Yet another MS salvo in Massachusetts battle

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Microsoft has filed a 15-page document with the Massachusetts Information Techology Dept. and Gov. Mitt Romney objecting to the state's plan to require applications to natively support the OpenDoc format.

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Microsoft has filed a 15-page document with the Massachusetts Information Techology Dept. and Gov. Mitt Romney objecting to the state's plan to require applications to natively support the OpenDoc format.The Globe reports:

Microsoft executives are now warning in their comments that the proposed move could cost the state money if its agencies are forced to cancel Office licenses, some of which extend beyond January 2007 and could create problems interacting with businesses.

''Were this proposal to be adopted, the significant costs incurred by the Commonwealth, its citizens, and the private sector would be matched only by the levels of confusion and incompatibility that would result from the fact that the OpenDocument format is such a nascent and immature format," Microsoft general manager Alan Yates wrote in the company's comments. He suggested a move to OpenDocument would flout practices requiring the state to seek ''best value" in procurement.

 Massachusetts' secretary of administration and finance Eric Kriss said the state will write a response to Microsoft's letter.

''It's an important issue. Open formats are at the very heart of our democratic process. The question is whether a sovereign state has the obligation to ensure that its public documents remain forever free and unencumbered by patent, license, or other technical impediments. We say, yes, this is an imperative. Microsoft says they disagree and want the world to use their proprietary formats."

 The Globe also notes that sparks may fly between the two organizations at November's Open Source Business Conference, scheduled for Nov. 1-2 in Newton, Mass.

One of the problems that Katrina has put into bold relief is the impact of cascading communication snafus on the quick response to disasters.

Open Standards White Papers