Looks like that fast track had some slick spots...

Microsoft's goal of getting governments across the globe to embrace its Office Open XML format has hit roadblocks in both the United States and abroad.

In the United States, legislation was introduced in Texas and Minnesota the week of Feb. 5 to mandate the adoption of open document formats that will essentially preserve all documents in an open, XML-based file format that is interoperable among diverse internal and external platforms and applications.

The formats will also need to be fully published without restrictions, available royalty-free and implemented by multiple vendors. In addition, they will have to be controlled by an open industry organization with a well-defined inclusive process for evolution of the standard. ...
Adding to the bad news for Microsoft is the fact that 19 countries have submitted "contradictions" to the bid to get fast-track approval of the standard by the International Standards Organization.
Every step of this process has been great fun to watch.  Microsoft seems to have the best spin guys in the world working on this -- their futures in politics are bright.
"In that vein, we encourage them to adopt neutral technology procurement practices so that they have the greatest choice among available technologies, and so encourage competition in the marketplace and get the maximum value out of their IT investments," [Microsoft's Robertson] said. "Mandating a specific document format for government use reduces a government's ability to communicate with its constituents, make the best use of available technology, and promote competition and innovation in the marketplace."
I can't even begin to guess why mandating a specific ISO standard document format reduces ability to communicate.  Isn't that the whole point of standards -- a common method of interoperability?

Link: eWeek: Microsoft's Open XML format hits roadblocks in US, abroad > (Thanks, Henry)
Also see Rob Weir: Merely a flesh wound? >

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