Friday, August 31, 2007

Office Open XML enjoys positive momentum - Microsoft

The current debate on the proposed global standardization of the Ecma Office Open Extensible Markup Language (Open XML) has been enjoying positive momentum and widespread use, according to Microsoft Corporation.

Also, Microsoft said that over 2000 partners representing 67 countries on six continents have given their green lights for the ratification of OOXML by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Commenting on recent media reports on the debate, the Public Relations and Events Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Ms Ndidiamaka Victoria Uwadoka, informed that even third parties have also endorsed the standard.

This, she said, includes contributors from the Open Source community and those appreciative of interoperability software solutions.

“Other third parties have endorsed the standard, including contributors to the Open Source community and those who appreciate the need for interoperability among mixed software solutions,” she declared.

In addition, Ms Uwadoka said that contrary to reports, African civil society organisations as a homogenous group are not against the Open XML, stressing that over 2000 partners representing 67 countries on six continents have given their support for Open XML approval.

“More than 2000 partners representing 67 countries on six continents support Open XML and its ratification by ISO,” she said, adding that this expanding community of voices recognised the fact that this format gives partners many opportunities to innovate and deliver the full value of XML-based technologies to customers.

“ … Helping them to achieve their goals of increased productivity and decreased costs,” Ms Uwadoka asserted.

She explained that although Microsoft has been instrumental in the development of the Ecma Office Open XML standard, “Open XML is not a Microsoft standard but an international one.”

Microsoft further said that Open XML is an international, open standard for word-processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that could be freely implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms.

According to her, the work to standardise Open XML is being carried out by a technical committee of Ecma International, which includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba and the United States Library of Congress.

“The standard is under the maintenance of Ecma; Microsoft has just one vote of the more than 20 members,” she stated.

Microsoft further said that contrary to reports, United States and Germany have voted ‘Yes’ with comments to accept Open XML as an ISO standard.

As said by her, “’Yes, with comments’ means that it was a progressive outcome from the national standards body, and Ecma looks forward to resolving these comments during the ballot resolution process, claiming that South Africa will only be voting on Sunday, September 2, this year, while the finale ISO ballot process will be in 2008.

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