Fight Microsoft Monopoly – Use Google
Matt Yglesias converted a major OMB spreadsheet from Microsoft Excel format into Google Docs as a service to his users.
It’s a small thing, but I do think it’s true that one thing the government could be doing to reduce monopoly power that doesn’t involve the heavy hand of lawsuits would be to push back against Microsoft’s proprietary standards. You could put data like this up on the web as OpenOffice documents, for example.
A nice gesture and, having briefly been Excel-less after a hard drive wipe and being unable to open several documents, one I’m particularly sensitive to at the moment. On the other hand, I’m not sure that switching from one oligopoly’s products to another oligopoly’s products does much to Fight the Power.
UPDATE: A commenter points out that, while Matt used GoogleDocs, he’s suggesting that the Government use OpenOffice, which is nonproprietary. For some reason, I’ve always conflated OpenOffice and the Google variant.