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Rediff News  All News  » Business » BIS stumps Microsoft for new language

BIS stumps Microsoft for new language

August 24, 2007 11:06 IST

Microsoft on Thursday suffered an initial setback when the Bureau of Indian Standards-appointed technical committee did not approve of its Open Office eXtensible Mark-up Language as an alternative standard for electronic office documents to the International Organisation for Standardisation.

It qualified its disapproval with comments. The BIS can review the decision till September 2, when the same has to be submitted to the ISO along with 123 other country-specific standards bodies.

"We respect the decision taken by the Bureau of Indian Standards-appointed committee. At the same time, it is important to note that all the BIS members unanimously support the need for multiple standards. Going forward, we will work with the BIS and the committee members on the comments noted during the ballot resolution process," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

If a majority of the countries vote in favour of Microsoft, the world will have to contend with two open-source formats -- ODF and OOXML -- and 'multiple standards are always bad,' according to ODF supporters.

It's primarily a tussle over control of office documents. OOXML is Microsoft's alternative format specification to the ODF for electronic documents such as memos, reports, books, spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word-processing documents. ODF, on the other hand, was adopted in 2006.

It is the first electronic document format which supports applications like, KOffice, StarOffice, and online Google tools. While IT firms like PwC, HCL and Sify support Microsoft, the Open Document Format Alliance is backed by IT giants, including Sun Microsystems, IBM, Google, Novell, Apple, Red Hat and the Free Software Foundation.

Leslie D' Monte in Mumbai