The International Organization for Standardization announced today that the Microsoft Office Open XML file format has received the necessary number of votes for approval as an ISO/IEC International Standard.
The Microsoft file format (ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Office Open XML file formats) is now in direct competition with the already approved OpenDocument standard (ISO/IEC 26300:2006 Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0). Approval of the file format as an open standard makes it easier for Microsoft to market its office products to governments. The ISO voting process has been heavily criticized by the IBM-backed European Committee for Interoperable Systems and the Wall Street Journal reports of an investigation by the European Commission. For more information, see the ISO press release and news coverage in C|Net and today’s New York Times (registration required) and Wall Street Journal (account required). Consider visiting the ISO CafÃ©.