Google has said it supports the ISO decision to reject Microsoft's Office Open XML spec as a standard.
The company made the announcement ahead of today's Crucial European Court ruling on the 2004 anti trust ruling on the US software giant. Google has been less vocal than some on the furore surrounding the standards process for OOXML, until a statement on Friday.
In a post on its Google Code blog, open source programs manager Zaheda Bhorat said that Google agrees with International Organisation for Standardisation's decision not to fast-track OOXML, and listed some of the problems company engineers have with the format.
The ISO voted earlier this month to reject an attempt by Microsoft to use another standards body, Ecma International, to fast track its XML-based file format OOXML through the process to become an international standard.
The process was riddled with complaints that Microsoft placed people sympathetic to its cause in key voting positions in an attempt to swing the vote in its favour. The company's decision to submit OOXML to Ecma and then the ISO has been controversial, since Open Document Format (ODF), which many rivals support, already is an ISO standard for XML-based documents. In fact, one of the reasons Google disapproves of OOXML is that it is incompatible with ODF, according to Bhorat.
Google also believes there was not enough time to review the specification; that there are undocumented features of OOXML that prevent implementation by other vendors; and that dependencies on Microsoft proprietary formats and technical defects makes OOXML difficult to fully implement, according to the blog post.
"Technical standards should be arrived at transparently, openly, and based on technical merit," Bhorat wrote on the blog. "Google is committed to helping the standards community remain true to this ideal and maintain their independence from any commercial pressure."
Bhorat also used the post to stump for ODF, which Google supports in its web-based office applications. IBM, Sun, and other Microsoft rivals also are vocal supporters of ODF.
"With multiple implementations of one open standard for documents, users, businesses and governments around the world can have both choice and freedom to access their own documents, share with others and pass onto future generations," Bhorat wrote.
Issues raised by Google and technical experts about OOXML during the voting process are set to be resolved at an ISO ballot resolution meeting been scheduled for 25-29 February, 2008.