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. These new legislative moves follow the decision by Massachusetts to switch to the Open Document Format for its official documents, with sources telling eWEEK that even more states are likely to follow suit if these bills pass. In fact, the ODF Alliance reports that Bloomington, Ind., has already moved to the format, while government leaders from California and Wisconsin have spoken publicly on the value of open standards and/or ODF.