Inside story: How Microsoft & Massachusetts played hardball over open standards
E-mails show that the vendor lobbied for hardball legislation over the file format controversy -- and then backed off.
Computerworld - Less than a week after he became CIO of Massachusetts last February, Louis Gutierrez sensed a serious threat to his power — one that was being promoted by a seemingly unlikely source. Within a matter of days, Gutierrez confirmed that Brian Burke, Microsoft Corp.’s government affairs director for the Northeast, had been backing an amendment to an economic stimulus bill that would largely strip the Massachusetts Information Technology Division of its decision-making authority.
The amendment Burke was promoting had the potential to stop the ODF policy dead in its tracks by giving a government task force and the secretary of state’s office approval rights on IT standards and procurement policies. Gutierrez, who resigned last month over a funding dispute that appeared to be unrelated to the ODF controversy, clearly was rankled by Burke’s involvement with the amendment. Yet he made no attempt to shut the door on Microsoft. On the contrary, he did the opposite.
“While Brian will never be welcome in my office, Microsoft, of course, will remain so,” Gutierrez wrote to Alan Yates, a general manager in the company’s information worker product management group, in an e-mail message that detailed what he had learned about Burke’s lobbying.
The message, sent on March 3, is one of more than 300 e-mails and attached documents obtained by Computerworld under the Massachusetts Public Records Law. The e-mails provide a behind-the-scenes look at some of the hardball tactics used, compromises considered and prickly negotiations that ensued as Gutierrez and Yates each tried to deal with the ramifications of the first-of-its-kind policy calling for state agencies to adopt ODF by Jan. 1, 2007.
The topic of document formats may have an arcane air to it, but it matters deeply to the world’s richest software company. Document formats have played a critical role in helping Microsoft to secure and maintain its dominance of the office-productivity applications market, with more than 400 million users of its Office software worldwide.
“It wasn’t the only reason that people standardized on Microsoft Office, but it was the main reason,” said Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner Inc.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Mobile Applications Case Study: 8 Billion Transactions a Day The story documents how the online brokerage company tradeMONSTER created a custom mobile app and the success gleaned from this initiative. Also covered...
- The Case for Mobile Apps Today's mobile apps turn handheld devices into e-book readers, portable navigation systems, digital wallets and more. And for organizations with mobile workers, they...
- Mobile Expense Management--Picking up the Money on the Ground Integrating and managing mobility expenses across multiple carriers can generate savings and improve organizational decision making.
- Partners in Mobile Device Management: AirWatch & CDW When it comes to Mobile Device Management, it's not just what you know. It's who you know. That's why CDW partners with industry...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts