After more than 14 months of intensive review, a Joint Technical Committee of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) concluded with Ecma International’s submission of Office Open XML (Open XML) being granted ratification as an ISO/IEC Standard.
Microsoft (microsoft.com) submitted Open XML, which Office 2007 is based on, to Ecma International last year, as part of its efforts to meet the interoperability needs of its customers by making sure that no matter how technologies evolve, any content that is created today will remain accessible to anyone it is sent to and that it remains accessible indefinitely into the future, regardless of the choice of computing solutions or software.
Zeid Shubailat, Country Manager of Microsoft Jordan said, “With 86 percent of voting national bodies supporting ratification and Jordan being one of them, there is overwhelming support for Open XML. This outcome is a clear win for the customers, technology providers and governments that want to choose the format that best meets their needs and have a voice in the evolution of this widely adopted standard.”
Shubailat added, “The input from technical experts, customers and governments in Jordan and around the world has greatly improved the Open XML specification and will make it even more useful to developers and customers. Microsoft is committed to supporting this specification in our products, and we will continue to work with standards bodies, governments and the industry to promote greater interoperability and innovation.”
From a users standpoint, it is important to have the privilege to protect their ability to choose. This is where interoperability in general, and ISO’s ratification of Open XML in particular, make so much sense to Jordan and the rest of the world.
Those working with Open XML can attest to the benefits of this open file format in the areas of file and data management, data recovery, interoperability with line-of-business systems, and the long-term preservation of documents.
The formats are optimized to a level of precision and detail that facilitates carrying forward billions of existing files. Open XML file formats are uniquely capable of integrating other types of systems and data with Open XML documents, while maintaining a clean, simple separation of presentation (Open XML markup) and data (custom schemas and instances thereof). Open XML now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ISO- and IEC-recognized open document format standards.
Shubailat explained, “This means that organizations can use Open XML formats to report information from other applications and systems without having to translate it first, which is a key innovation for developers seeking to incorporate real-time business information into their documents, or those who seek to “tag” documents with their own categorization system to improve their understanding of the documents’ contents.”
The open standard has gained broad adoption across the software industry for use on a variety of platforms — including Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Palm OS. Hundreds of independent software vendors and platform providers around the world — such as Apple Inc., Corel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Microsoft and Novell Inc. — are developing solutions using Open XML that offer real value for IT users around the globe.
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