Not surprisingly, Massachusetts has long-standing concerns over Microsoft’s XML schema based document formats and is seeking an open format to preserve current and future documents from patent and other encumbrances by Microsoft. This is actually part of a larger effort to minimize the states dependence on proprietary technologies.
Perhaps one of the most ridiculous parts of this situation is Microsoft’s refusal to support the Open Document format. They already have over twenty different import and export filters in Word. The OD format is similar enough to their not-quite-XML format for it not to be a huge effort for them to create a filter to support OD.
It is pretty easy to see that MS is trying to use it’s market dominance to encumber others intellectual property via their closed, proprietary (and not terribly efficient) document formats.