Open Standard Won't Be Microsoft's

The door to having its Office Open XML adopted as an international standard was abruptly and unexpectedly closed to Microsoft yesterday.

Two of the international standards governing bodies -- the International Organization for Standardization (ISO, which governs all standards) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC, which governs technology standards) -- registered votes just short of the majority percentages that Microsoft needed to be the new standard bearer.

Microsoft missed two of the required criteria in order to have its Open XML format designated as a standard. Ultimately, 51 countries (of the 87 that voted) supported Microsoft. That's just short of the 75 percent vote it needed. Microsoft also fell short in votes from the ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1.

Japan, Canada, India, China, Brazil, France and Britain voted against Microsoft. Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and the United States voted in favor of its bid. Some opponents chocked up their refusal to vote for the company to excessive lobbying by local Microsoft executives.

Microsoft lobbying too hard on its own behalf? Hard to believe.

The OpenDocument Format is the first one to have become an international standard (it passed in May 2006). For now at least, it stands alone.

What do you think about the ISO and IEC's decision? Do you agree or disagree? How important do you think standards will be with open formats? Send your vote to me at llow@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Lafe Low on September 05, 2007 at 11:57 AM