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ISO Benches Microsoft OOXML

Due to objections from four countries, the International Organization for Standardization has temporarily put a hold on publishing Microsoft Office Open XML as an ISO standard.

Four countries -- Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela -- have submitted appeals against the ISO approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500, the ISO designation for Microsoft OOXML.

According to the rules set by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission, boards of both groups will review the objections and, if found to be warranted, attempt to reconcile the differences.

While under appeal, an ISO/IEC document can not be published as a standard. The process will take several months, the ISO statement indicated.

In May, the standards body approved OOXML as a standard, though some controversy surrounded the ratification.

OOXML is used in Microsoft Office 2007 for sharing Word, Excel and PowerPoint file information. The rival standard, Open Document Format (ODF), is used in Sun Microsystems' OpenOffice.org and IBM's Lotus Symphony open productivity suites, among others.

Microsoft also announced in May that it would support ODF in the next service pack for Microsoft Office, though the company would not support for the ISO/IEC version of OOXML until the next version of Office, codenamed Office 14. (Dave Nagel and Kurt Mackie contributed to this report.)

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the chief technology editor of Government Computing News (GCN.com).

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