Ecma International Approves Office Open XML as Worldwide Industry Standard

REDMOND, Wash.Dec. 7, 2006 —Today Ecma International approved Office Open XML Formats as an Ecma standard and voted to submit the new standards to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for consideration as an ISO standard through the fast-track process. For the past year, representatives from Apple Computer Inc., Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corp., NextPage Inc., Novell Inc., Statoil ASA, Toshiba, and the U.S. Library of Congress have worked together to help ensure that the Office Open XML Formats are highly useful and interoperable in a wide variety of scenarios. The Formats have garnered positive support from a range of parties in diverse industries. More information about support for the Formats can be found at

“Today’s Ecma vote is a major milestone in furthering document interoperability — we believe customers will really appreciate the benefits that Open XML provides,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “We look forward to continuing to work with Ecma and the other contributors, extending our collaboration across the industry as part of the ISO certification process.”

The Ecma committee TC45 made significant changes to the specification and also produced more than 6,000 pages of documentation on the formats to help developers get predictable results with the formats, whether they wanted to take advantage of a few specific features or the full technology set of the formats.

In the past few weeks alone, the Ecma Open XML Formats have experienced significant industry momentum. As a result of the release of the 2007 Microsoft® Office system and separate announcements from Novell and Corel Corp. that they support Open XML in their and WordPerfect offerings, the Open XML Formats will be used by millions of customers worldwide, across both Windows® and Linux platforms. In addition, more than 750 developers have joined the Open XML Formats Developer Group, and many government and private sector customers are evaluating the benefits for their organizations.

Statement from Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft

“Microsoft Corp. has a long history of commitment to interoperability — we design it into our products from the ground up, and our Interoperability Customer Executive Council enables our customers to play a key role in this process. With billions of new Microsoft® Office documents produced every day, we wanted to do everything we could to encourage the adoption of format standards that enable interoperability and expand the potential for product innovation. Today’s vote by Ecma International to approve the Office Open XML formats as an official Ecma standard — and to submit the formats to the International Standards Organization (ISO) — represents a major step toward realizing that goal.

“The achievement of the Ecma TC45 committee managing the Open XML formats is truly remarkable, and we feel privileged to have been part of the process. Twelve companies came together in a very short period of time, recognizing the lasting benefits that they could bring to customers and the rest of the industry, and committing their best technical people to the project. Their tireless, collaborative efforts — along with the support of numerous partners — should mean that the Office Open XML formats are invaluable to different applications, on different platforms, long into the future.

“This project was an excellent example of “interoperability by design” within an open and collaborative standards process. As a starting point, Microsoft shared the technology behind billions of existing documents. Every company involved brought different perspectives and objectives, but all understood the importance of improved interoperability, functionality and security, balanced against the practical realities of document technology. The sheer length of the documentation (more than 6,000 pages) is just one indication of how thorough they were. The more detailed the specification, the more people will be able to get predictable results with the format, even with very different applications.

“I want to congratulate Ecma for its invaluable contribution to the entire industry with the Office Open XML specification — it makes an international standard of document formats already used by millions of people. It will be a privilege for Microsoft to continue partnering with this diverse and talented organization as this work evolves.”

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