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Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender 480

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-you-ignore-them dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Microsoft has unwittingly admitted that OpenOffice.org is a rival, by launching a three-minute video of customers explaining why they switched to Microsoft Office from OpenOffice.org. Glyn Moody writes: 'You don't compare a rival's product with your own if it is not comparable. And you don't make this kind of attack video unless you are really, really worried about the growing success of a competitor. [Microsoft] has now clearly announced that OpenOffice.org is a serious rival to Microsoft Office, and should be seriously considered by anyone using the latter.'"
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Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender

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  • LibreOffice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:49AM (#33892194)

    Don't forget, guys... it's called LibreOffice now! [slashdot.org]

  • Re:Comparing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:49AM (#33892202) Homepage

    I think TFS laid it on a bit thick, but it does have a point...if a company doesn't feel that another product similar to their own is a threat, they completely ignore it. Making a video with people talking about why they switched from the competitor's product is hardly the same as ignoring it.

  • Oracle (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:58AM (#33892280)

    Now that OpenOffice is in the hands of a company which isn't being criminally mismanaged and which has a well-known vendetta against Microsoft, maybe this is out of valid fears for real competition. On the other hand, Microsoft has a way of waving Linux and other FLOSS projects around for misdirection whenever they need to conjure a competitor to refute claims of their monopoly. Microsoft "admitting" that OO is a competitor would be like North Korea "admitting" they have nukes in order to try and bum rice off of the west.

  • Re:Outlook (Score:3, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:08AM (#33892362)
  • Re:Outlook (Score:3, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:09AM (#33892376)

    Give me something to replace Outlook and I can start to kick MS Office out of our environment.

    P.S: I always use open source whenever it covers most of my needs.

    Mozilla Thunderbird. I use it at home and everything I have seen indicates that it will work as a MS Exchange client.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:11AM (#33892394) Journal

    It's worth skipping my mod points for this issue. I'll reply to you out of the 5 possible posts that are relevant.

    I hate the Ribbon. But I banked on Rule ____ of the net that says if there's a purpose for someone's potential small project, it has better than even odds of existing.

    Classic Menu for Office

    http://www.addintools.com/ [addintools.com]

    It's a plugin for Office that puts mostly similar menus back.

    So the comparison becomes:
    A: Office 2007 (or 2010?) with Old Menus
    vs
    LibreOffice (OpenOffice.org / branding squabbles with Oracle)

  • by mongoose(!no) (719125) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:18AM (#33892452)
    I've tried OpenOffice* several times. I'm still running MS Office 2004 on my Mac, and I've used MS Office 2007 at work. While Outlook has some stability issues, and people really need to learn that Excel isn't a substitute for a well programmed GUI when it comes to FORTRAN frontends, Microsoft Office still beats the pants off of OpenOffice. Being cheap and trying to be legal, I decided to install Open Office rather than upgrade my copy at home. It's just not the same. Open Office feels clunky. I know they can't copy the look and feel of MS Office, but that's not an excuse for not making things intuitive. On top of that, the compatibility with MS Office documents is really bad if you try any sort of formatting. In a world where MS Office is still king, that's just not acceptable. On it's own OpenOffice is alright, but in an environment where people are switching between MS Office and OpenOffice or working with people who use MS Office, it's just not good enough. I've mostly switched to TeX for typed documents and but I still open Excel 2004 at home when I need a spread sheet program, not OpenOffice. Maybe this video mean's MS is scared of OpenOffice, but MS Office still has the momentum to keep the lead for a long time.

    *I'm going to keep calling it that, as that's the name on the splash screen when I load it.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:25AM (#33892518)
    Sounds like the standard and ancient Microsoft attack on everything not-Windows. Actually, that is what this whole video sounds like -- a standard tactic that Microsoft has used for over a decade now.
  • Re:Outlook? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:29AM (#33892568) Homepage Journal

    When OpenOffice has an Outlook equivalent, it will be a contender.

    Outlook. Rivaled only by the PowerPoint in ruining productivity.

    Pretty much the best M$Exchange client - and unfortunately pretty much the worst e-mail client. Ever.

    Most recent problem I will never see in any other MUA: refusal to search mail box because it is not indexed by the Excahnge and Windows search (oops, why ever) isn't accessible.

  • by gmueckl (950314) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:33AM (#33892626)

    Powerpoint 2007 is horrible WRT having presentations open side-by-side. It's possible, though. The thing is: Unlike the other Office 2007 programs, Powerpoint is still MDI, with the inner window buttons hidden at first. Go to the View ribbon and the look at the "Window" section. These are your standard MDI window commands: arrange, cascade... use them to make the inner windows actually visible as such. Once you do that, you even get inner window buttons in the top right corner of the ribbon once you maximize one of these windows again.

  • Re:Outlook (Score:4, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:41AM (#33892754) Homepage

    These days practically any e-mail client with a large user base will do:

    Evolution
    Kontact
    Thunderbird
    Apple Mail

    Of course a real sysadmin would allow people to also get their mail through an open protocol like IMAP and not only the proprietary IMAP version. Same goes for the proprietary CalDAV and LDAP.

  • My biggest issue ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:42AM (#33892774)
    Is when I open and change an Office doc (Office XP) in OO and try to save it, I get the error message that I need to save in the OO format because I can't save the formatting in the original MS format.

    OO must be able to save documents back into the original MS format if it wants to take market share from MS. When you get a document from a client, they want it back in an MS format - they're not going to open it up in OO just because you want to use it.

    Macros: OO still has issues with MS' macros.

    For my personal analysis, my OO/Linux box is wonderful to produce an end product (printed things or graphics for web pages), but if I have to share stuff with corp America, OO is not an option.

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:52AM (#33892948)

    Good post. I do the same, but I figured that was just me not havign enough experience of using the ribbon. Fortunately, I managed to just figure out where the stuff I use often was before the company upgraded me to Office 2010.

    One thing of note in 2010, the orb 'menu button' is now a .... coloured 'File' tab. It appears the adage "nothing sensible ever goes out of fashion" is still true.

  • Re:Outlook? (Score:3, Informative)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:54AM (#33892984) Journal
    Outlook? There are tons of email programs, and Outlook is the very worst email client I've ever used

    IAWTP. Thing is, people don't care so much about that. They like outlook for its calendar and meeting functionality.
  • Re:Outlook? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TeethWhitener (1625259) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:56AM (#33893016)

    If OO has an equivalent to PP, someone please correct me.

    OpenOffice.org Impress. It works fine for me (scientific presentations). I've had no problems with OOo Calc (Excel equivalent) or the word processor either. To me there's really no difference as far as ease of use or features between any of the OO programs and their MS equivalents.

  • Re:Outlook? (Score:3, Informative)

    by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:07AM (#33893230)

    Impress is quite usable; I've created presentations with it before. One particularly useful feature was the ability to export as PDF--that way, I could present on a computer that had only Adobe Reader. (It includes slide transitions and everything and is by default set to open in full-screen mode. It's really nifty.) The only bad thing is that, at least a few years ago (and probably still today), OO.o comes with only two templates, both of which are incredibly ugly (the default is black and white Arial; the other is some ugly purple or blue and yellow crazyness).

    Luckily, you can import templates from PowerPoint, which I have done a few times when I wanted something that actually looked good. Of course, most of those aren't good, either, but there are many that are. And, of course, this doesn't matter for the unfortunately large number of people who might as well not use a template in the first place because all they do is change fonts and colors all over the place (you know, the same people who haven't discovered styles in Word or OO.o Writer).

  • My main frustation with MS Office is that numbered lists simply don't work. It is a nightmare to put anything between itens, sometimes it is hard even to edit old itens. That said, OO write works quite well for me, but I can't stand using calc (luckly, my Linux computers have perl, R, Scilab, and lots of other replacements, so I don't miss Excell there). There is a long time since I have last used PowerPoint or Presenter, so I can't say what they are like now, and I have long replaced Draw (is there a MS Office equivalent?) with Inkscape, and never looked back.

    I still hope to see Libre Office being stable, and including those usefull programs at the package, like Inkscape, and GIMP. Maybe even integrating them with the current tools. They are going into a nice path, but only time will tell if they'll go far enough into it.

  • by websitebroke (996163) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:19AM (#33893484)
    I can believe it just fine. I just opened a 3 page paper I'm working on, and my citations moved around on me between saving the document on Tuesday and opening it today - all on the same machine. Somehow, the kerning grew in the intervening time. It was noticeable because it shunted a word down to the second line, and MLA requires the second line of a citation to be indented. I'd have been dinged a few points for that if I hadn't checked before turning in the paper.
  • by Magada (741361) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:31AM (#33893738) Journal

    It's more opaque, not less. The ribbon hides functionality to coddle morons, that's its main purpose. By contrast, good UI design exposes functionality in such a way that users can actually use it.

    Microsoft's solution to "hey! 90% of people use only 10% of our product's features" wasn't "Ok, let's try and expose at least another 10% to these guys in a way that makes sense so maybe they'll use and appreciate it" but rather "Ok, let's hide that 90% so our stupid, stupid users don't get lost picking through the remaining 10%".

    Software design, btw, has very little to do with where all the buttons are hidden.

  • by SMOKEING (1176111) <johnhommer&gmail,com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:32AM (#33893748) Homepage
    > I don't know how much of OO is still built on java,
    Next to nothing; it's all C++.

    The java bits are entirely optional, OOo will run happily without java installed. Except for some wizards and `macros', you won't even notice or miss anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:39AM (#33893876)

    Microsoft is still the King of the enterprise software for many medium to large companies both US and International. 'Nuff said.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:49AM (#33894072)

    I tried OO 1.04, w2.x and they sucked. I had a general goal to be operating system agnostic. So I went to Vuze, Audigy, Gimp, Firefox, etc. Word didn't work on other operating systems. But OO sucked too much and was too painful to learn.

    Then, as of 3.0 AND windows 7, suddenly a bunch of my hundred page word 2003 documents wouldn't print. No reason- just hung. Various fixes were tried. WOuldn't print.

    I loaded the documents into 3.0, formatting was mangled. Not a lot, but too much for me. OO was drawing little grey boxes around everything which was confusing. But then with the little grey boxes, I could see the problem. The overlapping boxes of tables and graphical elements were confusing Word 2007. I fixed a few of those over in word "blindly" since i couldn't see the problem when in word and the document printed one more page. And some things took several tries before they were really fixed- each attempt cost me a few pages plus toner.

    This was painful so I decided to fully reconvert/reformat one document to OO. I had my long term OSagnostic goal and I had a lot of word 2003 documents that wouldn't print. Fixing them in word was going to be a long slow manual process.

    It took about 8 hours to convert the document, I learned a lot about OO in the process, I understood the little grey boxes, formatting menu, styles and it printed wonderfully. I also found features in OO that I really liked which were MISSING in word (visual cropping! was the one I remember most. In Word, I type the cropping value, exit, see the effect, then go back in... in OO it displayed cropping in real time).

    So... I decided to convert another document. It took 2 hours. The next took about an hour. convert, save, strip all formatting, TOC and Index, reapply proper heading formatting, reinsert TOC & index, add back in the sections, columns. It became a process. By the time I finished, the last two documents took me about 40 minutes each to convert.

    I have only used 2007 for short word documents since. I'll even type things up in OO and then take them to Word at the last minute. Even after 18 months, I still stumble over the new ribbon interface. I wasted 40 minutes looking for "auto adjust row hieght" the other day in excel.

    So I'm OO and there for life. Once you go OO, it's free. Why convert back unless there is some critical feature gap? And word does have some features OO lacks-- to me they are mostly noise. OO has just about everything up to Office 2003 at this point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:27AM (#33894900)

    There's bound to be other commentators leaping down on this, but I'll put my £0.02 in.

    Are you saying that MS removed the old interface and replaced it with one easier to use for beginners?

    Yes. Let me be absolutely clear - in Office 2007, there is no way to revert to the Office-2003 style menus except for using third-party add-ons, as other users have commentated.

    But why the heck would they remove the old interface entirely? Maybe it's the "Design of Everyday Things" talking, but why wouldn't they keep the old one for more sophisticated users. There's nothing wrong with having an easy interface for casual use and an advanced one for the advanced users. It's actually a very good solution in this kind of case.

    If this had been the case, I'd expect you'd have less hate from power users against Office 2007. If I were able to just select an option in Tools -> Options that did this, I'd be using 2007 at home (as it is, my copy of office 2003, cold dead hands, and so forth). However the option was completely denied us.

    This makes the (IMO) stupid design decision of auto-hiding menu items (introduced in Office 2000? XP? It's certainly in 2003) look relatively painless. That was another example of Microsoft hiding functionality which detracted from the usability of a product.

    I had heard that Office 2010 would allow a 2003-style interface, but a quick search suggests this is also via add-ins - anyone know whether this was the case out-of the box?

    Also, anecdote time. A while ago I was testing Office 2007 (pre-SP1) and had need to use a custom Excel add-in I'd built myself under 2k3. Not only could a substantial amount of ferreting not show how you added add-ins to Excel, but the Help file was a direct copy of the 2003 help file content, referring to a menu that no longer exist. It's things like this that novice users won't find, but bug the hell out of power users.

  • by morgauxo (974071) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:31AM (#33894990)
    Is it for MSOffice document compatibility?

    Personally, I just write documents in OO and then export them to pdf if I am sending them somewhere. I've never had a problem this way. I suppose this is a problem if you want the recipient to be able to edit the document but why would you want that? If it is a collaborative work then an office suite is the wrong tool for the job. I have worked in places where this is done. It is horrible regardless of the office suite. Two people editing a document at the same time means one writes over the other's changes. Or, you end up with multiple versions of the same document scattered about the network drives. Worse yet they may be on the hard drives of different people's PCs. Before long no one knows which is the latest version or where it is. In all probability there is no latest version because no one document has everybody's changes in it. If you collaborate using an office suite then you need to first, slap yourself across the face twice (once per cheek). Then do it again harder. Harder again. Again!! Now, go get a wiki. If you must use Windows Server it now has a nice automatic server installer (looks like a Linux package manager) which will set one up for you with just a couple of clicks. Of course if you care at all about security Windows isn't allowed anywhere near your place of business anyway. There are Linux distro's that have similar easy methods for installing web tools including Wikis. With either OS just keep it behind the firewall, preferably on a NAT if you don't have an expert to configure the security settings.



    Maybe OO doesn't have all the features you need which Microsoft Office does?

    WTF kind of document are you creating anyway? Either one has 1000 times the features I ever want to learn for creating office documents. Maybe you are creating some kind of fancy art or advertising posters? Shouldn't you be using a publishing program? You probably learned Word back in grade school and have stuck with what you know. You probably put lots of work into learning to bend Word to do what you need it to do. It was hard and you don't want to go through all that work again just to switch programs. It was hard for a reason! It wasn't made for what you do. Go find a program that is and it won't be as difficult to learn in the first place plus you will probably put out a better product in the end. There is this saying, 'If the only tool you know is a hammer then everything looks like a nail'. Well... stop hammering in those screws!



    Maybe you prefer MSOffice's user interface?

    You must be on an old version from before they got the ribbon. Good for you! You realized that there is no reason to shell out your money every couple of years on the upgrade cycle if it isn't going to clearly make you more money back. Enjoy your savings! Some day though, when your hardware finally dies as it eventually does you will find that you can't buy that version of MSOffice anymore. The new versions use this awful ribbon thing which will be like starting from scratch to re-learn over again and will never allow you to be as efficient as you once were even after you know it well. Open Office on the other hand really isn't laid out that different from what you are used to. You will have to learn a bit if you switch to Open Office but trust me it will go better than dealing with that @#$ ribbon.



    No, you really do use and love the ribbon?

    I'm sorry I have nothing for you. At least nothing to say regarding computer software anyway. I do have some very important words of wisdom for you though. CRACK IS BAD!!! DON'T DO ANY MORE CRACK!!! And please, wear long sleeve shirts. The tracks are creeping me out. Now go away and don't come back until you have had a bath. You reek of crack and BO.
  • by devent (1627873) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:40AM (#33895136) Homepage

    I don't know how much of OO is still built on java, but getting rid of this layer and re-writing EVERYTHING in some good HL language (C, C++, etc) would help with the speed issue. I'm guessing that the Java runtime layer is taking a godawfull time to initialize and suck up all the resources it needs. Finally there is support.

    That is so much BS. First, OO.org is not written in Java, Java is only used to connect to a database and for some plugins. Seconds, I am using Java applications all the time, like Eclipse and Visual Paradigm and I couldn't care less if Firefox were written in Java, because startup and speed of Firefox is the same as all other Java applications I ever had. Try using Lotus Symphony with is 100% Java, it is the same speed as OO.org in startup and usage. DBGL (dosbox game launcher) [quicknet.nl] is another Java application and it runs fast as well.

    I'm sorry but that a Java application is always slower than a C/C++ application is so much BF I could vomit. That is just not true anymore and this myth is based on the very early JavaVM. You can also try a 3D Engine in Java http://jmonkeyengine.org/groups/tag/projects [jmonkeyengine.org] and see for yourself how "slow" the 3D applications and games are.

  • by spikedvodka (188722) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @12:26PM (#33895916)

    See, I use LaTeX and BibTex for this. that way I don't need to worry about anything, I put all the information into the Bib file, make the appropriate citations, and it takes care of the rest... as an added bonus, with BibTeX on my mac, I can import the whole document into the DB, and never worry about "where did I file that" again.

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @12:39PM (#33896204)

    You can pin any option you want to the top of the screen on the title bar, next save, undo, redo. Click the down arrow, then click more commands. You can see you can go through the tabs and add whatever you want.

    Alternatively, Office 2010 lets you customize the ribbon itself..

  • Not if your company pays for it or if you write it off as a business expense.

    Even if you write it off, you still paid for it. The write-off reduces your taxable income by the amount of the write-off, which reduces the amount of income tax you must pay by your tax rate times the amount of the write-off.

    So if you're in the 30% tax bracket and you paid $500 for Office, you can write $500 off of your income, which means your tax is reduced by $150. In other words, you still spent $350.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:44PM (#33901032) Homepage Journal

    Yep. What MS have done in Outlook 2010 is incredible. In my experience, it's gone seriously downhill from 2003. The only reason I still use it is because it's so deeply tied into MS's proprietary Exchange server, and other Outlook clients' proprietary 'email' format, that I'm locked in to it at work. A couple of examples.

    I used to be able to insert a signature with a single shortcut in 2003. In 2007, they forced the ribbon on me and the shortcut disappeared. It was then 'Alt-N G'. Unbelievably, they changed it AGAIN in 2010... and STILL prevent you from defining your own shortcuts. It's now 'Alt-N A S'. I wouldn't be surprised if they changed it to 'ALT-F U C K Y O U' in the next revision.

    They also decided that the Outlook 2003 e-mail editor wasn't good enough; rich text and layout aside, there was a shedload of MS Word functionality users were just missing out on. The decision made was to basically send a Word document instead of an e-mail, which did 2 things. First, it made Outlook e-mails utterly incompatible with any e-mail client that wasn't Outlook. Second, it killed off the possibility of doing proper inline responses. I'm surprised more people haven't noticed this, but you used to be able to press 'unindent' to break the 'quote line' to the left of the quoted part of a reply. From 2007 when they implemented the MS Word e-mail editor, you can't. So, you see people using bastardized inline responses by colouring their response text red or something. Or just completely giving up on inline responses. Thanks, MS.

    Honestly, I would be using something else if I could. And if I ran a business, I'd try to find a more standards-compliant (and preferably OSS) alternative to Outlook.

  • by markus o'farkus (98120) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @05:57PM (#33901190)

    Here's one example:

    http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/03/french-police-saves-millions-of-euros-by-adopting-ubuntu.ars [arstechnica.com]

    The article is a little stale (they are running over 7000 Ubuntu desktops today) but in terms of OOo, they migrated across the board from MS Office in 2005. We're talking well over 50,000 users, iirc.

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