Which Office is Cheaper?

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Get legal. Get OpenOffice.orgThe free one or the commercial one? Alright, so it's a trick question but a fairly legitimate one as Microsoft continues to wage a war against piracy. Let's for a second assume that the person running a pirated version of Office is indeed a criminal and not an innocent bystander that bought it from some OEM email that made it through the spam filters. Do you think they will A) Steal Office 2007 or B) Go legit with OpenOffice? 

This is probably the true indication on whether Office users actually use and appreciate most features available in Office 2003 any beyond. I personally do not use even 10% of things beyond Outlook. I'm a very "IT Basic" user and do not even have PowerPoint, FrontPage, Project and the rest of the extended family installed on my main workstation. For me though, Outlook is the glue that holds them all together. With Microsoft integrating the remainder of their family into each and every app, then integrating the entire platform into live.com it would seem that the 10% will shrink to even less.

I've looked at Open Office time and time again and I just do not like it. It feels like Claris Works that we were forced to use on Mac's because the school system made a poor purchasing decision and trained its students on something they will never see in the real world. But in spite of that, I hold on to my Outlook. I use notepad more than I use Word, yet I have this $500 thing on my desktop. So OpenOffice folks, please, why don't you take a lesson from Microsoft interface design team and make OpenOffice 2 look more like Office 2003. If people didn't know there was a difference in what they are looking at (like Firefox), perhaps they would not see the difference and actually switch.

5 Responses to Which Office is Cheaper?

  1. Al Gunzman says:

    I’ve switched a few and gave some Office where they were on the sideline just to win the bid. I explained it in the same way you did. What helped was that they were not considering a server and I’ve gone as far as offering “Free Office Software” with new workstations which provides me a bit of a large margin.

    I’ll agree that customers do not ask for the full Office functionality but they generally have no problem paying for it. Now XP Home to XP Pro upgrades is the area that kills a lot of deals.

  2. Tim Barrett says:

    I got a chance to install Open Office on some pro bono work I did two weeks ago, and I’ve gotta admit – it ain’t bad. It ain’t good either if you’re a Microsoft Office Ninja, but for the average Joe or Jane using only 5% of Office anyway, it spanks.

    That said, I will agree that it feels a little ‘1998’, but compared to a BSA fine, its a steal. (Pun intended).

    Like AVG or ClamWin, OpenOffice isn’t top-notch, but it’s a lot better than running naked, illegal, or both.

  3. Chandana says:

    I’m going to go along with Tim on this and say that while I was not very impressed with it, the darn thing works and works well enough to replace most of office out there. Even though we’re in 2006 you’d be shocked how many are running 97. I don’t forsee a chance to sell 2007 Office or Office 2007 😉

  4. happyfunboy says:

    i gave a presentation on outlook last week to 50+ people for our local chamber’s technology series.

    most had never seen the 2003 version at all, since they were using 2000 or older.

    *shakes head*

  5. vlad says:

    This is the same thing I’ve been seeing as well. Microsoft continues to innovate in the direction of connectivity and integration but I honestly do not see a big takeup at all. If the customers cannot see value in something as simple as SharePoint you can probably forget about Unified Messaging, SharePoint Portal Server, etc.

    This kind of smacks in the face of recent conversations on “Why are we unemployed” Yahoo boards over what the future will have for the SMB consultant and the answer is clear – Not much. Small business is all about small price. You generally do not see the “lets squeeze every bit of productivity” until you hit medium size business and the integration is not even looked at until you have multiple departments that need an excuse to schedule meetings and avoid work. Who said IT is not fun?


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