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CompTIA Says Apparent ISO / IEC “Yes” Vote Represents Win for Choice


02 Apr 2008


Innovation & Enterprise

The following statement may be attributed to Jan van den Beld, ISO-process consultant for CompTIA, and former Secretary General of Ecma International, the body which brought OOXML to ISO:

Brussels, Belgium, 1 April 2008 – “As has been widely reported today, ISO/IEC is expected to formally approve OOXML as an ISO standard. That vote represents a tremendous win for choice. With ISO/IEC’s approval of OOXML, governments, businesses, consumers and the ICT industry now have a powerful, competitive alternative international standard that will allow products based on it to better interoperate with other document products, while also benefiting from new innovation stemming from the many independent software developers who have or will choose OOXML.

I congratulate Ecma International, the National Bodies and ISO/IEC for their hard work and diligence throughout this long and grueling process – a process which plainly works. The resulting votes were inclusive, fair and open. Consequently, ISO/IEC, through the National Bodies, brought a new standard to the marketplace, allowing end-users richer, open options for their document needs.

This good work aside, I expect that some who opposed the standard will use the event to cry foul. Their cynical, specious arguments will seek to cast aspersions on what ISO/IEC did, attempting to undermine or question the integrity of the 87 National Bodies who worked hard to improve and subsequently voted for the standard at ISO/IEC.

Clearly, not all who voted at ISO/IEC approved OOXML. This was expected. That noted, they all had their equal shot at the specification. As envisioned within the ISO/IEC process itself, the input of literally hundreds of technical experts from the National Bodies improved the standard, setting the groundwork for it to grow and evolve under ISO/IEC's continued, independent and well-respected guidance.

As with a multitude of other standards produced by ISO/IEC, this work lends an important imprimatur to OOXML, further insuring broad acceptance while guaranteeing that the standard will not mutate to the benefit of a single vendor. Thus, with the vote, ISO/IEC has improved choice in a rapidly evolving, technological marketplace. CompTIA and I believe wholeheartedly in that process and its outcome.

Sadly for some, however, improving choice became an undesirable political outcome. We urge that this divisiveness come to an end. ISO/IEC has done its work consistent with the public interest. The free marketplace must take it from there. Accordingly, we pledge our ongoing efforts to boost and maintain the integrity of that process, and stand ready to help the ICT industry work better together, now and in the future.”

For more information please contact Jan van den Beld, CompTIA international Expert Advisor and former Ecma Secretary General, +41/79.668.70.60, or Timme Dossing, cabinet DN, +32/,