updated 12/28/2005 9:02:00 PM ET 2005-12-29T02:02:00

Massachusetts' tech adviser is resigning after leading the state to embrace an open, nonproprietary electronic data format that challenges Microsoft Corp.'s dominant Office suite of business software.

Peter Quinn, Republican Gov. Mitt Romney's technology adviser, says the plan is drawing so much attention that it is hurting other state technology initiatives. So he's resigning, effective Jan. 12.

Quinn wrote in an e-mail to state Informational Technology Division staff that it was "readily apparent that I have become a lightning rod with regard to any IT initiative," The Boston Globe reported.

Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Quinn's resignation would not affect plans to have the state's executive offices store records in a new "OpenDocument" format by Jan. 1, 2007.

The goal is to ensure records can easily be read, exchanged and modified decades into the future. "OpenDocument" is proprietary-free, meaning the technical specifications are publicly available and can be used by other developers without licensing restrictions.

Last month, Microsoft pledged to standardize the format for an upcoming version of Office by submitting it to a technical standards body. The Romney administration has said Microsoft's move could reduce the possibility that the state may eventually remove Office software from government computers. (MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Massachusetts is the first state to take the step and is being closely watched by the information technology industry and other state governments.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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