The chairman of a Norwegian technology committee says there were "serious irregularities" behind Norway's main standards body's decision to approve the Microsoft Office Open XML format as a standard.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

April 1, 2008

2 Min Read

The chairman of a Norwegian technology committee tasked with studying Microsoft's controversial new document format has filed a protest against his country's decision to vote to approve the format as an international standard.

In a letter to the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Steve Pepper said "serious irregularities" were behind Norway's main standards body's decision to approve the Microsoft Office Open XML format as an ISO-recognized standard.

Peppers said Standard Norge's decision ignores his group's recommendation to vote against OOXML. "This decision does not reflect the view of the vast majority of the Norwegian committee," said Pepper.

Pepper said 80% of his committee members felt that Norway should vote against OOXML. A copy of Pepper's letter was posted on a Web site maintained by Norwegian IT blogger Anders Brenna.

OOXML is the default file format for Microsoft Office 2007 applications, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

The ISO's imprimatur on OOXML could open the door to lucrative government, non-profit, and educational markets for Office 2007.

ISO member nations last year rejected Microsoft's initial request for OOXML approval. National bodies last week wrapped up voting on the company's follow-up request but a final result has yet to be made public.

The 14-month process has been rife with accusations that Microsoft improperly tried to influence the voting by stacking standards committees with OOXML advocates.

Microsoft last year conceded that an employee in Sweden offered to compensate local tech execs for joining the country's standards committee and voting in favor of OOXML.

OOXML appears to be headed for ISO approval despite the controversies. Microsoft on Tuesday said in a statement that the format "appears" to have won the standards group's recognition. The ISO has said it would formally reveal the voting results on Wednesday.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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