Mass. CIO resigns under fire

Peter Quinn, Massachusetts’ chief information officer, has resigned effective Jan. 12 after proposing earlier this year that the state end its reliance on Microsoft's proprietary Office software for its documentation and instead use open-standard products.

Other governments in the United States and abroad have adopted a similar stance, although Microsoft and its supporters have strongly attacked those moves by claiming that they are potentially costly and unwieldy.

Quinn handled similar attacks, some of which became personal. In addition, a Boston Globe article in November states that Quinn had made unauthorized trips to industry conferences, although an investigation cleared him.

He reportedly quit because he felt the attention on him was detracting from the mission of the Massachusetts Information Technology Division, which he led.

Under Quinn's proposal, the state would start using an open-document format by Jan 1, 2007. The state claims it would cost only $5 million to move to the new software vs. as much as $50 million more to migrate to Microsoft's Office 12, the next-generation product the company plans to introduce later in 2006.

Meanwhile, Microsoft said it will submit its Office Open XML document format, which is used in Office 12, for adoption by the International Organization of Standards.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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