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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TemporalBeing
Member since:
2007-08-22

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.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

You mean like an rfi/rfq/rfp process? I may or may not have worked on a bid preposal.

Do they specify Word 2007 .docx format or just Word.. say.. the almost universal 2003 file format? Also, why would they want it in a Word document in the first place. How about using the converters that save X format as Word2007 files?

Convincing my government to require open file formats probably wouldn't help you much unless your up here with us other northerners.

Requirements of the bid are a real fact of business though. The only bit I'm stuck on is the idea that bids are required in .docx format when the objective is only to be able to open or scan them in through a Word sesson on the receptionists workstation.

Reply Parent Score: 2

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

You mean like an rfi/rfq/rfp process? I may or may not have worked on a bid preposal.

Do they specify Word 2007 .docx format or just Word.. say.. the almost universal 2003 file format? Also, why would they want it in a Word document in the first place. How about using the converters that save X format as Word2007 files?

Convincing my government to require open file formats probably wouldn't help you much unless your up here with us other northerners.

Requirements of the bid are a real fact of business though. The only bit I'm stuck on is the idea that bids are required in .docx format when the objective is only to be able to open or scan them in through a Word sesson on the receptionists workstation.


When they require it to be in Word, its typically because either:

1) They are requiring electronic delivery (e.g. E-mail, FTP, CD, web-site upload, etc.)
2) They are providing an explicit form only available and usable in Word.
3) All of the above

So even if you fax it in, often #2 comes into play. Though most are no longer faxing - they want #1, in which case they want it in Word because that is what _they_ use as an organization - or its what their secretary uses who then puts it into another format (e.g. push it into an internal website), but it's all he or she understands (or all the organization care for them to understand).

Sometimes their internal software that breaks down the proposals only reads one format - Word 2003, Word 2007, whatever. So they do it for that reason.

It's now always laziness on their part - sometimes its just cost effective to continue using that same bid-proposal system instead of rewriting the thing to use a newer format. In either case, it'll likely be years before such systems - which are probably typically built on Microsoft and interact with Microsoft products easier - are ported to ODF, etc. and let the system open up more.

Sad, but true.

Reply Parent Score: 1