Published in News
ISO contemplates its navel
by Nick Farrell on02 September 2008
If we can't stop Microsoft what is the point?
Global standards-setting body ISO is starting to question its relevance after it was unable to stop a fast-track approval of a Microsoft document format.
Brazil, India, South Africa, and Venezuela had appealed against ISO's stamp of approval for Microsoft Office Open XML (OOXML). A significant minority of national standards bodies had voted against approving the Microsoft format. However ISO, together with the International Electrotechnical Commission, decided not to bother with any negative comments about the standard.
The state IT organizations of Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, and Paraguay have published a declaration saying they were no longer confident ISO would be a vendor-neutral organisation. It said that in the past it has been assumed that an ISO/IEC standard should automatically be considered for use within government. However if it is going to have its tongue up the bottom of big software houses, clearly this position no longer stands.
They say that the bending of the rules to facilitate the fast-track processing remains a significant concern.