Deciding what kind of software Massachusetts wants to load on some 50,000 state computers may sound like something of interest only to uber-geeks. But that decision could spark a revolution in how software is developed and sold.
The Commonwealth wants to adopt an “open document” standard by 2007. It would allow vital electronic records to be readable far into the future because they wouldn’t depend on a single company’s exclusive product. At the same time, it would create a more competitive software industry.
Among products already compliant with the open-document system are OpenOffice, Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice, and IBM’s Workplace. Any Microsoft product that conformed to the open standard could compete as well.
Is this a significant step or just a blip on Microsoft’s radar? I have tried out OpenOffice and found it to be quite mature and intuitive. However, I have reverted to MS Office along with most of the rest of the world.
[Microsoft] Office has driven out competitors and controls 90 percent of the world market.
Here is the Wikipedia article on the OpenDocument format.