THE COVETED international standard gong which the ISO awarded to Microsoft's OOXML could be retracted if the software giant starts getting mean over patents it has invested in the standard, the organisation said today.
Otherwise, the body expects Microsoft's OOXML and the open source ODF document formats to face one another in a direct competition for "survival". The outcome will be decided by the market, it said.
In the wake of Microsoft's promise to make its OOXML specification freely available (a move that has been met with scepticism), the International Standards Organisation issued a statement today that said how it would hold Microsoft to its promise, with the most severe of penalties for any shirking.
The ISO said how its patent policy demanded that licences were awarded on RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.
"If, after publication of the standard, it is determined that licences to all required patents are not so available, one option would be to withdraw the International Standard," it said.
If Microsoft doesn't misbehave, the standards body said that the standards would be left to prove themselves: "After a period of co-existence, it is basically the market that decides which survives," a spokesman said.
The market had already determined through the ISO voting procedures that OOXML would become an official international standard, it said.
The statement also said that it had put OOXML into its fast-track for adoption after it was proposed by Ecma International, the commercial custodian of the standard. µ
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