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Why Microsoft Is So Scared of OpenOffice

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the run-for-the-hills dept.

Microsoft 421

GMGruman writes "A recent Microsoft video on OpenOffice is naively seen by some as validating the open source tool. As InfoWorld's Savio Rodrigues shows, the video is really a hatchet job on OpenOffice. But why is Microsoft so intent on damaging the FOSS desktop productivity suite, which has just a tiny market share? Rodrigues figured out the real reason by noting who Microsoft quoted to slam OpenOffice: businesses in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe that aren't already so invested in Office licenses and know-how. In other words, the customers Microsoft doesn't have yet and now fears it never will."

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I'd be scared too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929002)

Oracle might try to kick Microsoft out of a meeting, too.

Re:I'd be scared too (3, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#33929692)

Scared is the word. From the TFA, apropos Microsoft's video ad (Silverlight or WMV if you please): "However, the quotes are far from balanced and indicate a subtle attempt to dismiss OpenOffice in the guise of a fair discussion."

That is completely wrong.

There is nothing subtle about it. Unless you consider being bludgeoned by someone screaming "Give Me All Your Money Or I'll Go Broke" subtle, that is. Pretty much every statement made in it is at best a half-truth, and more commonly an outright lie. This kind of hysterical trolling is the kind of thing we expect from the losing side in a political campaign, and it's an ugly look.

It's because.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929014)

Niggers don't have to steal office now.

Re:It's because.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929112)

you're a racist asshole, perpetuating the myth that niggers steal. I mean, sure they steal, but they don't steal software. Why would they want Microsoft Office? Have you ever seen a nigger doing office work? (No, nigger janitors don't count). Maybe there's a nigger cow or two but she can't type for shit with those 6-inch fingernails! Microsoft's spell checker is good, but it can't convert ebonic nigger speak into English.

Re:It's because.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929356)

Is it still trolling if it's true?

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929016)

first

Re:first (0, Offtopic)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 4 years ago | (#33929030)

actually you were third.

Open office != MS Office (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929020)

Once Open Office (particularly Calc) can compete with Microsoft in terms of performance, stability, and features, then and only then will Microsoft need to worry about Open Office.

Re:Open office != MS Office (2, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | about 4 years ago | (#33929078)

Once Open Office (particularly Calc) can compete with Microsoft in terms of performance, stability, and features, then and only then will Microsoft need to worry about Open Office.

Ballmer is that you?

Re:Open office != MS Office (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 4 years ago | (#33929114)

A Honda Civic cannot compete in every way with a Hummer.

And yet, a lot of people find it does well enough for the price.

I'm sure many would like a Bugatti Veyron too. But since the support costs are too high, they usually go with a less expensive car without such high required costs.

Re:Open office != MS Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929238)

I realize you're probably just trolling, but in what way can Open Office not compete with MS Office?

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Interesting)

SudoGhost (1779150) | about 4 years ago | (#33929304)

The ONLY thing I've seen Office do better than Open Office is macros. I'm a huge D&D nerd, and HeroForge won't work with Open Office.

But that's a very specific thing, and other than that I haven't come across anything, so I just don't sue HeroForge. That isn't accurate of the general population I'm sure, and others may find faults with Open Office that I haven't, but that's just my personal experience.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 years ago | (#33929322)

I realize you're probably just trolling, but in what way can Open Office not compete with MS Office?

And GIMP is every bit as good as Photoshop, if not better, right? Right?

Re:Open office != MS Office (2, Insightful)

rjch (544288) | about 4 years ago | (#33929670)

And GIMP is every bit as good as Photoshop, if not better, right? Right?

For me? Yes, it is. For a professional graphics editor? No, absolutely not.

The difference between the comparisons is that very few people need all the features of the M$ Office suite. Very, very few people need the really advanced features in Word or Excel. Macros are one exception - and 90% of applications I've seen developed as macros should never have been developed as macros in the first place.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929400)

I realize you're probably just trolling, but in what way can Open Office not compete with MS Office?

The GP specifically called out OO Calc. I have tried to use OO several times, in both business (engineering) and academic environments. In my experience, Calc is an abomination -- it crashed so frequently on me that I wondered if I was using a finished version of the software. I love the idea of FOSS, but for a power user of Excel, OO is a joke.

The difference between Calc and Excel isn't so much in the number of features, but stability, plain and simple. For someone who does data analysis or graphing large datasets, every crash is extremely frustrating. You might argue that neither Excel nor Calc are "serious" engineering tools -- but both advertise a set of features (such as linefitting and formatted plots), and in Excel the implementation is (roughly) usable and Calc is a horrorshow of bugs.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Interesting)

Grey Ninja (739021) | about 4 years ago | (#33929488)

The company I work at has Office installed on everyone's computer. I generally use Excel, since that's the default for spreadsheets on my PC (too lazy/apathetic to change it). However, whenever I have to deal with some complex data, I will always use Calc. Why?

I will log a bunch of program output from my software (such as memory allocations), and I want a simple way of sorting them by file and line number, then I can see the ones that I really want. I could write a tool for this of course, but I would rather take an extra minute to do it by hand, as this doesn't come up that much. But importing arbitrary data (not comma separated but separated by words/spaces/newlines/various) is a pain in the ass in Excel. It involves saving it out as a txt file then importing. Calc will simply pop up a box asking what your delimiters are.

I've never had Calc crash on me, and I honestly don't know what the problem is. In fact, I've never seen any reason to use Office over OpenOffice. Granted, I spend more of my day in Notepad++ than Office, but still. People keep citing macros, but that just seems like an abomination to me anyway. Good riddance.

Re:Open office != MS Office (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#33929708)

The difference between Calc and Excel isn't so much in the number of features, but stability, plain and simple.

Oh dear. Heads up, guys - We've woken up Microsoft's PR department, and the shills are having to earn their keep again.

I've been using OpenOffice since, well, since it was StarOffice, and stability has NEVER been its problem. Startup time used to be slow, but now it's pretty much equal to (or maybe a bit quicker than) MSOffice.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 years ago | (#33929366)

Ballmer is that you?

Oh good grief. You don't use Office-like tools in a professional setting, do you? Otherwise you would not make such absurd comments. The facts are that Excel and Excel macro capabilities are one of the main reasons that businesses use the Office suite. And, OO (like with GIMP and Photoshop) simply does *NOT* measure up. Yet.

It's *NOT* about being a Microsoft "shill", it's a matter of being realistic and understanding that the Open Office product doesn't *YET* measure up in terms of professional standards and needs, what people that use such products in a serious business setting need.

Seriously, idiots like you hold Open Source back.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33929402)

It's *NOT* about being a Microsoft "shill", it's a matter of being realistic and understanding that the Open Office product doesn't *YET* measure up in terms of professional standards and needs, what people that use such products in a serious business setting need.

For the one percent of people who actually _need_ them.

For the other 99%, Open Office is fine.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | about 4 years ago | (#33929446)

The thing is, there are all sorts.

There -are- businesses which use Excel for the features. That is, they use features that are hard to use, or nonexistant in OpenOffice.

But there are -also- a lot of businesses that use Excel because, honestly, they've never honestly considered the fact that there even exists alternatives. Many of them never use formulas more advanced than basic arithmethic and perhaps SUM(..) - but nevertheless fork over the cash for Excel for their entire staff.

The former can't easily swap, but the latter could. And there's a lot of excel noobs, for every Excel guru, out there.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Insightful)

Knightman (142928) | about 4 years ago | (#33929472)

I abhor the use of macros in Excel because companies that use Excel usually ends up building datamining tools or some complex spreadsheets that calculate whatnot related to their business. They are usually a big mess of macros and VBA that ends up being supported by the internal IT-department and is one big headache. And just to make it more fun they can have some badly implemented Access "database" coupled to the spreadsheets.

Being able to do macros and/or script applications is usually a good thing since it can automate a lot of tedious work, and if properly implemented it wouldn't be a problem, but the majority of "applications" in Excel is just horrific in my experience. Usually someone makes something "nifty" then it spreads to the whole department and suddenly it's something that has to be supported and the feature creep sets in.

That's my experience anyway.

Re:Open office != MS Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929750)

I abhor the use of macros in Excel because companies that use Excel usually ends up building datamining tools or some complex spreadsheets that calculate whatnot related to their business. They are usually a big mess of macros and VBA that ends up being supported by the internal IT-department and is one big headache. And just to make it more fun they can have some badly implemented Access "database" coupled to the spreadsheets.

Being able to do macros and/or script applications is usually a good thing since it can automate a lot of tedious work, and if properly implemented it wouldn't be a problem, but the majority of "applications" in Excel is just horrific in my experience. Usually someone makes something "nifty" then it spreads to the whole department and suddenly it's something that has to be supported and the feature creep sets in.

That's my experience anyway.

If your IT department is supporting user-created macros then your company has a lot bigger problems than what brand of office software you use.

Re:Open office != MS Office (0)

virtuosonic (1880050) | about 4 years ago | (#33929532)

Seriously, idiots like you hold Open Source back.

yep

Re:Open office != MS Office (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33929082)

Once Open Office (particularly Calc) can compete with Microsoft in terms of performance, stability, and features, then and only then will Microsoft need to worry about Open Office.

Probably 90% of people use Office for basic word processing and the occasional basic spreadsheet, for which a ten-year-old version is overkill.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929192)

It's been competing like that for a long time. I've actually used it at work, and there is little that one can do that the other can't. As for the Eastern Europeans, Well, they do try MSOffice, but the "free" version, and when they want to go legal, instead of buying a licence that costs as much as two months worth of minimum wage, they look to alternatives and take the obvious choice.

I live in Eastern Europe, I used both at work. My employers have done what I've written above, just like many others.

Re:Open office != MS Office (2, Informative)

lexidation (1825996) | about 4 years ago | (#33929632)

I live in Eastern Europe, too. I process text for a living. That means I take in fairly massive numbers of documents from businesses every week. I've never seen a file arrive in native OpenOffice format. Not once. Of course, everybody could be using OpenOffice to export as .doc, but I don't think so.

The truth is simpler. As the post above notes, MS Word is still ungodly expensive here – in Microsoft's shortsightedness, during the 1990s and later, it did indeed cost several months' average salary. The result has been a well-entrenched tradition of using the "free" version of Word. Even at the Ministry level, in at least one prominent case. Getting around an absurd system is also a very old tradition, for obvious reasons.

So the problem OpenOffice faces in catching on here is very definitely one of taking on another free-of-cost competitor. And in a region where people want so badly to catch up with the West, Microsoft has the cachet that comes with being perceived as the Western standard.

With a zero cost differential, the choice will seem clear to a lot of people. It's a very difficult perception to beat.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33929420)

In most economies some 95% of companies and at least half of all employment is in SMEs. >90% of those companies will also never use any of the advanced features MS office has, and OOo is missing. Even sharing documents (as in: opening at the same time for editing - I once tried but failed in a recent version of OOo Calc; no idea on how MS Office is doing there) is often not done.

In large businesses I wouldn't be surprised if >90% of the users doesn't use those features. They probably don't even know it exists.

Actually I think 99% or more of the Office users wouldn't be able to name a feature that does not exist in the other suite, even if you would let them use both for a year for normal work, office and home.

We have to be realistic indeed (MS seems to be): how many people know what a macro is, and how to use it? What VB script is, or how to use it?

Re:Open office != MS Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929578)

You're presuming all 90% use the same features. In actuality, 90% of businesses use the same 10% of Office features, plus a different 1% from everyone else. Thus, nearly 100% of all Office features are used.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1)

tuaris (955470) | about 4 years ago | (#33929298)

If they would only fix the "arrow" cursor to a "cross" in Calc I would be happy.

Re:Open office != MS Office (2, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | about 4 years ago | (#33929310)

Why? The arrow is the standard pointing cursor, the cross adds nothing to the usability.

Re:Open office != MS Office (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33929328)

Amusingly enough, I had to switch spreadsheets to Calc from Excel because of interface scripting issues in Excel. Using Autohotkeys to script simple tasks is by and large easy, but Excel fails to queue up UI-level commands properly. Hence, "Down Down Down" sometimes is interpreted as "Down Down" or just "Down." Calc, on the other hand always interprets this as 3-downs each and every time.

While Excel's internal scripting seems fine, sometimes you just need to write a throwaway script that pulls from disparate data sources, formats it separately, calculates through a spreadsheet, and filters the results into another random application. For that, Calc was just more solid.

Re:Open office != MS Office (5, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | about 4 years ago | (#33929486)

Once Open Office (particularly Calc) can compete with Microsoft in terms of performance, stability, and features, then and only then will Microsoft need to worry about Open Office.

I have found Calc indispensible for it allows me to cut tables from browsers and paste it into a spreadsheet, and have it import perfectly. This has been of huge value to me. This does not work at all in Excel. Furthermore, I have found Excel to be a nightmare in its insistence on being "clever" and knowing better than me what is or should be in my document: insistently turning text that it thinks looks like email and web addresses into live links (something I have never wanted in my life), destroying text it thinks looks like dates into a non-recoverable form, its apparent inability to mix numbers (as text) and numbers (as numbers) in a single spreadsheet without nightmarish manual work-arounds, etc.

I have used Excel since before it was Excel (i.e. when it was still MultiPlan) and have found long ago that it passed the point of adding value and (as with most MS products) began adding misery instead. I happily use Calc and loathe having to fire up Excel now.

Obvious (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929054)

This was obvious. Word has such domination in Western markets that an ad campaign against open office would be 100% gaurenteed to damage microsoft's market share in both short and long term. Having read the previous article, I thought it must have to do with Eastern Europe where open source alternatives are more widespread, otherwise I could only think that the genius behind this campaign had something against his employer; attacking its most valuable LOB.

Re:Obvious (4, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | about 4 years ago | (#33929154)

Whether or not this is obvious, there's an interesting point here. This ad will be circulated far wider than its original target market. This suggests that this will help Open Source here in the US.

Indeed, one of the key uses I have for this sort of thing is SELLING FOSS. My approach is to look at this carefully and determine how one can use it. While this is less useful than the old Get the Facts campaign, it does provide some fodder for FOSS consultants. First, the fact that Microsoft is attacking it is significant. Secondly, the problems discussed are real ones for some customers. Understanding the problems and how to avoid them is key to make a migration work. Saying "don't let this happen to you. Use MY services!" is a very powerful thing.

Moreover it addresses a number of issues, including "who will fix it?" ("I will if you pay me to!")

Re:Obvious (4, Interesting)

scdeimos (632778) | about 4 years ago | (#33929458)

On the "who will fix it" I found this quote FTA interesting:

"I need something I can rely on. If an open source based system breaks, who's going to fix it?" -- Jeff Cimmerer, Director of Technology, Pittsford School Districts

The whole idea of Open Source is that it's open for anybody to fix it. If you've got the skills you can fix it yourself. If you're a business with a genuine interest in the FOSS you think is broken, but don't have the skills to fix it yourself, you can at least log a bug report if not hire someone to fix it for you if you consider it urgent.

Yes, you can also log bug reports with Microsoft for their software. But you're still at the mercy of Microsoft to actually get it fixed - trawl support forums about Microsoft's ClickOnce deployment system for .NET Framework 2.0 or later and you'll understand that Microsoft is quite willing to acknowledge the presence of bugs (and anti-features) and, strangely, also willing to publicly acknowledge that they have no intention of fixing them. Ever.

I've logged the same bug on Windows Find/Search since Windows NT 4.0 and yet it still isn't fixed in Windows Vista/7. (You can get search matches from unicode text files using the command line find tool, but Windows Find/Search cannot find those same matches - it only understands ASCII/ANSI test files.)

Re:Obvious (2, Interesting)

ThePromenader (878501) | about 4 years ago | (#33929672)

Right on.

Don't forget that MS owes its fortune to its 'educating' the western world to its products while it was an emerging computer market - but, different from today, users then had little choice - the 'first' (later, 'most popular') product out there is most likely to be learned first, a trend that led to the 'interoperability market lock' MS has over western users today. Emerging computer markets today, on the other hand, do have other choices: this is what scares MS, as if they can't use their initial 'educate, majority rules' marketing strategy that has worked so well until now, they will fail - and utterly. Today new users can and ~will~ compare products for their capabilities, and make the most economic choice. Throw into that MS' dear price and OpenOffice's 'free-ness' - and go figure. In short, for emerging markets, and perhaps for the first time in its history, MS can depend only on the performance of its product to justify its price.

Which also brings into question our way of determining the 'value' of software - On one hand we have MS and its 'old market' values ("here's the tool, this is the price"), and on the other we have the Open Source movement giving their products out 'for free'. I see fault in both - the first depends on a consumer's 'tech ignorance' to take as much money as they 'can' from him (the software's price is not determined on how much work it took to create it), and the second... well, I see the value of the system as a whole (development, de-bugging, feature requests & updates), but I don't see how they can make money enough to keep it going, especially as it grows. So here as well, an emerging market user's choice is a confusing extreme: overpriced or free.

So, if MS is trying to sell into a market where it doesn't already have inter-operability dominance, and there exists a similar product for free, I can see reason for their fear - especially before shareholders expecting continuously increasing profits: the western world is saturated with MS products already.

The 'why' is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929062)

Microsoft is afraid because they haven't adjusted their business practices for 15 years. They need Office to sell Windows and all of the other productivity and development software they make. Without Office everything else looses its selling power.

But I was told OO is bad and Libre is way to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929070)

So, what's my party line now?
Give me the talking points ASAP.

Re:But I was told OO is bad and Libre is way to go (2, Insightful)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | about 4 years ago | (#33929122)

No, you were told Oracle was bad and and their commitment to OOo is a coin flip. Libre is just a way to settle the "who will support the open source nature of the program now?" No talking points needed for bad recall abilities.

Less piracy from (4, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | about 4 years ago | (#33929080)

younger people means less MS Office users when those people grow up which means smaller market share whether by install base or brand name recognition. If I was in my teens/20's right now and I had an option for running pirated PS or GIMP I'd go with GIMP. Same with office I'd rather go and download OO right off the site then spend days trying of warez versions which could possible have infected my computer.

Re:Less piracy from (0, Offtopic)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | about 4 years ago | (#33929136)

I dnt no abt that. I wld gess the prgrm that can trn this to a legble respns will be the savir for our new tnns of tday.

Re:Less piracy from (1)

furgle (1825812) | about 4 years ago | (#33929378)

If I was in my teens/20's right now...

If i were in my teens right now, Id be doing the same thing as my friends around me, I would really be making a choice based on mostly a social logic.I'd also be making really strong opinions about subject I know very little about, only to consider them again in my 30's.

Personally I don't think teens care about whether something is open source(yes the unpopular, "know it all" ones do) . So the solution : Parents give your teens Open Office and Gimp and if you get in on the ground floor, their friends will follow. If not your teen will probably be pirating the software they want to use anyway.

Re:Less piracy from (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 years ago | (#33929460)

Gimp used to be cool, 10 years ago. Now Gimp sucks, at least on the Mac. I can get better (if not more processor-efficient) functionality from Inkscape, also for free.

It's amazing to me. Today's mac-version Gimp almost seems designed to make things difficult. 6 different select tools, and not one of them lets you just select a single object.

Re:Less piracy from (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33929554)

It's amazing to me. Today's mac-version Gimp almost seems designed to make things difficult.

I believe you'll find that's true of all versions of Gimp, not just the one for Macs :).

Re:Less piracy from (5, Interesting)

Dhalka226 (559740) | about 4 years ago | (#33929484)

And you would still be in the minority.

I know a lot of people in their teens or twenties who are extremely interested in, shall we say, the visual arts. They love making music videos and video editing, logo design, website design, etc. One of them is finishing up a degree in marketing degree, the other is finishing up high school now and is already accepted into a design school, another is younger than them (friends of brothers etc) yet highly interested in web development. Never has the word "GIMP" entered any of their vocabularies. Never.

OpenOffice they are familiar with its existence, which it still didn't stop them from, for example, going out and buying the Mac version of Office when they bought their cool new Macs a year or so ago despite recommendations from me that they could at least wait and get by with OO for a bit while their wallets recovered from the purchase. And I don't mean clicked the "Sure, sell me Office too!" box, I mean literally drove to the store and bought it. (I was visiting one of them at the time.)

Yes, it's anecdotal but it's also real. They don't care about ideologies; they want to use the tools they will use as professionals, and that is determined by business and not their own inclinations. So long as kids (and schools) continue to look to business to see what they should be acquainted with, businesses will have a ready-trained new workforce and little incentive to move away from what they all know.

Re:Less piracy from (0, Offtopic)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 4 years ago | (#33929618)

One of them is finishing up a degree in marketing degree

Just curious - is he by any chance getting his degree in marketing degree at the University of Redundancy University?

Re:Less piracy from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929624)

They are also mac users...

Also (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#33929626)

Many of the open source tools just aren't up to par. Open Office may be for many things. I am not a serious Office user, I just do basic word processing and the like so I'm not in a position to say. It has a good interface though, so that alone puts it ahead of many.

However for a lot of programs, particularly those in the media area, they just do not compete with commercial software. I've found this in video editing. I tried to do it on Linux and just couldn't. None of the open source tools would do the trick. Not only were there some extremely confusing, unintuitive, hard to use, interfaces but the software just didn't have the features I needed. Not even esoteric stuff, but simply shit like the ability to capture and open DV video.

Unfortunately I think some people who recommend OSS alternatives do so out of a loyalty to OSS, without any real knowledge of if the solution will work. They don't use the software, or if they do they use it only in an extremely cursory way. They've never used the commercial packages they are advocating it as an alternative to. As such it doesn't end up working.

You always have to remember that just because a product is the same rough idea, doesn't mean it is a replacement for another product.

Re:Less piracy from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929556)

No you wouldn't. Anyone that actually tried to use a FOSS image editor would know paint.net is better, gimp is horrible, and Photoshop easily outclasses any of them by magnitudes. Paying for a product means they can pay programmers for stuff they might not normally do. Programmers will make free stuff that programmers use, but they won't make free image editing stuff because 99.9% of programmers don't really use image editing programs a lot.

Re:Less piracy from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929612)

I'd rather go and download OO right off the site then spend days trying of warez versions which could possible have infected my computer.

You obviously haven't been pirating all that much. I could have the latest version of MS Office on my PC in less than 5 minutes, fully operational. Pay for software that's worth its price.

Microsoft talking smack business as usual (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929118)

Microsoft using the old "total cost of ownership" line is what they usually use on customers.

It is easy enough to test which one results in more support calls. Have some departments use Microsoft Office and have other departments use OpenOffice and track who asks for more help.

Oracle is in the enterprise space with their database products and Microsoft knows they will push OpenOffice to try to keep Microsoft out.

Having customers that don't need to talk to Microsoft is what Oracle wants.

Re:Microsoft talking smack business as usual (4, Insightful)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 4 years ago | (#33929232)

The thing is universities need to push more training of using open source alternatives.

The fact still remains: You will find more people who have used MS office than people who use OpenOffice. More people in the pool = less wage required to hire if you are an employer. That is where "total cost of ownership" comes from.

For example, in our university, most LAMP sysadmins are full time staff which you have to pay at least $45 - 55K per annum, while most WISA (Windows, IIS, SQL Server, ASP.NET) sysadmins are students which cost much less (somewhere between $13 - $18 an hour + tuition waiver if you are grad student).

Re:Microsoft talking smack business as usual (2, Interesting)

orin (113079) | about 4 years ago | (#33929360)

Windows administrators are cheaper because Microsoft pursued a strategy of ensuring that there was a training infrastructure for their products. There is a whole ecosystem of books, online material and courses created by Microsoft to facilitate people learning their product. No such infrastructure exists for open source products. It may not even be possible to create such an infrastructure.

Re:Microsoft talking smack business as usual (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#33929634)

It depends. Is the product developed by a company? Juniper offers training on their JunOS, based on BSD. Talend offers training and services for their application, as does Jasper Reports, and Openbravo (well with their ERP at least, POS side, not so much). Red Hat offers training an certification for their platform. Novell offers training for SuSE. We develop documentation and offer training for SuitePOS. In fact that is what we're selling is the documentation, training, customization, and technical support and all because the the product/project we forked from failed to offer these services.

Opensource is a big world. Now there are a lot of OSS projects where support is non-existant.

Re:Microsoft talking smack business as usual (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33929474)

For example, in our university, most LAMP sysadmins are full time staff which you have to pay at least $45 - 55K per annum, while most WISA (Windows, IIS, SQL Server, ASP.NET) sysadmins are students which cost much less (somewhere between $13 - $18 an hour + tuition waiver if you are grad student).

Somehow I have the feeling that such a full time sysadmin can give you better quality work than part-time students. If only because they know the system, they know it's specifics, and half year later if there is a problem the same person is still around to help fix it, and they likely can fix it quicker because they have the experience with the system at hand, and likely with other systems previously in their career. Troubleshooting is more art than science, so experience is king.

OTOH hiring a new student for each job (yes that will be the case: students have time maybe now but not next month due to an exam, or they finish studies, or are on internships, or have enough money already) will waste a long time figuring out the problem at hand, possibly costing you more in time wasted (especially including the extra time needed to find the solution).

The Linux vs Windows part is totally moot in the above argument, it works both ways.

Re:Microsoft talking smack business as usual (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33929384)

It is easy enough to test which one results in more support calls. Have some departments use Microsoft Office and have other departments use OpenOffice and track who asks for more help.

Thats about as unscientific as you can get. You don't take into consideration the relative use of office suites between the departments, the training and skill levels of the individuals etc. Not necessarily saying your conclusion is wrong, but even if you were to carry out such a test it really wouldn't provide a whole lot of corroborating evidence.....

They should be... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929164)

I'm an average user. My office-related activities consist of writing letters, short papers, and making the occasional presentation. OO.O does all of this just fine, and I hence have no need to shell out $100 for an Office suite.

Re:They should be... OpenOffice has 10%-20% (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929570)

I'm an average user. My office-related activities consist of writing letters, short papers, and making the occasional presentation. OO.O does all of this just fine, and I hence have no need to shell out $100 for an Office suite.

You are not alone. You are in fact a long, long way from being alone.

Depending on the geographic location, OpenOffice has been measured as being installed on between 10% and 20% of machines.

Unless you call this "tiny", the OP has it wrong.

This measured 10% to 20% share correlates quite well with the number of copies of openOffice that have been downloaded.

OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (4, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 4 years ago | (#33929174)

The OpenOffice market share is not bad at all: http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Market_Share_Analysis [openoffice.org]

And, Ballmer has the right to be concerned about the 300 million pc market is eaten by both Apple and Linux [eweek.com] :

"I think depending on how you look at it, Apple has probably increased its market share over the last year or so by a point or more. And a point of market share on a number that's about 300 million is interesting. It's an interesting amount of market share, while not necessarily being as dramatic as people would think, but we're very focused in on both Apple as a competitor, and Linux as a competitor."

and

I assume we're going to see Android-based, Linux-based laptops, in addition to phones. We'll see Google more as a competitor in the desktop operating system business than we ever have before. The seams between what's a phone operating system and a PC operating system will change, and so we have ramped the investment in the client operating system.

And, OpenOffice runs on Android mobile phones: http://www.alwaysonpc.com/aboutOpenOffice.php [alwaysonpc.com] . That is something for Microsoft to be sleepless about.

OpenOffice on Android mobile phones. Mmmmmm. Sweet.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#33929522)

Against Apple, what they have to fear is iWork. Honestly, the past two years I've been using iWork for 90% of my business needs and now I use it on my iPad. But what really hurt MS Office on Mac was the removal of VB Macro support. I had to keep a machine with Office 2004 just incase someone sent me an excel file with macros. The only application that MS Office still has as a killer app is PowerPoint. For presentations PowerPoint for Mac is still king in my book. I can get by with Keynote, but I still prefer PowerPoint. Especially the powerpoint templates.

When I bought my first Mac I got along with Apple Works for about year until I really needed powerpoint.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33929550)

The only application that MS Office still has as a killer app is PowerPoint.

Indeed, Powerpoint has probably killed more people than any other Microsoft application (Columbia's last crew, for example). I'm not sure that's an argument for using it though.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929558)

You actually prefer PowerPoint to Keynote? Is that a joke? Please explain yourself.

PowerPoint is to Keynote what Numbers is to Excel.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (2, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | about 4 years ago | (#33929650)

You actually care what *tool* someone uses to create a portable document? Oh wait.

That really is the bit that bugs me the most. Why do i need to care *what* word processor or presentation software you are using? I don't care when i read a book, or look at a report. And i create PDF presentations, and then it does not matter what i use, i can run my presentation on any machine.

The problem is lack of open document *formats*. Then anyone can use any tool they like... I don't get stuck with some word 2003 document that won't even open properly on a windows machine because MS is not really all that compatible with MS.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33929544)

And, OpenOffice runs on Android mobile phones: http://www.alwaysonpc.com/aboutOpenOffice.php [alwaysonpc.com]

This is highly misleading. In fact, you just wasted about 3 minutes of my time claiming that, because at first I was all "oh wow! need to get that right away". But what they do instead is host a virtual machine for you "in the cloud", and provide you with a VNC client to connect to it. Needless to say, this is 1) online only, and you really need WiFi or 3G, 2) eats bandwidth like cookies, and 3) still slow. No wonder it's rated 3 stars on the Market (with comments along the lines of all three points)! And they want $20 for that... no thanks.

If someone did a proper port of OO.org to Android (redoing the UI etc), I'd gladly pay $100 for that. But this is mostly useless.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929604)

Of course. You didn't actually think OOo, which bogs down modern quad-core PCs, would run on a 600-1000MHz mobile ARM CPU did you?

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929622)

Oh btw, I wasn't supporting the OP's claim, just trying to say that it was immediately recognizable as false.

Re:OpenOffice on Android mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929716)

Yes. [wikimedia.org] Why do you ask?

Funny how people (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929178)

extrapolate all this crap from zero evidence. Its Microsoft ! So lets make up shit and assume the worst ! Evidence? Proof? Haha ! Thats for wimps ! Or lets quote obscure emails from a 10 year old lawsuit written by people who probably have already left the company or moved on to other positions. Ooops.. Did I just give out the formula for creating a groklaw clone?

forget these office suits (3, Insightful)

brainscauseminds (1865962) | about 4 years ago | (#33929208)

Ahh, invest some time and learn for example following tools: Tex/Lyx for documents, presentations, papers etc R/ggplot2 for data manipulation, tables and plotting Python for other things you want to compute you get quality stuff and you never want to use any office suit again

Re:forget these office suits (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | about 4 years ago | (#33929398)

Been there, done that. You also forgot to add that with all of these you can keep clean revision and change control.

The problem however is that you are not alone. There is usually an organisation around you which cannot be bothered. Even if you are "alone" as a lone software contractor you have customers who want to be bothered even less. On top of that you have an army of buzzword bingo players, sorry recruiters, that will not accept a CV in anything but MSF Word.

So I have to admit - from writing everything in LaTeX 10 years back, never touching a spreadsheet, etc I have degenerated into using an Office suite. OpenOffice in my case.

Re:forget these office suits (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#33929490)

Not all people have the mindset to do programming. Actually I'd argue most people don't. I have tried TeX and it feels like programming to me. Way too big a learning curve when >95% of what I do is typing out invoices, one-page letters, and the like... even though it may give you great reports and so. If ever I have to write a report again I may consider learning TeX.

For everything else, OO is doing just fine.

Re:forget these office suits (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | about 4 years ago | (#33929638)

invest some time

Sorry don't have any, got out of the academic environments a decade and a half ago. Even then I wrote my dissertation in Word and it was perfectly fine, quick and did what I needed it to do. (The subject was analytical chemistry and it contained math equations, although nothing majorly complex, and a lot of chemistry). I currently write all my reports (very large and small) up in Word and then convert them to PDF. Never had any complaints.

Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine (-1, Troll)

melted (227442) | about 4 years ago | (#33929220)

Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine. Seriously, when Google docs (a hodgepodge of javascript and HTML DOM) compares favorably to an app written in native code, you just turn off the lights and close the shop. Project failed, thanks for playing, better luck next time.

Re:Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929242)

By native code surely you didn't mean Java?

Re:Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine (0)

melted (227442) | about 4 years ago | (#33929542)

It's not written in Java. It requires Java for some optional features, but believe it or not, it's slow, buggy and heavyweight even without Java's help.

Re:Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine (2, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33929574)

It's not written in Java. It requires Java for some optional features, but believe it or not, it's slow, buggy and heavyweight even without Java's help.

I was actually amazed recently when I discovered that Open Office _wasn't_ written in Java because I'd always assumed that was why it seemed so slow at many things.

Re:Quite frankly, OOo is damaging itself just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929560)

Yeah, cause I just love having to be online just write a damn essay.

Classic "skills" FUD (5, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 4 years ago | (#33929226)

The MS video features this gem: "New employees lacked OpenOffice.org applications' use skills that significantly increased employees' adaptation period and adversely affected their operational efficiency." -- Igor Gentosh, Head of Systems Integration Department, Kredobank JSC

Uhhmm ... so is that the reason you went and changed the entire interface in Office 2007 to the ribbon? If anything OO preserves skill investments.

OO is basically Office97+, which was a great version. OO is just fine for the non-templated letters that pass for "Office suite" use in most offices. Not that it doesn't have better templates (and page formats, too).

The only major deficiency is the non user-friendly macro system.

Re:Classic "skills" FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929346)

Or that the ribbon interface was created because it is so different that MS is able to claim this. Clue: Notice the words "new employees".

That Microsoft video is only about drug addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929254)

how I explained at http://stop.zona-m.net/digiworld/microsoft-video-proves-microsoft-office-cocaine-and-has-dealers-inside-schools

Several of those quotes really remember people who can't free themselves from cocaine

MS may not have much to worry about here (4, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | about 4 years ago | (#33929282)

Since Oracle seems determined to destroy OpenOffice themselves.

Re:MS may not have much to worry about here (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 4 years ago | (#33929358)

Nothing to worry about. Some very brave people have Forked it and created LibreOffice to replace it. Given the more flexible source contribution rules the development rate already exceeds that of OO.org. It's only a matter of time before Oracle isn't even relevant anymore in relation to office software. It's unfortunate that they didn't accept the LibreOffice request to coordinate development and direction as it will sideline them even more. Oh well.

Re:MS may not have much to worry about here (-1, Flamebait)

Macrat (638047) | about 4 years ago | (#33929450)

Nothing to worry about. Some very brave people have Forked it and created LibreOffice to replace it.

Brave people? It's just Novel rebranding their "Go OOo" fork.

Better and simpler answer (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | about 4 years ago | (#33929286)

MONEY.

Couldn't watch the video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929290)

It's only available for Silverlight and WMV. Could someone transcode it to MP4 or WebM so that I can see what the fuss is about?

Re:Couldn't watch the video (5, Funny)

furgle (1825812) | about 4 years ago | (#33929430)

Have you tried using windows?

I've found windows the best platform to play WMV files and run Silverlight. There might be better software out there but windows 7 just runs this without any extra setup. Frankly it is the best for this task and you should seriously consider using it if you want to be in the *know* about these topics.

What support? (5, Insightful)

hobbes64 (1106381) | about 4 years ago | (#33929294)

A few of the quotes in the article are about poor support of open source products. But Microsoft don't have very good support either. Depending on license you get limited support or have to pay per incident. You usually just end up searching the internet to solve your problem whichever product you use. So what am I paying for again?

Re:What support? (1)

opposabledumbs (1434215) | about 4 years ago | (#33929724)

You're paying so Microsoft can pay a graphic designer to develop a cool-looking video bashing the competition, obviously.

Re:What support? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 years ago | (#33929726)

A name, and the right to be reamed out repeatedly for a product that you can get for free, in another name, that does exactly the same thing?

Blood from a turnip. (4, Interesting)

zenwarrior (81710) | about 4 years ago | (#33929432)

The bottom line is whatever Microsoft says or attempts as a fear tactic, it won't make any difference whatsoever to a very large number of those consumers. They simply cannot afford Office at any price Microsoft would offer it--other than free. When you have no money, free (or theft*) is the only alternative. Given that reality, Microsoft is jousting at windmills and trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.
* Might we next be seeing not-so-subtle threats in those emerging markets about using illegal copies of Office? Betcha we will.

Comments (3, Interesting)

zeraeiro (946048) | about 4 years ago | (#33929508)

Have you checked the comments on the right side here: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/US/details/faaf9eb8-77c6-4bed-bc08-c069a7bfbb04 [microsoft.com] Let's tell MS what we think.

Re:Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33929594)

What comments? I'm not going to install Silverlight only to waste some of my time telling MS what I think!

Nothing to be scared of.. (1)

Tei (520358) | about 4 years ago | (#33929596)

The emergent markets will probably use the last version of Office, as soon as is launched, since on these markets warez is rampant. These markets are more slaves of Microsoft than our market.

Switching from Openoffice to MS Office... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33929614)

When I started working at my last job, we were initially using Openoffice for almost everything except for any documents that needed to go to clients, because documents that we created with Openoffice would not reliably open with the same formatting by clients who were using Microsoft office, particularly if indentation or outlining was used. Programmers such as myself did not generally need to have Office installed, since virtually all of the documents created by programmers were intended for internal only. Ultimately, however, it was realized that even documents that might initially be thought to be internal-only were often needed to be looked over by clients for review, and so eventually everybody had to install Office and use it for everything, simply so that we could compatibly communicate with the company's clients.

Re:Switching from Openoffice to MS Office... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 4 years ago | (#33929668)

I see a lot of people making claims that "OpenOffice and Word wont format documents the same way so I cant use OpenOffice" but I have yet to see any actual evidence (e.g. screenshots of both OO and Word showing the difference)

Re:Switching from Openoffice to MS Office... (1, Insightful)

KingAlanI (1270538) | about 4 years ago | (#33929702)

For some documents, the differences in layout are more important than for other documents

Re:Switching from Openoffice to MS Office... (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 years ago | (#33929738)

Probably has more to do with the fact the OO adheres to the document creation standards, and MS Office doesn't. Much like MS refuses to adhere to the HTML/XML standards while every other browser does, or has +95% adherence. All that means at the end of the day is MS is creating a market by not following standards that they said they'd adhere to.

Big shock.

Re:Switching from Openoffice to MS Office... (2, Informative)

lordandmaker (960504) | about 4 years ago | (#33929712)

If I still had an MS office install I could show you a few. Indenting, bulletting and tabulation were the biggest culprits IME. Also, page breaks tended to wander and often duplicate themselves. OOo was a lot better at opening MS Office documents than MS Office was at OOo generated docs in MS formats.

And microsoft would never have them in any case (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#33929730)

think. do you think that anyone can push american copyrights and their enforcement in russia ? if you think so, think again. they cant.

so, it was to be either that all pirated microsoft, or, they used openoffice and open tools. with the latter, ms at least saves face.

and theres their tendency to coding as well. they seem to have an inclination for coding and programming. maybe because of the long east europe winters. they would much prefer to have what they can mess with, than some product made to be sold to technologically challenged american small to medium businesses.

Eastern Europe!? (1)

petarro (1296993) | about 4 years ago | (#33929740)

Huh, Eastern Europe!? That is where OpenOffice is DEVELOPED!!!
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