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Sorry, Microsoft; ODF Lives On In Mass.

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Surprise, surprise. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appointed a successor to the departed CIO of the state’s Information Technology Division, Peter Quinn, and stood behind the current plan to implement OpenDocument Format support by January 2007.

Consortiuminfo.org’s Andy Updegrove reported on the new appointment of a state CIO for Massachusetts, and how that CIO, Louis Gutierrez, would continue Quinn’s work at implementing ODF. The proposal calls for state offices to be able to save electronic documents that will not require a potentially-unsupported proprietary solution to access them in the future.

The world’s top technology company, Microsoft, makes a lot of its revenue from its proprietary solution, the Office productivity suite. When news began to circulate in September about the recommendation from Quinn to make ODF support a state policy, a battle of words quickly followed. Microsoft criticized the recommendation publicly, and said it had no intention of supporting ODF within Office.

Further criticism of the proposal appeared on the FoxNews.com website. Humorously enough, it turned out the author of the critical article, one Jim Prendergast, worked for a Microsoft-funded organization, Americans for Technology Leadership. That association was not noted in the original article but later added by Fox News.

Gutierrez has Romney’s backing to finish the work Quinn started. Updegrove discussed this further in his post:

Clearly, this press release is being used to express the determination of the Romney administration to push through its implementation of ODF. This is doubly significant in a political sense, given that Romney has made no effort to deny that he has forgone running for reelection in favor of nurturing his chances to make a run for the United States presidency.

By underlining his commitment to ODF, Romney may be using the ODF issue to draw a line in the sand, thereby demonstrating that he will neither kowtow to special interests (in this case, Microsoft), nor will he “flip flop” on a policy, once he has committed to it.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Sorry, Microsoft; ODF Lives On In Mass.
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