The dusty world of technical standards setting is full of excitement and intrigue again as 120 delegates from 37 countries convene in Geneva to discuss whether to accept Microsoft’s new Open Office XML software as an international open standard under the International Standards Organisation.

Standard-setting does not normally arouse much interest. It’s usually a group of five or six engineers in a small room voting on an incremental modification to a piece of code few people are even aware exists. But this time the stakes are high – especially for Microsoft, which could stand to lose out on a great deal of business if it does not get the ISO seal of approval. Read more