Presumably then remedies will be worked out and the standard draft will be improved and voted on again.
Approving MS OOXML as a second ISO standard for Office documents, after ODF (ISO 26300) has increased interest in such matters dramatically. Many countries did upgrade their membership in the relevant comittee from observes to participants in oder to have an actual vote. Many obeservers of the process allege that Microsoft is lobbying with such countries as Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malta, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela to become participating and voting members. Interestingly, all new participating members did vote in Microsoft’s favor for fast tracking the approval.