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Is OpenOffice.org a Threat? Microsoft Thinks So 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the peter-those-are-cheerios dept.
Glyn Moody writes "Most people regard OpenOffice.org as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, and certainly not a serious rival. Microsoft seems to feel otherwise, judging by a new job posting on its site for a 'Linux and Open Office Compete Lead.' According to this, competing with both GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org is 'one of the biggest issues that is top of mind' for no less a person than Steve Ballmer. Interestingly, a key part of this position is 'engaging with Open Source communities and organizations' — which suggests that Microsoft's new-found eagerness to 'engage' with open source has nothing to do with a real desire to reach a pacific accommodation with free software, but is simply a way for Microsoft to fight against it from close up, and armed with inside knowledge."
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Is OpenOffice.org a Threat? Microsoft Thinks So

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  • by misfit815 (875442) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:22AM (#30592448)

    ...its GUI is more like Microsoft Office pre-2007 than Microsoft Office 2007 is, and I have never gotten used to the 2007 interface.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:38AM (#30592542)

      My 5 year old niece uses W2007, how hard can it be? Personally I hate all them GUIs, never got the point, only editor I need is nano or a good old typewriter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It can be surprisingly difficult. I'm wondering a few things though: does you 5 year old niece use sections, macros, table of contents, or any advanced aspect to Word? I doubt it somehow, which suggests to me that they don't use advanced features.

        • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:47AM (#30592606)

          99% of people couldn't care less for the advanced features in anything.

          • by rtaylor (70602) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:10AM (#30592812) Homepage

            99% of people want 1 advanced feature in their word processor. Thing is, they all want a different advanced feature which the other 98% will consider unnecessary.

            • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:14AM (#30592850)

              And that's why we have extensions. Putting everything in at the start just creates bloat.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by sznupi (719324)

              One? From what I can see it's usually more like zero advanced features. Choosing font/etc. while typing, exclusively using Enter and Space for formatting, sometimes Tab; getting lost with punctuations, never even heard of styles - that's the usual state of Word proficiency (and those people put familiarity with it into their CV...)

              Something between Wordpad and Abiword is enough for them.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by LWATCDR (28044)

              And how many people really need a word processor any more?
              People in school and those that write reports at work do and authors as well but that is getting to be a smaller and smaller group all the time. Most business communication has moved to emails as has most personal communication. When is the last time you wrote a letter?
              I would be willing to bet that Office 2000 and OpenOffice both meet the needs of 99% of the users out there. Yes I know that everybody till uses a word processor but I have to wonder

        • by dangitman (862676)

          I'm wondering a few things though: does you 5 year old niece use sections, macros, table of contents, or any advanced aspect to Word? I doubt it somehow, which suggests to me that they don't use advanced features.

          I'm wondering a few things though: did you just answer your own question? This suggests to me that there might be something circular about your logic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by asdf7890 (1518587)

        My 5 year old niece uses W2007, how hard can it be?

        This comment you are replying to is not how hard it is, especially not to a newcomer as you niece, but about familiarity.

        One of the key arguments against MS Office alternatives prior to Office2007 was the inconvenience, and possible financial costs, of retraining for people already familiar with Office. It wasn't that the alternatives were harder to use (Office was no paragon of truly intuitive design and neither were the alternatives so the difference in that respect was a close to naught as makes not odds

        • by dimeglio (456244) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @11:07AM (#30593584)

          The real evil here is not the features of MS Office but how it becomes integrated with third party applications. There are a number of "gold" or "platinum" Microsoft partners providing integration with business systems who will not support anything but MS products as they fear reprimend from MS should they support a product from "the enemy." I think MS should have been split a long time ago.

      • I had a neighbour whose 4, 5 and 8 year old could easily use DOS. Yet so many adults can't use the command prompt and apparently the use of CLI is holding back Linux.

        In the case of learning new things it's not always wise to compare an adult to a child whose mind is actually much more capable of learning new things. Children find it much easier to learn two languages where as adults can struggle at it.

        I've not had a problem with Win 2007 other than I find it ugly and don't care to pay for it while I'm
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrXym (126579)
      ...its GUI is more like Microsoft Office pre-2007 than Microsoft Office 2007 is, and I have never gotten used to the 2007 interface.

      Ooo has an incredibly ugly UI and some glaring usability issues. I think it would win many more converts if it focused on usability for its next release even if it never added a single new feature. Drag the UI kicking and screaming into the 21st century and smooth some of the rough edges in the process. From my own experience, I tolerate the UI simply because the suite is fre

      • by Atraxen (790188)

        I frequently hear the "print-to-pdf" feature touted as a major advantageous feature of Ooo - but with the wide availability of pdf 'printer' programs I don't see this as a feature at all. A separately installed pdf-printer program is available to all other programs (print to pdf from esoteric scientific program, notepad, browser, whatever) instead of tying the feature into Ooo itself. In fact, this seems contrary to the mentality of most programming (and by extension, to the open source movement) logics -

        • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:19AM (#30592912)
          I frequently hear the "print-to-pdf" feature touted as a major advantageous feature of Ooo - but with the wide availability of pdf 'printer' programs I don't see this as a feature at all. A separately installed pdf-printer program is available to all other programs (print to pdf from esoteric scientific program, notepad, browser, whatever) instead of tying the feature into Ooo itself. In fact, this seems contrary to the mentality of most programming (and by extension, to the open source movement) logics - aren't we supposed to want a single copy of code that can be called by any program, rather than code living in a walled garden that is replicated in each program?

          I'm aware of PDF printers and I use them, but none of them are as simple to use. The one built into OpenOffice works with a single click a button, and a file dialog. That's it. Most PDF drivers lead you through 2 or 3 dialogs and fail to pick up the document metadata or hinting stuff like column flow because they're being called as if they're printers. The Impress app also exports presentations as Shockwave Flash files which is also a similarly excellent feature. It would be great if Ooo exported into more formats, things like EPUB for example.

          It certainly doesn't stop you adding a PDF printer driver (such as PDFCreator on Win32) and using it from other apps though.

    • by JamesTRexx (675890) <m.nystrom@[ ]tz.nl ['mbi' in gap]> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:56AM (#30592700) Homepage Journal
      I prefer having a text menu over that ribbon style as well.
      Because I had to support so many different programs I can't develop a memory for all the different shiny icons there are. A few of them are alike, but most are just too different for me to know what's what in any program. So, with simple text menus I can just read and find what I need faster. Icons hold no meaning to me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        That’s because it’s a half-assed solution, that sits between two already crappy starting points: text menus, and icon bars.

        That mouse-controlled icon bars are stupid, in a text processor, should be totally obvious, so I’m not commenting on them.
        And menus are bad, because they are very limited, simple UI elements. No multiple choice, no parameters, no nothing. For that they use modal dialogs. Which are just plainly idiotic.

        The idea of the ribbon came from the more than a decade old InfoBox

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Luckily for me, my company is still using MS Office 2003. I really don't have any need for office software on my home PC, but if the need arises I'll surely go OO.

      I do think Excel is the best spreadsheet out there, certainly the best of the three I deal with at work The other two are Quattro and Lotus, which makes it pretty easy for Excel to excel in the spreadsheet wars. Lotus wants to take over your whole computer like some damned virus. It's the most "in your face" spreadsheet I've ever used, and getting

  • My guess.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:26AM (#30592460)

    Is that while it currently is no threat, they are preparing for the future. Whether or not the threat actually does arise or not is irrelevant, as MS has the money to throw at this minor inconvenience, to attempt to stop it before it becomes a major threat.

  • OpenOffice.org is a threat? I do not think so and here's why:

    1: It looks aged compared to its counterpart from Microsoft

    2: Still takes a while to load and looks ugly!

    3: It's not as featured as Microsoft Office. Those who profess that the 80%/20% rule is what
    matters do not have a clue on how human beings behave.

    4: Most educational institutions and workplaces still accept Microsoft Office as the "default"
    office suite...even for editing simple documents.

    5: Its develo

    • by Bazman (4849) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:51AM (#30592644) Journal

      Rebuttals:

      1. And Microsoft Office looks aged compared to anything I've seen on CSI. I'm not sure I want my office software looking like something I've seen on CSI, so being aged isn't a bad thing. Oh, and get off my lawn.

      2. It takes a while to load because Office has probably already pre-loaded most of itself and just pops up a main window when you open a document. Ever wonder why Windows is so slow to boot?

      3. Yeah, I wish I could do python scripting in Open Office, or save straight to PDF from my OpenOffice Writer, or create equations with LaTeX in my OpenOffice Impress presentations. Oh wait...

      4. Educational Institutions are normally the first to try new things, since they have a higher proportion of geeks in the place. There's also well documented cases of local governments switching to OO.org and Linux. And some switching back after getting sweeteners from MS, but that's the point of the original article. MS sees a threat.

      5. What do you want it to develop into ffs? Emacs?

    • by pmontra (738736)

      2: Still takes a while to load and looks ugly!

      If you're on Linux this will solve any performance problem from the second time you open OO.

      $ sudo apt-get install preload

      More info here [sourceforge.net].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        OO has a Windows option to preload some bits. The difference is it mentions this and asks you if you want to do it where as MS Office just shoves some bit into your startup folder.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)

      It's not a threat to the advanced Office user market, but it is a threat to Microsoft's dominance in the "I want to send a recipe to my friends" type casual users. There's room for both, just like Paint is not a threat to Photoshop but Photoshop is not a threat to Paint.

    • Hey, astroturfing ?

      The points you make can be rebutted, someone already did it, for me the main point is that OO gets the work done, end of story.

      Really, I have something else in my life to do beside running after forced endless Microsoft upgrades...

      Cheers :-)

    • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:07AM (#30592784) Homepage

      1, many MS customers are still using old versions which by definition *are* aged...
      2, looks are not terrible important, and load time less so... in the win9x days when you had to reboot constantly and reload all your apps it mattered a lot, these days people will leave it running all day.
      3, it has a slightly different feature set and in some ways is more featured than the ms offering, that said many customers use old versions of ms and most only use a small subset...

      Remember that when MS took over from wordperfect, it was MS who had the inferior product considered a joke by any serious users of wordperfect...

      Traditionally, using OOo has been considered detrimental because of the prevalence of proprietary ms formats, but this is gradually changing.. And despite the best efforts of MS the world is moving towards more open data formats which makes alternatives to ms seem less risky.

      At the same time, the economy isn't doing so well and companies are looking for ways to cut costs... For many of those companies, IT is a cost and not part of their core business so faced with the choice between several "adequate" products may well go with the cheapest.
      The best product rarely wins, as MS have proved time and time again... It is usually the cheapest or best marketed product which wins. The people making decisions are rarely even qualified to judge which product is best, they will merely choose and expect everyone else to put up with it.
      Staff at such companies will complain whatever you do, but ultimately their complaints will get ignored anyway.

    • It is, for almost all users, inferior, sometimes markedly so.

      However, that doesn't mean that it is not a threat. The punchline is Margins. It isn't good enough for Microsoft to get Office onto a given person or organization's computers. They aren't a charity. It is only good enough if they make money, preferably for them a lot of money, doing so(or, in certain cases, sell it cheaply to reinforce its status as the "standard" for office software). Every time an organization or municipality plays the "Well,
    • by Locutus (9039)
      It looks like they've got one of their guys doing online training here.

      FYI, none of that matters because there are enough people, businesses, and governments using Open Office that it is a threat just for its potential. It is a classic "innovators dilemma" situation. Besides, it also runs across platforms so that one there there puts it on the 'it is a potential threat' list with its uptake bumping it to the 'it IS a threat' list.

      time for a short break from this training session.

      LoB
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435)

      OpenOffice.org is a threat? I do not think so and here's why:

      1: It looks aged compared to its counterpart from Microsoft

      2: Still takes a while to load and looks ugly!

      3: It's not as featured as Microsoft Office. Those who profess that the 80%/20% rule is what matters do not have a clue on how human beings behave.

      4: Most educational institutions and workplaces still accept Microsoft Office as the "default" office suite...even for editing simple documents.

      5: Its development is just t

  • Flip Flop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:33AM (#30592510) Homepage

    The problem is they continually flip flop, one week they are seeking open source interaction and the next week they are attacking it and it's supporters. It all seems to be driven by nothing more than the current marketing image they wish to present. Although it does seem that M$ leans more to open source when they get screwed over by some patent dispute.

    Really for them to put a foot forward they actually need to release their own branded version of a recognised open source software package and adhere to the requirements of the licence, even should their version substantially vary and they choose to host and make it available.

    So what will it be, VLC, Firefox or maybe something Ruby. I think OpenOffice,org or a Linux distribution is way, way to far a stretch for them, they just lack that kind of mental flexibility and out of the box thinking.

    • They are quite consistent. They support Free Software when they talk, and atack it when they act.

      Nothing different from what you should expect, since FOSS is competition and have quite a powerfull "PR department".

    • by selven (1556643)

      Like IronPython?

    • by Atraxen (790188)

      That screams to me that there are two separate groups, each with their own agenda. That happens pretty frequently in large companies/organizations - though it's more fun for most people to describe it as some tactic on the part of MS. Maybe it really is a plot (maybe, they really are all out to get us...), but I prefer to apply Hanlon's Razor...

  • by hodet (620484) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:34AM (#30592514)
    Of course, these two products compete directly with their two big cash cows. OO may not seriously compete today, but these things change and Microsoft can't get complacent. Is it any surprise that they would take any competitors seriously? I think they are smart enough to know that both Linux and OO are strong products and you really only need a few leaders out there to use these things successfully before others start slowly migrating these products into their environments, and what was once guaranteed profits start to trickle away slowly. Even if companies target areas to use these free products in less critical areas this hurts them. I know in our organization we could easily replace some of our 1500 servers with Linux where right now no matter how light the load or low priority the system is we dump W2K3 or 8 on it. We couldn't do it on all, but easily on some and nobody would even notice. The only thing that stops it is fear of the unknown.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:34AM (#30592518) Homepage

    which suggests that Microsoft's new-found eagerness to 'engage' with open source has nothing to do with a real desire to reach a pacific accommodation with free software, but is simply a way for Microsoft to fight against it from close up, and armed with inside knowledge.

    Would it be any different if WHOEVER_MAKES_WORDPERFECT_RIGHT_NOW did this too? Microsoft is not going to reach an "accommodation" with anyone trying to directly steal their business from them anymore than Apple is going to reach an accord with clone vendors, Japanese car companies are going to wink and nod at Chinese manufacturers trying to import cheap cars that use their designs into the US and Japan or any other scenario where an incumbent would "just welcome" competitors.

    Be glad that Microsoft wants to fight in the marketplace first and foremost. 10-15 years ago, if you suggested that Microsoft would fight more or less above board rather than letting slip the dogs of war and running a scorched Earth campaign, you'd have been called a fanboi.

  • Show me something that MS doesn't consider a threat. I mean really, MS' goal has always been dominance of the market for their products, never accepting something less unless forced. A corporation (or person for that matter) in that position must always see everything as a threat. As evidence I offer that they continually push their OS monopoly to help their other products sometimes doing so in an illegal manner so as to shut out competitors rather than compete on the merit of their own products. Someti
    • by dangitman (862676)

      A corporation (or person for that matter) in that position must always see everything as a threat.

      We typically call people who act like that paranoid and mentally unstable. It's not that different for corporations. Responding to real threats is one thing, batting at hallucinations is a whole other kettle of fish. Even corporations need to have some confidence in their ability to survive.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:43AM (#30592568) Journal

    I've been in IT for over 20 years now; and until 7 years ago, Office was my mostly used application. Nowadays though I hardly ever use Word or Excel, I've used Powerpoint more often though. At a hospital I consult; we changed to OOo and after changing the default save format option to the corresponding Office equivalents; the users hardly noticed the difference.

    These days the only application used in offices is the browser, and Firefox has already won the battle and the war on that front.

  • Duh, of course (Score:3, Informative)

    by ewe2 (47163) <ewetooNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:43AM (#30592574) Homepage Journal

    Check the tables at the end of this Comes exhibit [groklaw.net], its Linux/OO (when it was still StarOffice) in every region. Because the target is future developers and government contracts, obviously.

  • by bignetbuy (1105123) <r0ck&operamail,com> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:43AM (#30592576) Journal

    For years, Microsoft has raked in money with Office. It's been THE leading revenue generator for ages with $4.4 billion in 3Q 2009. Office and related business products bring in more money than their Server/OS division. However, that number is trending down to the tune of almost 500 million from the same time last year.

    Maybe it's just the recession. Maybe it was the Vista impact. However, the decline is noticeable.

    Source: MS Annual Reports and Earnings Releases

  • by kclittle (625128) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:47AM (#30592604)
    I have OpenOffice installed on my main PC (XP64), because I don't need much more than the ability to open docs sent to me or that I download. Works fine for what I ask it to do.

    But, my wife, who is an MS Office expert, can't stand it. It is just too limited and clunky compared to Office, she says. So, for her PC, I fork out the $$ and buy Office. Oh, and MS Office is on our shared MacBook.

    For the "serious user" market, OO is not currently a threat to MS Office. But for the casual, "use it once in awhile" market, it is. Now, given Microsoft's history of competing against incumbent, entrenched players by targeting the bottom end of a market and improving over time with increasingly competitive but still cheaper technology, they are probably very sensitive to seeing OO become the easy choice for the entry-level user.
  • by gregarican (694358) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @09:51AM (#30592636) Homepage

    I've recommended OO for a fair amount of home users who are casual users of office productivity software. For those folks it's _okay_ and fits their needs. Albeit the OO suite isn't lickety-split fast in terms of launch and whatnot for "Joe Six Pack" you can't beat free for someone who's looking to type up a quick letter, create a quick budget spreadsheet, or whip up a simple school presentation.

    That being said, I've also tried implementing OO for my business users, in cases where their new PC's didn't come pre-loaded with Microsoft Office. I would preface their introduction to OO by mentioning that most of the familar menu commands and navigational elements were practically identical. A few weeks later I had no choice but to ante up and purchase full versions of Microsoft Office. Power users in a business environment required elements outside the scope of "Joe Six Pack." Anything from VBA to macros to other features weren't available or else didn't work as expected. And yeah, having budgeted expense goals had me wanting to purchase more Microsoft Office licenses like I'd want a hole in the head. :-/

    And I know there are navigational and feature issues upgrading users from Office 2003 to 2007. I know with a mixed version environment opening documents is a PITA, and saving documents can result in formatting FUBAR's. Frankly I am dreading when I myself have to make the jump. That is almost as daunting as trying to migrate my power users at work to OO. Still all things taken equal it apparently will be awhile until OO is really an equal competitor, although it's closer than it was back in the days with Sun's Staroffice 5.x and whatnot.

    Perhaps Microsoft is just keeping OO in its rearview mirror to protect its interests. Although the hints of Microsoft's covert infiltration into FOSS circles (while supposedly doing so for collaborative purposes) reeks of insidiousness. Now the cat's out of the bag I wonder how many FOSS projects will welcome them?

    • by dbIII (701233)
      There are really only three limitations - that people are used to a different program, if you want to run macros from the other program or if you want to import information created in the other program. Beyond that the differences are effectively cosmetic.
      I don't understand why anyone thinks either suite is special. It's a simple word processor not a desktop publishing program, a simple spreadsheet with a basic and confusing to use graphing package, and a toy single user database. The graphing is so bad
  • Isn't that what soldiers do with the enemy?

  • What if after all is said and done, (brace yourself) it was revealed that (steady, don't let this shock you)Microsoft was a company in it for the money!? (Gasp!)
  • OpenOffice Word Document Table Parsing Heap Overflow Windows XP (Service Pack 3, [++]) 3.0-9358 3.0-9358 3.0-9358 51 Upgrade to OpenOffice 3.1.1

    That was just one of the vulnerabilities Foundstone sees. I would have more examples, but we scrapped OpenOffice off the network about a month or so ago, as OpenSource software is forbidden at our company for legal reasons. Apparently someone reinstalled it.

  • Windows, Office, and X-Box. Even if you don't think OO is much of a contender, the fact is that it's threatening 1/3 of their income-producing capability. It's in their best interest to fight it now.

  • by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:03AM (#30592746) Homepage

    Sounds pretty normal for Microsoft.

    I use IBM's Lotus Symphony [lotus.com] package, myself. Good support, and it "looks" far better than OpenOffice (which sometimes makes all the difference when you're trying to convince someone to use it. That, and it's got native Mac, PC, and Ubuntu versions.

  • our big barrier (Score:4, Informative)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:16AM (#30592864) Homepage Journal

    I work at a medium size non-profit, and a couple of years ago I tried to get all of us to change to oo.org. I still use it for all my own use instead of ms office but everyone else rebelled and I had to drop it as an idea.

    Like I said, it's been a couple of years now, and when we tried it what basically killed the whole thing is its problem doing mail merges. Arguably it had a BETTER interface to databases than any office product, but the problem is that everyone here has no technical inclination except for me and it requires thought. Plus back in version 2 it was buggy and it wouldn't match up formatting correctly. At lot of the research I did at the time pretty much seemed to indicate that the oo.org staff didn't care much about getting mail merges to work and it wasn't much a priority.

    Maybe someone here can bring me up to date on any progress in this area. I hope that at some point oo.org can provide a really simple mail merge "wizard" (I hate that term) that works with spreadsheets that the plebeians can understand along with a database interface that can give programs like Crystal Reports a run for its money...

  • When you're at the very top, and your business model has come to depend on having 80%+ of the market share, even a small competitor can be a real threat. Even if Openoffice were to capture just 10% of the market, it would be a huge blow to Office's profits (and Office is one of MS's real cash cows, along with Windows). This isn't like IE and Firefox (MS doesn't make money off IE, it certainly does off Office).
  • Most people regard OpenOffice.org as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, and certainly not a serious rival.

    It is not about the performance of the product, it's about performance-per-dollar. And the question the customer should ask himself is is not "does this product do everything" the question he should ask is "does this product to what I need it to do." And the issue is not the present but the future, not about whether Microsoft Office is "better" than OpenOffice now, but whether OpenOffice gain

  • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:29AM (#30593046)

    which suggests that Microsoft's new-found eagerness to 'engage' with open source has nothing to do with a real desire to reach a pacific accommodation with free software, but is simply a way for Microsoft to fight against it from close up, and armed with inside knowledge.

    There are many reasons to acknowledge a threat, and I'm not sure getting up close and personal is the tree that they are barking up here.

    If Microsoft were to go around saying they they had no threats worth considering it would look like they have little competition and bring them under greater scrutiny from a monopoly policing point of view. Also such hubris would look iffy to current and potential inverters - investing in a company that is, or seems to be, resting on its laurels is not a good long-term strategy especially in a market where there are alternatives currently available (whether they are acknowledged by said company or not).

    Ignoring the more cynical interpretations above for a moment: knowing the competition is important to any business. Whatever your opinion of the strengths (absolute or relative to other products) of OO.o it is a competitor in that particular market and MS would be foolish not to recognise that and be seen to be appropriately aware of the situation.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @10:51AM (#30593318)

    That summary was the most biased, paranoid rambling that I've ever seen. You might as well followed it up with a paragraph about how Microsoft uses those little plastic strips in $20 bills to track you when you go through airport scanners, so they know whether to equip your plane with chemtrail equipment before redirecting it to land in the secret tunnel between Washington D.C. and Area 51.

  • by vakuona (788200) on Wednesday December 30, 2009 @11:32AM (#30594016)
    It has struck me how much more affordable Microsoft Office has become over the last few years for home use. A lot of this is no doubt because Openoffice.org is good enough for most people. Soon, Microsoft may be forced to give it away for home use, or sell it for a true pittance, and depend on business sales to make any money from Office. Microsoft's biggest threat on the Office front is that Openoffice.org (or another free office suite) becomes good enough that users don't want to pay extra for something they do not do much more than simple documents and simple spreadsheets with. I wonder why Dell et al are not offering users such an option. Microsoft is also experimenting with ad supported Office to try and counter the free office suites.

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