Microsoft Claims Victory in Format Battle

Software giant says its Office Open XML will be accepted as an international standard.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report said Tuesday it has won its bid to have its document format Office Open XML accepted as an international standard.

The announcement came a day before the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is to make public the voting results.

The ISO decision will have a minimal effect on sales of Microsoft application software. Office Open XML is the default format for Microsoft Office 2007. Rather, the designation primarily affects government users, who are often required to use standards-based, rather than proprietary, software.

Opponents of the standardization effort, including

International Business Machines

(IBM) - Get Report

, support a rival open standard, Open Document Format.

"Open XML now joins HTML, PDF and ODF as ... open document format standards," Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday. HTML is the most basic format for Web pages, and PDF was developed by

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

.

Microsoft said its Office Open XML appeared to have more than enough support from ISO voting members to win approval as a document format.

The company lost the first ISO vote by a narrow margin last September. But since that time, the company has lobbied holdouts and has taken steps

to open its proprietary software to outside developers

for interoperability programming with Windows products.

According to Microsoft, Office Open XML received support from 75% of voting members, well above the 66.7% required.

IBM was opposed to making OOXML a standard "because it was developed in a non-open manner, is ridiculously large

and is technically inferior" to ODF, Bob Sutor, an executive in charge of open source and standards at IBM, wrote recently on a blog.

Also on Tuesday,

The Wall Street Journal

reported that Microsoft does not intend to raise its $31-a-share bid for

Yahoo!

(MSFT) - Get Report

. The article also noted Yahoo!'s recent road show failed to impress investors.

Microsoft was up 85 cents, or 3%, to $29.23 in recent trading.