Just came to know that Commonwealth of Massachusetts included Open XML as an acceptable document format for office applications along with the Open Document Format (ODF).
The Commonwealth continues on its path toward open, XML-based document formats without reflecting a vendor or commercial bias in ETRM v4.0. Many of the comments we received identify concerns regarding the Open XML specification. We believe that these concerns, as with those regarding ODF, are appropriately handled through the standards setting process, and we expect both standards to evolve and improve. Moreover, we believe that the impact of any legitimate concerns raised about either standard is outweighed substantially by the benefits of moving toward open, XML-based document format standards. Therefore, we will be moving forward to include both ODF and Open XML as acceptable document formats. All comments received are posted on this web site.
More information on this is on doug's blog post titled "Massachusetts ETRM V4.0 recommends Open XML and ODF 1.1". I also found its reference on ACTOnline.
Information that traditionally has been presented in text form is increasingly being enriched through the use of multimedia data types such as graphics, audio and video. The variety of data formats used however raises concerns regarding interoperability and accessibility. Given that XML is the cornerstone of the Commonwealth’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) vision of a unified enterprise information environment, it is crucial that the schema used to create XML files meet the open format definition as well. The target state is the ubiquitous use of open formats to capture and store data within applications and in individual data files. - MA ETRM Domain: Information - v 4.0 linked 8/1/2007
If you ask me ..this whole thing makes a lot of sense, multiple standards have been existed historically and this is surely a positive step in enabling greater customer choice.
I am a strong believer of "freedom of choice", for me "free" as in choice is always more important than "free" as in beer (except on weekends ;)). So this news gave me a the goody-good feeling of the week.
At the highest level, the ETRM specifies XML as the core technology to enable data interoperability. After noting that "XML has become the lingua franca of application integration, facilitating application interoperability," the ETRM makes the following recommendation:
"Agencies should consider the use of XML for all projects, and should implement XML, unless there are compelling business reasons not to do so. XML should always be considered when undertaking new work or when beginning a major overhaul of an existing system."
What it has in store for you ? Well, you can easily see the future (IMHO) just by replacing Agencies to organizations .. private, public.. consumer etc.
So, don't wait - and move on to the world of choice, world of coexistence .