Microsoft has edge in open document format battle


A bill introduced last week in the New York legislature would require the state’s IT director to study the issue of using open document formats within government agencies.

If the measure passes, New York will become the latest U.S. state to consider the idea of moving away from Microsoft Corp.’s proprietary Office formats.

But in a significant victory for Microsoft, bills seeking to mandate the use of open formats have been defeated or shelved in five states, and only a much-watered-down version of such legislation was signed into law in a sixth state.

The proposals were backed by supporters of the Open Document Format for Office Applications, including IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Nonetheless, a bill that was introduced in Connecticut met a quick death earlier this year.

And in Florida, Texas and Oregon, would-be laws were all killed off within the past month while being debated in legislative committees, following heavy opposition from Microsoft lobbyists and allies.

The most recent defeat occurred late last month in California, where a toned-down version of a bill in favor of open formats was declared to be stalled in the state assembly’s appropriations committee. That happened despite the fact that the bill’s sponsor — Mark Leno, a Democratic assembly

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