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Government opens consultation on definition of IT open standards

Computer Weekly - The UK has put its year-old open standards policy up for public consultation after months of opposition from the British Standards Institution and proprietary software vendors.

The move clarifies uncertainty about the coalition government's commitment to the open standards policy it nurtured in opposition, declared in January and made a central plank of its IT strategy in March. But while it suggests the Cabinet Office is prepared for a U-turn, it may raise support from interested parties that have not been represented by the powerful industry lobby that has been pressing for the policy to be diluted.

Computer Weekly has learned that Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) have been lobbying the Cabinet Office to rewrite its open standards policy. Similar lobbying led the European Commission to water down the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), its own open standards policy, last year.

Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, told Computer Weekly the consultation was intended to reach a broader constituency than he had reached through trade association Intellect informally since taking his post in September.