Microsoft Swarms Legislatures To Stop Progress

Friday, 2007-April-20 at 12:45

Bytesfree » Blog Archives » Notes from JEDE Committee Hearing

Bytesfree reports that California’s bill, AB 1668, has been watered down to become a limited pilot project.

* Just before the hearing, apparently in last-minute negotiations with the committee chair, Arambula, it appears that there were some amendments to the bill. The brunt of this is that the scope of the bill has now been reduced to a “pilot project” involving the state CIO, and a couple of other state agencies. While somewhat disappointing, it’s not unexpected.
* Microsoft is fighting this, and all state initiatives, hard. This is a pitched battle, and they’re bringing all of their ammo. I still say it’s in their best interest to go with the flow, but they don’t appear to listen to me🙂

It seems that the “Men In Black” defeated Florida’s attempt at standardizing on an open file format in just 24 hours.

In Minnesota, Microsoft has also been able to alter the bill. Reading the original text of HF0176 and comparing it with the amended version, the state CIO is merely going to study the issue of electronic documents, with a non-binding recommendation to be made by 2008-01-15. You can watch the progress in Minnesota on the state site.

I urge Californians to both call and write your state Assembly member, perhaps even visit his or her office, to urge that Assemblyperson to support AB-1668 with the wording of the author’s first amended version. This would obviously mean supporting a floor amendment that reverted the text of the bill to this wording. Just as a certain financially-motivated player flooded the Florida legislature with its advocates, we need to flood our own legislature with advocacy for openness.

A good starting point for discussion with your representative is Cyrus Mack’s three arguments at the bottom. I would encourage you to watch the videos of the hearing on the Bytesfree site.

Mack is right: Microsoft is fighting hard to prevent the loss of its monopoly.

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