Inside story: How Microsoft & Massachusetts played hardball over open standards
The company argued that its new Office Open XML format also merited inclusion in Version 3.5 of the IT division’s Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM), the newly minted open standards blueprint for state agencies. Microsoft even took the rare step of submitting Open XML to the ECMA International standards body in an attempt to show that its format would pass muster as “open.” But to Microsoft’s chagrin, Massachusetts issued only a noncommittal statement of optimism that Open XML would someday meet its standards.
Microsoft’s concerns extended well beyond Massachusetts. Yates told Gutierrez in one e-mail that the state’s mandate carried “a lot of weight” with public policy makers around the world. And he repeatedly complained in his messages to the CIO that Microsoft’s rivals were misrepresenting the state as the “reference case for a mandatory ODF-only policy,” rather than stating its broader goal of embracing open standards in general.
“We think the common external view is that the current policy is etched in stone and [that] Microsoft products and technology are shut out of the Commonwealth unless we agree to neuter our products for awhile,” Yates wrote to Gutierrez in April.
The fact that the ODF policy threatened Microsoft’s business interests wasn’t lost on Eric Kriss, who had paved the way for its adoption while serving as a cabinet secretary under Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In an interview, Kriss said he wasn’t surprised by “the aggressiveness” that Microsoft showed both publicly and privately in pursuing its opposition to the ODF policy.
“I think Microsoft took a good run at trying to change the world as opposed to trying to change [itself],” Kriss said. “And you expect to get the shock and awe when that happens. That’s what we got.”
Kriss, who left his post as secretary of administration and finance shortly after Version 3.5 of the ETRM was issued in September 2005, instigated the open-standards policy based on the belief that public documents shouldn’t be tied to a single vendor’s proprietary document format.
He was no stranger to technology himself. Following a prior stint as the state’s finance secretary, Kriss became CEO of MediQual Systems Inc., a database developer with products based on Microsoft’s FoxPro software. He left MediQual in 1998 to start his own business, Workmode Inc., which uses open-source software to develop Web-based business applications. He makes no secret of his belief that governments eventually will move to open source.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Increase IT Performance from the Enterprise to the Cloud with WAN Optimization Massive consolidation and data mobility, enabled by virtualization, have radically altered how we build servers, design applications, and deploy storage for the emerging...
- Live Webcast
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior This scientific white paper, using statistical data from Amakai's streaming network, analyzes how changes in video quality cause changes in viewer behavior.
- Service-Enabling CICS Applications: Best Practices This informative webcast provides an informed, thorough look into CICS service-enablement options and how they can affect your environment. You'll learn how to... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts