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Open XML stumbles in India

By John Ribeiro
August 24, 2007 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - A technical committee in India unanimously rejected Microsoft Corp.'s Office Open XML file format as a standard, ahead of a vote on Sept. 2 by the international standards group ISO on whether to approve Open XML as an international standard.

However, the rejection may prove to be temporary if Microsoft meets some of the objections to Open XML raised by committee members.

The technical committee was set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India's national standards body, which is a founding member of ISO. It represents India at the international standards organization.

"There were a large number of technical objections raised about Open XML, and many of which Microsoft was not able to address at this point," said D.B. Phatak, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai. One of the objections was that Open XML was not fully compatible with OpenDocument Format (ODF), an existing ISO standard that rivals Open XML, he added. IIT Mumbai is a member of the technical committee.

The decision not to back Open XML as a standard was taken after a late evening meeting of the technical committee on Thursday in Delhi. Microsoft and Indian outsourcer Infosys Technologies Ltd. were in favor of the committee voting "yes" with qualifying comments, according to informed sources. That option wasn't available for voters.

Open XML will be reconsidered for a standard by the technical committee and the BIS after Microsoft makes the required changes to the document format, Phatak said.

Microsoft said in a statement that it respected the decision taken by the BIS but added that it was important to note that all the BIS members unanimously support the need for multiple standards. The company will work with the BIS and the committee members on the comments noted during the ballot resolution process, the statement added.

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Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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