I’d long ago told my Microsoft contact that I thought ultimately ANSI will abstain on the Open XML vote at ISO, due to an inability to achieve consensus, so I was quite surprised that they only missed out by maybe one vote in the end in the V1 technical committee. From emails from my friends on both sides of the table, it seems discussions at the V1 committee meeting became, if not acrimonious, then whatever the step beyond “robust” is. It will be interesting to see what INCITS/ANSI does to proceed, but it is delightful to see that the opponents of Open XML have started protesting that they really wanted Open XML all along!
(NOTE: I am withdrawing the rest of the blog, for now, while I think about whether it just perpetuates tit-for-tat sniping. Consequently, some of the comments no longer have their context. Apologies. The missing parts express surprise at Sun’s recent statement of support for Open XML, bring up what anti-trust means in the context of standards, points out the impracticality of adding thousands of pages of binary mapping documentation to the Open XML standard, looks at the bad logic used to justify it, brings up the notion of a “poison pill” which is a trick where an impossible-to-fulfill clause is added knowing it will cause refusal, and also thinks about voting procedures when there are multiple choices.)