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ISO to announce Microsoft Open XML result Wednesday

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) said it would reveal on Wednesday whether Microsoft MSFT.O had won the support needed to have its document format made into a global industry standard.

“Because ISO needs first to inform its worldwide membership of national standards bodies of these results, a press release on this subject will be issued on Wednesday, 2 April, 2008,” ISO spokesman Roger Frost said in an e-mail message.

The results of the vote, which closed on Saturday night, had been on Monday.

Microsoft has pushed hard for international certification of Open Office XML (OOXML), the default file-saving format of Microsoft Office 2007, to improve its chances of winning government contracts and encourage developers to use the technology for new software applications and content.

The company did not get the two-thirds majority needed to clinch the standard in an original vote in September, but got another shot in a second ballot that closed on Saturday night.

Opponents of the Microsoft certification had argued that introducing a rival to the already ISO-approved Open Document Format (ODF), developed by Sun Microsystems JAVA.O, defeated the purpose of having standards.

Search engine giant Google Inc GOOG.O, which uses the open ODF standard in its document and spreadsheet applications, also lent its weight to the anti-Microsoft camp, citing concerns about the dependence of OOXML on Microsoft proprietary formats.

The ODF technology allows users to save documents in a variety of formats, including Microsoft’s. While OOXML originally did not allow saving text and spreadsheet documents as ODF files, Microsoft later made it possible to do so.

The ISO hosted a ballot resolution meeting last month to give delegations a chance to run through concerns raised in September and reconsider their positions. They had until midnight March 29 to change their votes.

Reporting by Laura MacInnis and Georgina Prodhan, editing by Will Waterman