[Update: April 2nd 2008 - ISO confirms approval of Open XML as ISO standard]

Following a fourteen month process, the National Standards Authority of Ireland has announced its approval of the Office Open XML specification (DIS29500), opening the way for Open XML’s approval as an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standard. Ireland is one of the participating voting countries in the global ISO process to ratify Open XML as a global technology standard. 

While the final vote has not yet been announced formally, publicly available information appears to indicate the proposed Open XML standard received extremely broad support. According to documents available on the Internet, 86 percent of all voting national body members support ISO/IEC standardization, well above the 75 percent requirement for formal acceptance under ISO and IEC rules. In addition, 75 percent of the voting Participating national body members (known as P-members), including Ireland, support standardization, also well above the 66.7 percent requirement for this group. Open XML now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO- and IEC-recognized open document format standards.

Open XML is a file format for documents, spreadsheets and presentations that enables computer users to create rich documents which can be shared among different computers, applications and systems. The format is freely available and is already being adopted by other technology providers including Apple, Novell and Palm and is already included in Microsoft Office 2007. The growing number of companies building Open XML applications illustrates the widespread support for the standard.

Find out more about Open XML at: http://www.openxmlcommunity.org.