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Watching Microsoft at work

JBZ watches as efforts to move Massachusetts government to an open document standard slowly give way on Beacon Hill to Microsoft's position:

... What drives me crazy is that it doesn't have to be this way. The story on the Open Format vendors' side is considerable, even from a raw political sense. For fuck's sake, Novell is headquartered in Massachusetts. Sun and Novell both maintain a non-trivial number of jobs in the Boston area - especially compared to Microsoft. The 'local company' card could have been played easily. There are an enormous number of professional Linux and open source support consultants who would be eligible to support this initiative, and who directly vote. On the other side of the fence, there are the Microsoft distributors who fear a loss of addictive revenue if the state cuts back its support payments to the MS system.

Classic case of coordination vs. mass. Microsoft fought smart and did the efficient thing - find the most effective local lobbyist, who already has the ties to the political structure, and throw money at him. Let the other side argue about the technology until it's blue in the face; can anyone with any experience with Massachusetts politics honestly say that they believe this fight is about technology at the legislative level? If so, I have a bridge to sell them. ...


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