Sorry +Andrew Wyatt
but I didn't realise you had specific involvement/knowledge in that project.
Because I have thought it through further, and I'm even more convinced you are wrong in the general case. It must have been very specific conditions, like the unusually high number of VBScript encumbered documents, that prevented them moving to Opendocument in this case.
In my view the strategy was flawed from the start. Anyone who has spent any time working with OO/LO knows that it is NOT 100% compatible with all of the versions of Word out there. The compatibility is excellent, but there are occasional formatting problems. I can cope with them, but for most people can be highly disruptive. It's simply not a sensible strategy to try to use OO/LO to provide a format compatible replacement for MS Office across a large organisation on an ongoing basis. It would be a massive logistical nightmare (and, it seems, that was the case).
And as for Opendocument, what's the point if no-one is going to use it? We may as well drop it as a format and concentrate efforts with OO/LO in making it as compatible a MS Office clone as we can.
The fact is the only way Opendocument is going to make it as a format is if people use it. Most people are lazy and don't see the benefit. Companies are parochial and risk-averse and it would alienate their customers. Governments are the only way Opendocument stands any chance of adoption: they don't have any direct business customers to piss off and it (usually) fits their goals and mandate.
And, I would suggest, getting their suppliers to switch and dealing with a change in document formats is a far smaller logistical problem than you think. It's certainly a far smaller logistical problem than getting users to manage regular incompatibilities on an ongoing basis as we have seen.
I will point out I have seen a few major transitions of document format in my life (from Wordstar to Wordperfect, and then to Word. Ditto for Lotus 123 to Excel) whilst working for substantial organisations, and I have also experienced large companies completely change out their desktop computer environment (PC to Mac and back again) or email system (Lotus Notes to Exchange/Outlook). There is always some short term pain, but if the strategy is correct and complete, and if it is followed through then it quickly settles and people get used to the new status quo. A major, short-lived change is far less disruptive than sustained management of a problem.