Standards Australia denies OOXML bias

Opinions over objectivity remain at loggerheads

Following a Computerworld report on the appointment of a Microsoft consultant as part of Standard Australia's (SA) delegation for this month's Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) in Geneva, the organization's CEO has defended the objectivity of the decision.

Representatives from IBM, Google, Catalyst IT and Waugh Partners expressed their concern the appointment of Topologi director Rick Jelliffe to the delegation was not indicative of the wider industry view on OOXML standardization.

In a letter to Computerworld, SA CEO John Tucker claims the process to determine the Australian position has "at all times been open, transparent and objective".

"We have consulted widely, while at the same time moving as quickly and as flexibly as possible to establish Australia's position," Tucker said. "This process has for the most part been supported by all key industry stakeholders."

Tucker believes the original article gave the impression SA is not being objective and that Jelliffe does not meet the appropriate criteria to be included in the delegation and "the delegation will not be able to represent a collaboratively developed Australian position".

"The Standards Australia delegation was never to have been made up of two internal employees as your story claims," he said. "The delegation will include one senior Standards Australia representative and an external expert in the field. While the personnel have changed as a result of availability the composition remains the same."

SA senior project manager Panjan Navaratnam will head the delegation and Jelliffe will be in an advisory role.

"[The] meeting will see delegations from around the world resolve the more than 3000 comments that were submitted to the ISO and IEC in early September," he said. "This is not an 'ISO ballot' as your article describes."

After returning from Geneva, the SA delegation will report on the discussions and a further round of stakeholder consultation will occur ahead of Australia deciding whether it changes the abstain vote cast in September last year.

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