In Reversal, Massachusetts OKs Microsoft Office 2007 Format - InformationWeek

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In Reversal, Massachusetts OKs Microsoft Office 2007 Format

Massachusetts' reversal on whether to allow use of OOXML is sure to provoke controversy.

Massachusetts has reversed a policy under which it would not allow state workers to use computer applications containing Microsoft's new Office Open XML file format.

"We will be moving forward to include both ODF [Open Document Format] and Open XML as acceptable document formats," said a statement posted Wednesday on the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology Web site.

The statement was signed by Henry Dormitzer, the state's undersecretary for administration and finance, and acting state CIO Bethann Pepoli.

Previously, Massachusetts officials had indicated they wouldn't endorse Office Open XML for state use because it didn't fit their definition of an open standard. They said they would endorse only the ODF standard -- which is used by the Open Office suite -- and Adobe's PDF format.

Office Open XML is the format used by Microsoft's new Office 2007 productivity suite. The state has said it wants all of its office software to incorporate open standards.

Massachusetts' reversal on whether to allow use of OOXML is sure to provoke controversy. Hundreds of comments submitted to the state during public discussion on the issue urged the state not to endorse the format because of claims it's not truly open.

"For this to be a truly open standard, the standards on which OOXML is based have to be available in their entirety to everyone without the constraints of NDAs, covenants not to sue, or anything else," one individual wrote.

Massachusetts' decision to endorse OOXML follows significant lobbying efforts by Microsoft.

Among other things, the company earlier this year issued a report claiming that the launch of its Windows Vista operating system would create 5,000 new jobs in Massachusetts and add $2 billion in revenue to the state's economy.

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