Special Interest vs Public Interest and ODF

While I read /. on a semi-regular basis, my "affiliation" has a natural bias towards my employer ;)

Anyway, for some reason this post and associated commentary thread held my attention.

Apparently, Massachusetts has been at the forefront of advocating the adoption of open-source ODF (open document format...for those of you who haven't been tracking this issue). The newly elected Governor, Deval Patrick, has appointed a new advisory group which includes a former Microsoft lobbyist. Read the (my) non-paraphrased version here.

Sounds perfectly legit so far. While reading some of the comments about whether this is a damaging in terms of the negative effects of "special" interest groups, in contrast to those political intentions which are in the "public" interest, I started to think (which I admit can by a huge drain on productive time;)).

I think it is generally agreed that MS Office has a 90-something% market share of the software "productivity" suite market. Similarly, ODF "stuff" like StarOffice (or whatever it's called now) has a single digit percentage. Wouldn't this make a pro-Microsoft deployment or standardization in the "public" interest?

MS has submitted the Office Open XML Document Formats to ECMA...which admittedly is not the same (as far as I understand) as ODF. MS has pretty consistently been about interoperability rather than true "open-source" - for better or worse, which I'm too confused at this point to be able to distinguish.

I'm just confused by the whole debate....