ISO/IEC DIS 29500, Information technology – Office Open XML file formats, has received the necessary number of votes for approval as an ISO/IEC International Standard.
Approval required at least 2/3 (i.e. 66.66 %) of the votes cast by national bodies participating in the joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, to be positive; and no more than 1/4 (i.e. 25 %) of the total number of ISO/IEC national body votes cast to be negative. These criteria have now been met with 75 % of the JTC 1 participating member votes cast positive and 14 % of the total of national member body votes cast negative.
The 30-day period during which ISO/IEC national bodies had the opportunity to reconsider their votes on the draft ISO/IEC DIS 29500 closed at midnight on Saturday, 29 March 2008, with the result that the criteria for approval of the document as an ISO/IEC International Standard have now been met.
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 was originally disapproved in the "fast-track vote"which ended in September 2007, when 3 500 comments were received. However, under the rules of ISO/IEC JTC 1, the DIS vote was followed by a ballot resolution meeting (BRM) at which the comments were addressed. After the meeting, the ISO/IEC national bodies had 30 days to modify their votes if they wished.
The BRM was held in Geneva during the week 25-29 February 2008. By eliminating redundancies, the comments had been reduced to just over 1 000 individual issues to be considered. Issues considered as priorities by national members (such as accessibility, date formats, conformance issues) were discussed, and the other comments were addressed through a voting process on the remaining items, a system agreed by the BRM participants.
The issues addressed and revised have resulted in sufficient national bodies withdrawing their earlier disapproval votes, or transforming them into positive votes, so that the criteria for approval of the document as an International Standard have now been met. Subject to there being no formal appeals from ISO/IEC national bodies in the next two months, the International Standard will accordingly proceed to publication.
ISO/IEC 29500 is a standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. According to the submitters of the document, one of its objectives is to ensure the long-term preservation of documents created over the last two decades using programmes that are becoming incompatible with continuing advances in the field of information technology.
ISO/IEC DIS 29500 was originally developed as the Office Open XML Specification by Microsoft Corporation which submitted it to Ecma International, an information technology industry association, for transposing into an ECMA standard. Following a process in which other IT industry players participated, Ecma International subsequently published the document as ECMA standard 376.
Ecma International then submitted the standard in December 2006 to ISO/IEC JTC 1, with whom it has category A liaison status, for adoption as an International Standard under the JTC 1 "fast track" procedure. This allows a standard developed within the IT industry to be presented to JTC 1 as a draft international standard (DIS) that can be adopted after a process of review and balloting. This process has now been concluded with the end of the 30-day period following the ballot resolution meeting.
The process was open to the IEC and ISO national member bodies from 104 countries, including 41 that are participating members of the joint ISO/IEC JTC1.