Very happy to see the recent report that Norway is adopting a standards-based policy for public (external) documents hosted on websites, pretty much along the lines that I have been calling for (some reminders below) identifying when formats are appropriate :
- W3C XHTML or HTML is still possible 
- ISO PDF/A (or Adobe PDF1.4, I hope temporarily) for finished documents 
- ISO ODF for documents “still being worked on” 
- Allow other formats in addition, as long as the required formats are available 
- An acknowledgement that Open XML is “a better format for preserving semantics and special formats from Microsoft’s proprietary binary formats,” 
I expect that Open XML becoming an ISO standard would not change these minimum requirements for web-hosted public documents, and neither should it IMHO. I think it shows that governments and regulators are perfectly capable of treating the available standards as a technical library and selecting the correct one for each job as they see fit. It shows again that being pro-ODF for public documents does not require that one is anti-Open XML as an ISO standard, as part of the library: regulators and legislators are the appropriate people to decide which standards to favour for different uses.
At some time in the future, I suspect these kinds of recommendations will need to be strengthened. Which version of ODF (etc.)? Which profile? (And I still think that HTML and web delivery have a momentum and logic that makes both ODF and Open XML second-class citizens for public documents: don’t forget HTML!)
1) On XML-DEV in January: “So governments who want level-playing field and interoperability need to do more than just say “Just use any ISO standard” even if there is only one standard. They will need policy to say “Here is when you use PDF, here is when you use HTML, here is when you use etc.” They will need profiles to say “When you use this format, here are the allowed values and foreign namespaces you can use”.
2) In ODF versus OOXML: Don’t forget HTML I wrote “Think of it in terms of a continuum, with HTML at one end (simple WP documents), PDF at the other end (full page fidelity but read-only): HTML, ODF, OOXML, PDF”.
3) In Markup’s Dirty Little Secret I wrote:”There are mixed strategies: send PDF as well as the XML document, and use the PDF as much as possible, until there needs to be editing. Or send HTML as well to discourage page-centricism.”
4) In the comments to No (Showstopping) Contradictions I wrote “Instead, I expect (governments) will increasingly adopt HTML and ODF by preference, with PDF and OpenXML allowed temporarily where HTML and ODF don’t provide coverage. I think OpenXML’s big market will be for companies who already have large Office investments, but who are moving more to a Glushko-esque Document Architecture basis.”
5) And in Should regulations be made by unelected committees with no democratic oversight I made the point “It is the job of regulators to decide which standards to adopt or not, and why and where and when and for which uses.” This was in response to the idea being floated about that if Open XML became an ISO voluntary standard, governments would somehow be compelled to adopt or allow it, or that they would be hopelessly confused, poor things.
6) In What is a standard at ISO “That is why I think moving away from the view of ISO standards as a library of technical solutions will be unsatisfactory for those who attempt it.”