OOXML standard on hold by ISO

By EDRi · June 18, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the International
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in Geneva have postponed the publication
of the revised specification of Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) document
format, following complaints filed by their member organizations
representing these four countries: Brazil, India, South Africa and

The planned standard ISO/IEC DIS 29500 cannot be published until the
complaints are examined by ISO and IEC who will have to give responses and
comments by the end of June 2008

The four national standardization organizations have shown concerns that no
consensus has been reached on changes that must be made to the 6000-page
specification, during the consultation period on the numerous comments
submitted at the end of February. The complaints mainly address the fact
that the concrete technical objections were not individually discussed.

The concerns are summarized in an open letter of a member of the technical
standardisation committee in India who stated that the standard had not been
properly thought out and it was not even clear what standard would result
from the proceedings. The adoption of the standard in the present state
would not be an open process as it would be implemented only by Microsoft.

Other protests have been filed to ISO by the Danish Open Source Business
Association. They claim that “the procedures and the decision conflict with
ISO’s rules, and the process has caused considerable damage to the
reputations of Danish Standards and ISO.” The letter also explains why the
case should be picked up by ISO: “The process has thus been formally
annulled now for two months – since March 29, at which time the
specifications should have been sent to the national standardization
organizations. The prerequisites for the fast-track procedure no longer
exist, and, therefore, I expect that ISO recommence the case.”

The European Commission is also investigating the case. Competition
Commissioner Kroes explained in a recent conference why the European
Commission is interested in this topic: “If voting in the standard-setting
context is influenced less by the technical merits of the technology but
rather by side agreements, inducements, package deals, reciprocal agreements
or commercial pressure, then these risk falling foul of the competition

In the meantime, The Organization for the Advancement of Structured
Information Standards (OASIS), has invited interested parties to create a
new technical committee for the “implementation, interoperability, and
conformity” of the next version of the Open Document Format (ODF) which has
already been certified by the ISO.

Open source supporters draw the attention on a possible new alliance with
Microsoft which announced its intention to support ODF and to join the
technical OASIS committee in its works on the open standard.

The management boards of ISO and IEC will decide, after having examined the
complaints against Microsoft standard, whether the appeals should be further
processed and if they decide so, the chairmen of the two boards will
establish a conciliation panel that will try to resolve the appeals.

ISO puts standard for Microsoft’s OOXML document formats on hold

Four national standards bodies appeal against approval of ISO/IEC DIS 29500

Now an OOXML Protest from Denmark’s OSL – Updated 3Xs: Official English
Translation (31.05.2008)

OASIS opens discussion list for ODF Implementation, Interoperability and
Conformance (3.06.2008)

Microsoft will support Open Document Format (ODF) (22.05.2008)

EDRi-gram: OOXML adopted as a new standard by ISO (9.04.2008)