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By | Kelly Fiveash 26th March 2008 16:47

UK to fly the flag for OOXML

Source: BSI gives file format thumbs up

Exclusive The British Standards Institute (BSI) looks set to reverse its position on Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) file format by approving it as an international standard.

A source close to the matter told The Register today that the technical group chaired by Francis Cave and assigned to make recommendations to the policy making panel overwhelmingly came out five to one in favour of OOXML.

Only one member of the group, understood to be IBM, which uses the competing Open Document Format (ODF) in its own office apps, disapproved of adopting OOXML as an international standard at a meeting yesterday.

The BSI hasn’t made any official announcement on its decision as yet and it’s not known why the group has had an apparent change of heart after disapproving the Office 2007 format last autumn.

In recent days decisions have begun to trickle through from national delegates from 33 countries who took part in the DIS29500 ballot resolution meeting in Geneva in late February, ahead of the crucial 29 March deadline.

India and Cuba have both declared their intentions to vote against the format and just yesterday Brazil confirmed that it agreed with that sentiment by voting no to OOXML. Unsurprisingly, the US said late last week it won’t be adjusting its original yes vote.

Microsoft previously didn't collect enough votes from delegates in September last year to push OOXML through as an international standard with the International Standards Organisation and the International Electrotechnical Commission.

If the software giant fails to secure enough votes come Saturday it will see its standardisation proposal slung out and the fast-track procedure that was first rubber-stamped by Ecma International last year dismissed. ®

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