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[News] It's OpenDocument Format in Massachusetts Next Month

Open XML Format To Be Reviewed By Mass. IT Unit

,----[ Quote ]
| In the meantime, the state government is committed to begin
| using the competing OpenDocument Format beginning January 1.


Microsoft will say it's good to have choice (of formats), but the whole point
of universal formats is to have full interoperability. Choice should be at
_sotware_-level, not standards-level. Too many standards lead to lockins,
thus _less_ choice is available when it comes to software---that which
offers features and merits (or not) and costs money.

Also see:

MS leads lobby against open source (2002)

,----[ Quote ]
| "Microsoft and other software companies are ramping up a lobbying
| effort aimed at convincing governments to think again where it
| comes to adopting open-source software. The Initiative for Software
| Choice, which launched quietly in early May, is chaired by an
| industry body called the Computer Technology Industry Association
| (CompTIA), but its biggest software industry backer is Microsoft."


MA Governor-Elect Names MS Anti-ODF Lobbyist to Technology Advisory Group

,----[ Quote ]
| That person is Brian Burke, the Microsoft Regional Director for Public
| Affairs, and if that surprises you, it surprises me as well, given the
| degree of acrimonious debate and disinformation witnessed in Massachusetts
| over the last 15 months involving the Information Technology Division's
| transition to ODF.... it is my understanding that it was Burke who led
| the lobbying effort on Beacon Hill against ODF, and also urged legislators
| to introduce the amendment intended to take away much of the ITD's
| planning power generally, and as regards standards specifically, and hand
| it to a task force made up of political appointees.... Although I'm told
| that Burke announced yesterday at the first meeting of the new working
| group that he will be participating as a private citizen rather than a
| Microsoft employee, I believe that Burke should recuse himself from
| participating in any discussions or recommendations relating to
| document format standards.


Open Source Foes In Bed With Abramoff


Microsoft offers schools in Mass. free software (to stop ODF adoption)

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft's software includes normal applications, such as word
| processing and spreadsheets, as well as more advanced programs.


Microsoft plays Massachusetts Senate card

OpenDocument not a done deal yet


The Sorry State of Massachusetts

,----[ Quote ]
| So for now, that's the sorry state of affairs in Massachusetts, the
| place where the grand ODF adventure was first given public life more
| than a year ago.  Happily, the wider process of adoption to which
| Massachusetts gave birth is continuing globally.  Perhaps some day
| the bickering legislators on Beacon Hill will get back on the bus.


,----[ Quote ]
|    Quinn:  Almost to a person, to anybody involved or who knows about
|    the ODF issue, they attributed the story to Microsoft, right, wrong
|    or otherwise. Senator Pacheco may be a bully but I do not believe he
|    is disingenious and would stoop to such a tactic. Senator Pacheco and
|    Secretary Galvin's office remain very heavily influenced by the
|    Microsoft money and its lobbyist machine, as witnessed by their
|    playbook and words, in my opinion.
|    Quinn:  I believe that the ODF decision will stand. I believe MS
|    will continue to do anything and everything it can to stop it. And I
|    know my seat wasn't even empty and they (MS) took another shot at
|    the title, to no avail. This horse is out of the barn and I see no
|    way for it to go back in. Remember, all we are asking for was and is
|    for Microsoft to commit to open and the standards process; so
|    everyone looks really bad if the plug gets pulled at this juncture. 


Mass ITD Resolved Accessibility Issues, Adjusts ODF Rollout Details

,----[ Quote ]
| Now let's turn to Dana Blankenhorn's bizarre piece.  First of all, Dana
| (who should know better) picks up and repeats the open source confusion,
| titling his piece Blind leading the way from open source.
|     I'm sure this is just a hiccup, but apparently the blind have given
|     Massachusetts' efforts to mandate open source the shaft.  Because Open
|     Document Format (ODF) software (Open Office) does not yet work with 
|     screen magnifiers, which make computer documents usable by those who  
|     are legally blind, the state of Massachusetts is 
| This is an ancient piece of FUD (mandating open source) that has been
| perpetrated by ODF opponents, and it is discouraging to see it continue
| to appear in venues (such as ZDNet and TechWorld) that have credibility. 


Politics and tech companies: follow the money

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft took first place with $651,100 given out, while
| Hewlett-Packard gave only $185,550, and Gateway gave a paltry
| $2,000. Microsoft's donations certainly illustrate well the true
| size of the company and the extent of its political concerns.
| [...]
| For instance, Microsoft's PAC spent $1.7 million in the 2006 election
| cycle, but only a third of this went to federal candidates. What
| happened to the rest? It went to local campaigns, paid out a few
| thousand dollars at a time to groups like "Boal for Iowa House" in
| Ankeny, IA. It also funded other PACs like the "Associated Republicans
| of Texas" and the "Blue Dog Political Action Committee." No race is
| apparently too small to be funded; even Indiana State Representative
| Terri Austin of Anderson, IN got $500.
| Lobbyists
| But the real money isn't even given to the candidates directly. It
| goes to lobbyists, which can be safer investments since they stand no
| chance of losing at the polls. The complete-year figures from 2005
| show that Microsoft spent $8.7 million on lobbyist expenses. Almost
| a million dollars of that money went to Covington & Burling, a
| lobbying firm that also represents the National Football League and
| the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America. Microsoft's
| total spending on lobbying has risen substantially from the $4
| million it spent in 1998.
| [...]
| Where does it come from?
| Although some of this money comes from large employee donations,
| most of it does not. Take Microsoft, for instance; the Center for
| Responsive Politics says that the company received only $302,599
| from individual donors who gave more than $200 in this election
| cycle, only a small fraction of the $1.7 million actually spent.
| As is typical, much of this money came from the company's top
| brass, while the rest was made up of small contributions.
| The maximum individual contribution to a PAC is $5,000 a year.
| Melinda, whose occupation is listed in Federal Election Commission
| records as "homemaker," regularly contributes this amount, as does
| Bill. Steve Ballmer coughed up, too. Microsoft can use general
| company funds to support the PAC and its operations, but cannot 
| give directly to candidates.


Years of deadlock on EU patent bring some new thinking

,----[ Quote ]
| When Bill Gates visits Brussels on Thursday to speak with
| government officials, software developers and customers, he
| plans to wade into one of Europe's longest-running, most
| fruitless debates: the pursuit of a unified patent system. 
| Gates, chairman of Microsoft, wants a simple system that will
| allow the world's largest software maker and other companies
| to protect their intellectual property in the European Union -
| and profit from licensing their patents.


,----[ Quote ]
| "A source that deals with the company said unofficially that Gates
| proposed Microsoft's Digital Rights Management technology as a national
| standard to fight piracy at the governmental level."


Leaked letter warns of open source 'threat to eco-system'

,----[ Quote ]
| leaked letter to the European Commission has revealed the extent of
| lobbying by proprietary software groups to prevent the widespread
| adoption of open-source software.
| Sent in response to a recent report on the role of open-source
| software in the European economy, Microsoft-funded pressure
| group, the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC) warned of
| potentially dire effects if too much encouragement was given
| to open source software development.


Study: open source needs official support; Lobbyist
disagrees with "flawed" conclusions

,----[ Quote ]
| The study, commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate
| General Enterprise and Industry, is but a small part of the larger
| FLOSSPOLS project that aims to keep the EU a leader in global
| development of open source software.
| [...]
| Now, the ISC is widely regarded as a shill for Microsoft, although
| the member list also includes companies like Intel, Autodesk, and
| RSA Security (now an EMC subsidiary). The 300-strong member list is
| mostly padded with lesser lights such as Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi(
| Turkey), ThreeSixtyDegreez (Pakistan), and Datoprogrammu Apgads
| (Latvia). The institute pushes hard for the right to patent
| software, alongside regular bashings of open source businesses.


Report Says Nonprofits Sold Influence to Abramoff

,----[ Quote ]
| E-mails released by the committee show that Abramoff, often
| with the knowledge of the groups' leaders, exploited the tax-exempt
| status and leveraged the stature of the organizations to build
| support among conservatives for legislation or government action
| sought by clients including Microsoft Corp., mutual fund company
| DH2 Inc., Primedia Inc.'s Channel One Network, and Brown-Forman,
| maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey.


EU official joins consultancy serving Microsoft


US ambassador to the EU was former Microsoft lobbyist

,----[ Quote ]
| Before C. Boyden Gray was named as George Bush's number one person in
| Europe, he was a lawyer lobbying on behalf of Microsoft.


US politicians go to bat for Microsoft


Changing the Report, After the Vote

,----[ Quote ]
| That agreement was nearly imperiled last weekend, though. Gerri
| Elliott, corporate vice president at Microsoft's Worldwide Public
| Sector division, sent an e-mail message to fellow commissioners
| Friday evening saying that she "vigorously" objected to a paragraph
| in which the panel embraced and encouraged the development of open
| source software and open content projects in higher education. 


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