Massachusetts state government may well be intending to drop Microsoft Corp.'s popular Office software as soon as next year, it was been revealed. The state currently stores documents in electronic formats that were created by a variety of companies, and the state wants Microsoft to adopt the OpenDocument format, which is used in OpenOffice, a free software program. If Massachusetts goes through with this, will be become the first US state to require that all documents be created in an open format. But will Microsoft co-operate?

''We do not believe . . . that the answer to public records management is to force a single, less functional document format on all state agencies," said Alan Yates, general manager of Microsoft's information worker business strategy unit.