International tech standards body Ecma has approved the Office Open XML document format.
The announcement came at the organisation's General Assembly in Zurich yesterday, where the vote went 20-1 in favour of the standard. The dissenting voice was that of an IBM representative.
The next step is to submit the standard to ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) for its seal of approval.
Ecma International secretary general Jan van den Beld said: "The Open XML standard recognises the benefit of backward compatibility preservation of the billions of documents that have already been created while enabling new future applications of document technology."
Ecma's technical committee (TC45) has spent a year working on the standardisation, and says it covers the "the full set of features used in the existing corpus of billions of documents". As you might expect for such a detailed and broad ranging work, the standard runs to some 6,000 pages, including all the supporting notes, Ecma says.
The committee included representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress. ®