South Africa appeals ISO’s OOXML decision


The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has filed an appeal against the ISO decision to accept Microsoft’s Office OpenXML (OOXML) as an international standard. South Africa is the first country to appeal the decision within the stipulated 60-day appeal period.

In a letter signed by CEO Martin Kuscus, SABS says it is appealing on the basis of flawed procedures in the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) held in February. SABS also says that it is concerned that there is an increasing trend of international organisations being able to circumvent the consensus-based decision making of the ISO and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

In the letter, titled “Appeal from the South African national body regarding the outcome of the fast-track processing of DIS 29500 Office open XML”, Kuscus writes:

“The national body of South Africa (SABS), a P member of JTC 1, hereby submits an appeal against the outcome of the fast track processing of DIS 29500 Office open XML. This is based on the procedures followed before and during the ballot resolution meeting (BRM) held from 25 to 29 February 2008 to discuss the comments submitted on the fast-tracked DIS 29500 and the proposed responses from Ecma.

“In addtion, South Africa wishes to register its deep concern over the increasing tendency of international organizations to use the JTC 1 processes to circumvent the consensus-building process that is the cornerstone of the success and international acceptance of the ISO and IEC standards. The ability of large multi-national organization to influence many national bodies, with the resultant block-voting over-riding legitimate issues raised by other countries, is also of concern.”