Microsoft was successful in persuading a number of states which voted against OOXML in September, including the UK, France, Denmark and Ireland, to change their position. In the final and decisive appeal at the end of March, these countries either supported the standard or abstained, allowing it to go through.
Now OOXML has the ISO 29500 label, making it "a standard for word-processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets that is intended to be implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms," the ISO explained.
Nevertheless, to get the green light the Redmond company has been forced to take into account several significant concerns raised by ISO members which, if fully applied, bring significant changes to the current OOXML.
Microsoft claims that the new standard will make life easier for private users and public administrations, enabling them to save and store all their documentation with guaranteed long-term access, even with newly developed software.
This position is countered by supporters of open source and open standards, who argue that applications provided in OOXML are protected by copyright and could not be implemented in the future by other software developers.
They instead support ODF, an open source application which is currently less interoperable with other applications than OOXML, but supposedly has a greater capacity due to its open format and constant innovations.
The concerns of the open source community are shared by the European Commission. Last January, it opened a formal investigation to assess whether "Office Open XML, as implemented in Office, is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products".