Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 16th Jan 2009 08:45 UTC, submitted by stonyandcher
Features, Office Yesterday we ran a story on how educational institutions defaulting to Microsoft Office may stifle some people who do not own a copy of Office or Windows. A Forrester Research report now states the bloody obvious by claiming that organisations stick with Microsoft Word not out of necessity, but out of habit.
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The initial reason presented was the concern of loosing business because your application for a contract can not be opened and read. A PDF export of your bid solves that problem. Why would the potential customer need to edit the bid document you presented them with?

Obviously you've never worked on a bid proposal. Most state what formats are allowed, typically just Word. And you won't even be considered if your proposal is not within the given guidelines.

This matters greatly for small and medium sized companies since they are very concerned about winning the few proposals they draft as they don't have the resources to go after more than that. Those few are typically to the big companies or other institutions handing out money or projects. So they don't have much choice.

Big companies typically deal with the really big institutions and government. So it's the government in the driving seat.

So, if you really want to change it - get the government to stop requiring their proposals be in Word format. (Yes, I've worked on one!) Talk to the GAO. THEN you can start getting the big institutions that rely on the government (whether defense contractors or not) to use something else and eventually trickle it down to everyone else in the dependency chain.

This is why Microsoft is keen to ensure that the government uses their products, an really doesn't like having to compete on an even ground - and why they have fought tooth and nail over ODF and OOXML the way they have.

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