Standards NZ to vote no on OOXML

Standards NZ will vote against adopting Microsoft's Office Open XML document format as an ISO standard.

"Standards New Zealand has confirmed its negative vote for the adoption of the OOXML specification as an ISO/IEC international standard", Debbie Chin, chief executive of Standards New Zealand, announced in a statement today.

Standards NZ also voted against certifying the format as an international standard at a previous round of voting in September last year.

Meanwhile, reports from all around the world indicate the overall vote could be close, with some countries changing their vote to "approve" at the last minute. There are even rumors of some countries going the other way.

(Update: Andy Updegrove's Standards Blog is picking OOXML will win approval unless more national bodies shift from approve or abstain to negative.)

In September, Standards New Zealand voted against adoption of the specification because of stakeholder concerns about technical omissions, errors, and inconsistencies within the draft standard, as well as harmonization, interoperability, and intellectual property concerns, today's statement says.

Chin says there have been significant improvement to the specification since then, however, "there is still insufficient New Zealand stakeholder support for Standards New Zealand to vote for publication as an ISO/IEC international standard".

Today's announcement says following stakeholder engagement and participation in a ballot resolution meeting on the draft standard in Geneva recently, Standards New Zealand has reiterated its previous recommendation that the document be published as a technical report rather than a full international standard.

"Our role is to ensure that overall New Zealanders will benefit from publication of a particular Standard and in this case it was clear that while some would benefit, there would be others who would be disadvantaged," Chin says.

"A major concern is the expected increase in costs for government agencies that would result from the specification being adopted as an ISO/IEC international Standard. Cost increases for government agencies ultimately impact all New Zealanders."

International voting closes at midnight March 29, Geneva time.

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