It is now official: ISO/IEC DIS 29500 has received enough votes to be approved. Official statement is here.

What now? Well, there is still a slight hope that formal appeals (e.g. from Norway, UK, …) will stop the process. But frankly it seems more like it that it would just postpone the effects.

What I think is the background behind OOXML and its standardisation? In all honesty, I am pretty sure Microsoft did its homework and figured out how important open standards are and will be in the future. But in the same honesty, I am also certain that Microsoft has only seen the economical point of view of open standardisation – open standards are quite sought after on the market now. On the one hand not adopting an open standard would mean losing big clients like governments etc. And I think they also decided that they do not want to lose their (high) market share to other office solutions by using the ODF. After all this would mean that they would lose their networking effect caused by the closed proprietary formats they happily exploited so far and would have to compete solely by providing a superior office suite. Therefore it seems they made their own format, made it semi-open to please the crowds but at the same time near impossible to implement by competitors and even had the nerve to propose it as an international (open) standard. The latter would actually be very welcome, if it was not for all the faults it bears (which have been pointed out by so many already).

But even though it seems like it is nearly impossible now for OOXML not to be approved, I hope that people will embrace ODF as it seems to be the more open and easier to be implemented by other applications. Because unless a miracle happens, I doubt Microsoft will be interested in revising their format in a more open and platform independent way after it has gained the status of standard – to them just another buzzword they can use when applying to public invitations from governments, universities and alike.

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