Microsoft format world standard

A data format used in Microsoft Corp.'s prevalent Office software line has been approved as an international standard - a move aimed at preserving access to documents created with the package for years to come.

Published December 8, 2006

BOSTON - Companies and governments had expressed concern that documents created with Microsoft's proprietary technology might be impossible to read at some point in the future if Microsoft shifted to a format incompatible with current versions.

The groundswell threatened to hurt demand for Microsoft's highly profitable Office products, which include such programs as Word and Excel.

So last year, Microsoft proposed making its "Open XML" format an international standard that could be licensed for free.