Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Advertising Microsoft Open Source Software Linux

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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:46AM (#33892174) Journal
    Since the video is little more than quotes from people heralding the stark beauty of Microsoft products when compared to various open-source (and sometimes generic open-source) products, you might wonder where the quotes come from. They're old success stories, most of which are marketed as "Case Studies" on Microsoft.com.

    I looked up the quotes in the video and apparently wasn't the only one to notice [techrights.org]. Taking the first three quotes your years are 2007 [microsoft.com], 2009 [microsoft.com] and 2006 [microsoft.com]. Some of them are more recent than others but I get the feeling that Microsoft needs to dig further back to find quotes deriding open source. I've used OpenOffice.org for a very long time. In college (~2002) I even used StarOffice on the school's Sun machines. And OpenOffice.org used to have some really really shitty aspects. But a few years back, major revisions have made it a lot better. Enough to cause Microsoft to come up with new ideas for their Office Suite. And I'm forced to use MS Office at work and I'm okay with that. It's becoming a contender. And as "tech debt" or "IT debt" begins to be realized for Microsoft and what it did to our history of proprietary format documents, I think OpenOffice.org is only going to look better and better. Yes, there's some cost with OO.o but there's some cost with MS Office as well.

    It doesn't always happen but sometimes open source catches up to and even surpasses proprietary software. I cannot say OO.o will pass MS Office but it has made up a lot of ground in the past 2-3 years. A good example of this is the Linux 2.6 kernel and its steadily growing stability and features compared to Windows that remained largely stagnant while this occurred.

    With the serious changes to the interface of MS Office suites (not saying they're bad, they're just some of the most major updates I've seen from MS), I think now is going to be the hardest time for Microsoft to find current quotes from customers criticizing open source. Because flipping from MS Word 2007 to OO.o is probably going to be as difficult for users to adapt to as flipping from MS Word 2007 to MS Word 2010.
  • Comparing (Score:0, Insightful)

    by odies (1869886) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:46AM (#33892182)

    Of course Microsoft knows OpenOffice, or for that matter any competing product is, well, a competing product. How does them releasing a video of their users comparing the products mean they're somehow extremely worried about it, or "losing" how this story makes it sound? Nice way to turn it around.

  • by sa666_666 (924613) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:53AM (#33892224)
    Of course, now that OpenOffice is finally becoming a contender in mindshare (as well as technically), they go and change the name, and potentially lose all brand recognition.
  • Outlook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Krneki (1192201) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:56AM (#33892262)
    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.

  • by inflex (123318) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:56AM (#33892266) Homepage Journal

    For all the people who get exposed to this new video by what ever means, if they never heard of OpenOffice before they sure have now - thanks Microsoft :)

  • by N1AK (864906) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:01AM (#33892304) Homepage

    I have yet to meet someone IRL who *really* likes it.

    Perhaps this is a result of your area of work, or the place work / study etc?

    I know some people who don't like the ribbon, the vast majority have a clear preference for it. Obviously neither of our anecdotal observations prove anything on a large scale. I'm surprised that you've managed to avoid fraternising with anyone of a dissenting opinion in, what, 4 years?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:06AM (#33892338)

    Blame Oracle. There's nothing the actual developers can do about that. Oracle owns the trademark.

  • Re:Comparing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:09AM (#33892380)

    Can I remake this video with the names changed around ....It makes more sense that way

    Familiar Interface : Yes OOO has that .. Office 2010 does not
    Malformatted documents : Yes OOO to 2010 does that, whereas 2010 to OOO does not
    Interoperability : OOO loads more formats the Office 2010
    Expensive support : a) what support is needed for either, b) both seem equally expensive to me
    etc ...

  • by Shoeler (180797) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:11AM (#33892396)
    My problem with the Microsoft Office product line has always been a simple one. I don't want to pay for what they want me to pay for. Let's be honest - office is a VERY mature product line. I.E. there are a very very very tiny set of places that it can be innovated or changed. The recent MS office revisions strike me as revisions to justify the price, rather than revisions people want. The fact of the matter is that MS Office from 8 years ago does exactly what I as a scientific and engineering worker want, and now OO.o does it too - with MS's throwback interface of years ago that I prefer. I still stumble through the stupid ribbons.

    TL;DR synopsis: MS changes to justify price. OO.o doesn't have to. Win.
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:16AM (#33892438)

    Microsoft can be really proud of XBbx. It is a real success. But everything else they are doing is crumbling like a sinkhole under them.

    Windows: Macs just climbed to 10% of US sales. That's a huge event, considering that no software vendor can consider losing one in ten of every sale. It means that even despite Windows still near-dominence, Macs are in some ways on equal footing with them. And then of course there's Linux, which continues to grow in mindshare and has the price that can't be beat. Not to mention the security compared to Windows. Plus the libre vs. dracon mindset.

    IE: Internet Explorer is now losing ground like crazy to Firefox, not to mention Safari and Chrome. And it's no wonder. Anyone who ever used IE and then *anything else* would find that *anything else* is better in every way except for compatibility with retarded websites that never bothered to program for anything except IE. And have you noticed that those retarded websites have gone from very prevalent to almost nonexistent?

    Office: See above story. Then there are things like iWork for the iPad which costs $10 per app. MS doesn't even comprehend that space.

    Windows phones and tablets: Well, they're just coming out with these, so its hard to draw conclusions yet, but... they're just coming out with these?? Usually when Microsoft releases something because everyone else is doing it, they have a really hard time doing it at all well. May I draw your attention to the Zune?

    Bing: How many of you use Bing? How many of you use Google? 'Nuff said.

    IIS: Still nothing compared to Apache.

    Exchange server: Still a contender, but the open source tools are very robust now, and the licensing for Exchange is punishingly expensive. If enterprise still wants to buy commercial products, then solutions like OS X Server cost a tiny fraction of Exchange for most of the functionality.

    Then you may notice that we see story after story of Microsoft closing down projects which were going to take over the world and which seem to have died a slow and long-overdue death. Again... you gotta wonder how much longer they're going to wait before they give up on the Zune. I'll bet they are losing tons of money on it, but keep it alive just so they don't have to face the humiliation of shutting it down.

    So what does Microsoft have going for them? Yeah, Xbox. And while PS3 has at least jumped on the Wii-controller bandwagon, XB seems to still be missing the boat. But maybe they'll catch up here. If I were MS, I would want to spin off Xbox as the one branch of the company that might survive.

    Don't get me wrong. They're still a huge and very powerful company. But it seems like they can do no right anymore. How much longer can they keep investors interested in holding their stock?

  • by mdda (462765) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:18AM (#33892448) Homepage

    But for a 'Power User' that uses the keyboard shortcuts, one has to remember the 2003 menu layout and type away blindly. The idea that the ribbon makes things easier for hard-core Excel is laughable.

  • Re:Outlook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:22AM (#33892484) Homepage Journal

    Outlook? There are tons of email programs, and Outlook is the very worst email client I've ever used. If you'd said PowerPoint or Excel you might have had a valid a point. But Outlook? That's a laugh!

    I don't use Powerpoint Or OO's spreadsheet myself (no use for a spreadsheet at home), but I'm not even sure if OO has an equivalent to Powerpoint, and Excel is head and shoulders above Lotus or Quattro (I have to use all 3 spreadsheets at work). If OO has an equivalent to PP, someone please correct me.

  • by InterGuru (50986) <jhd.interguru@com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:33AM (#33892636) Homepage

      How much longer can they keep investors interested in holding their stock?

    Not too much longer. Goldman has downgraded [theregister.co.uk] Microsoft's stock to neutral. From the article

    Goldman said it now expected Redmond’s core business to be affected by a longer PC refresh cycle. The sting in the tail being that Microsoft, as Ballmer has recently – finally – acknowledged, can no longer rely on those products alone. Diversify or die is, perhaps, the simplistic message.

  • Re:Comparing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:34AM (#33892648)

    Interoperability : OOO loads more formats the Office 2010

    Just a little niggle here, but this is the kind of thing that F/OSS advocates bang on about while totally missing the point of the real world.

    Nobody cares if OO.o will open ObscureFormat 2.1 (which was only ever used in one product, was last sold in 1992 and never even ran on anything more recent than Windows 3.x).

    ObscureFormat 2.1 is the one that gets attention because some developer somewhere discovered some ancient document s/he wanted to open, and so wrote the code to import it. Which is great for that developer, but don't for one minute think of it as a selling point because it isn't.

    What people care about is:

    • Does it open documents created in Office with little or no issue?
    • Can I save documents in a format that Fred down the street (who's already bought Office and isn't about to install something else, even if it is free) can open with little or no issue?

    If the answer to either of these is no, they'll buy Office and damn the price. This is what helped get Microsoft a monopoly in the office products market, and it's what's kept users on the upgrade treadmill for fifteen years or more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:43AM (#33892786)

    Sounds like astroturfer bullshit to me. I've used complex documents on mac, windows and linux for years with no problems going between them.

  • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:47AM (#33892850)

    Let's be brutally honest here at the expense of karma. The ribbon was created to accommodate the growing population of MS office users who do not have the mental capacity, focus, or experience to utilize the existing menu structure that has been used on all substantial GUI based computer programs for 15+ years. It was preceded by a toolbox panel in the OS X versions of Office which was actually useful since it allowed quick access to basic formatting options but also kept the pull-down menu interface intact for the more advanced commands. But MS actually decreased their program's functionality and efficiency with the ribbon.

    Very few who were actually competent in the advanced Office features prior to the ribbon liked the change, because it meant that they had to go hunt for options that they knew used to exist. People who were never very familiar with Office loved it, because there were no large menus to get lost in. MS is happy because now your grandmother can probably work out how to use Office and you still will (unhappily) pay for it as well.

    It shouldn't come as a surprise that MS is willing to whore themselves out to the lowest common denominator. Office is no longer specialized software... it's for the masses. However, if you want to write a 5 page memo without images or plot a few points on a graph, it allows you to do that with little initial setup. But if you want to write a 300 page Ph.D. thesis or work with an array of more than 65K points, you'll need to explore other options... unless you like the M in S&M.

  • by ranton (36917) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:58AM (#33893058)

    But for a 'Power User' that uses the keyboard shortcuts, one has to remember the 2003 menu layout and type away blindly. The idea that the ribbon makes things easier for hard-core Excel is laughable.

    I would generally agree with you. It is just as laughable as thinking that Microsoft should be placing most of its attention on catering to 'Power Users'. Power users were able to obtain expertise in the previous UI, and they will be able to gain expertise in the new ribbon UI.

    Good UI design is primarily about making it easy to use for the masses, and hopefully catering to power users too if possible. I am one of those 'Power Users' and I love the ribbon when working with Word and PowerPoint. It is much less useful in Excel and Access, but it doesn't get in the way after learning the new UI.

  • Re:Outlook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:59AM (#33893086)
    I don't suggest Lotus Notes. Your employees will want to slit their wrists.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:05AM (#33893200)
    There is the price, but then there is the horrible Ribbon interface. I have yet to meet someone IRL who *really* likes it.

    I can't say I love the ribbon but I do think it is an improvement over the older toolbars. Problem is that many people are used to the older toolbars and as most people know gratuitous changes can be frustrating to existing users even if they are better for newer users.

    That said, Open Office has a user interface only a mother could love. It's like the last ten years of progress in user interface design never happened for Open Office. It's not task centric enough, unintuitive, unforgiving, frustrating and in some parts borderline unusable.

    I'd still recommend Open Office to anyone thinking of buying MS Office, but it needs a serious usability makeover.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:13AM (#33893342)

    Very few who were actually competent in the advanced Office features prior to the ribbon liked the change, because it meant that they had to go hunt for options that they knew used to exist. People who were never very familiar with Office loved it, because there were no large menus to get lost in. MS is happy because now your grandmother can probably work out how to use Office and you still will (unhappily) pay for it as well.

    It shouldn't come as a surprise that MS is willing to whore themselves out to the lowest common denominator. Office is no longer specialized software... it's for the masses. However, if you want to write a 5 page memo without images or plot a few points on a graph, it allows you to do that with little initial setup. But if you want to write a 300 page Ph.D. thesis or work with an array of more than 65K points, you'll need to explore other options... unless you like the M in S&M.

    OK, I haven't used MS Office in a long time -- at least not any recent version. Are you saying that MS removed the old interface and replaced it with one easier to use for beginners? Having an easy-to-use interface for beginners is a great idea. Also great for people who just don't need to use the system -- or even certain parts of it -- often enough for them to be practiced and expert at it. 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.

  • by digitig (1056110) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:15AM (#33893370)

    I know some people who don't like the ribbon, the vast majority have a clear preference for it.

    I'd bet that there's a correlation between dislike for the ribbon and how may features of Office the person uses. The person who only uses Word, for example, as a Notepad replacement (as ThePhillips called it) can still use it like that and might spot some interesting things on the Ribbon that they find useful. The person who was already making use of a wide range of features finds that many of those features are now harder to access (especially if they don't want to have to keep moving their hand between mouse and keyboard -- the Ribbon is heavily biased towards mouse use) and doesn't get those nice surprises of discovering features they didn't know about.

    That fits the anecdotal evidence just fine. The majority of Office users are probably just punching out internal memos, reports, personal letters and the like, all using simple fixed templates. The majority of /. users who use Office, though, have probably explored deep into the menus and make use of esoteric features, because that's what geeks do. The 2007 interface was a poke in the eye for the power users, but Microsoft are unlikely to care because those making purchasing decisions tend not to be power users, and they probably expect the number of new users coming in at the bottom end to dwarf the number of users lost at the top end. And they're probably right.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:19AM (#33893470)
    OpenOffice has plenty of flaws but at its heart it's a very functional office suite, it costs nothing and it runs on different platforms. Anyone be they an individual, a small business or a large enterprise really should consider using it before resorting to a commercial suite. I expect in most cases it offers the required functionality and there are distinct long and short term advantages to using it over the likes of MS Office.

    The main one IMO is that it is cross platform. If your browser is cross platform, and your office suite is cross platform, then chances are your organisation can be cross platform with a small shove. This could result in huge savings on administration / IT and licensing in the long term.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:25AM (#33893594)

    Give the OO users half the cash from the cost savings of the software license and then see how many people think MS Office is superior.

  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:57AM (#33894238)

    Heh. That isn't brutal honesty, it's rampant insecurity.

    If you're smart, then a new interface isn't a challenge. If you're focused, then a new interface won't interfere with your work. If you're experienced, then you'll know that even after 15 years you can find better ways to do things - and that the more you've invested in the previous method, the more effort the change will take. You'll also have noticed that resistance to change is strongest from those who fear their superiority is being challenged. The smarter they are, the more excuses they can come up with. The less confident they are, and the more pathetically emotive their language becomes (the ribbon interface is "whoring"? Seriously?) .

    People focused on outcomes rather than self-aggrandisation tend not to bother with excuses or complaints. Stick with familiar tools for the duration of the project, or set aside some time to learn a new set of keystrokes. Either way, stay focused on the things that matter.

    Office has never been specialized software, and certainly not for thesis work. The 65K limit was removed at the same time the Ribbon was introduced. You probably shouldn't be doing a Ph.D. if a new interface is more than you can cope with, and with that disregard for actual facts you really should ask yourself if research is the kind of thing you're suited for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:01AM (#33894326)

    Yeah, it's a troll....

    The poster claims they did a migration to OOo, and the one document they opened and saved in OOo was corrupted. Think about this. They did no testing before doing the migration because the only document they worked with was corrupted, and that was after the migration. IOW's, they migrated before anyone had even tried the software, and they had machines running Linux.... Ask yourself, is this a likely scenario?

    Either someone is completely retarded, is a very poor liar, or both..

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:01AM (#33894330) Journal

    Microsoft can be really proud of XBbx. It is a real success. But everything else they are doing is crumbling like a sinkhole under them.

    Xbox is a huge fiasco in terms of opportunity costs for Microsoft. It kept losing billions of dollars year after year. Microsoft had these huge money machines MsOffice and Windows producing some 15 billion dollars in profits year after. So it kept bearing losses in the XBox line, undercut the competition and waited for them to go out of business. It did not even come up with an innovative concept like motion controller of Wii. Finally it has a decent franchise in XBox. But is it worth all the money it sank into the project. If you consider Xbox as an "intraprise" within Microsoft and all the investments were "borrowed" from rest of the company, it would still be losing money. The profits in that line would not even pay for the interest on the money sunk into it. Even in the gamer market it has shown its myopia. The game players willing to pay big bucks are actually a small fraction of the total population. Despite their willingness to pay the top dollar, the total sales to casual gamers who play childish games on their phones or geezers playing bowling using Wii is more than the sales of XBox and its games.

    Was it the best use of the money? Why did it not use it to create an innovative motion controller or a multi touch display or even a great hard disk based MP3 player, or a winning phone os or a winning touch-pad, or a reliable Webserver like Apache or a knockout search engine? It could not even the battle with Intuit's Quicken even after giving away Microsoft Money for free to the OEMs. For all its attempt to win the living room, it did not get anything. The only thing Microsoft knows how to sell is products bought by top brass of rich inefficient bureaucratic companies for other people to use.

    It sank billions of dollars into XBox. And got a smaller fraction of the total game market (counting in phone based games, Wii kind of casual games). When it comes to the vision thing, Microsoft is an epic fail.

  • by fast turtle (1118037) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:18AM (#33894734) Journal

    Well I'm using Office 2007 (Outlook, Word, One Note) and am still ambivelent about the ribbon. Some of what the Ribbon has done is useful and then I find that some of the features I used on a regular basis are now buried three+ menus deep, so there's lots of trade offs that are still taking time to get used to.

  • by q-the-impaler (708563) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @12:58PM (#33896592)

    "Temperamental idiots" still do productive work. We do not rate their performance based on what office suite they prefer.

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @01:19PM (#33897014)

    That's a terrible idea that proves nothing. If someone payed me at works to use a slower system I would do it. But the company would lose money on the deal if my productivity suffered. If we charge $300 an hour and over the course of the year I lose an hour of productivity using a slower tool I don't see the cost but I got a "cheaper software" bonus.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @03:37PM (#33899232)

    Putting HD on the console is not revolutionary. It is just the next logical step, it is an evolutionary change.

    Ok...

    The motion controller for Wii is revolutionary. It brought in casual gamers and geezers who would never have bought a game console otherwise.

    Even though tons of motion sensing peripherals existed before?

    So, let me get this straight:
    1) Microsoft putting a never-before-seen feature into their game console = not revolutionary
    2) Nintendo putting a peripheral we've seen 100 times before into their game console = revolutionary

    I'll readily admit that the Wii hit critical mass with motion controls, but motion controls were certainly not new at the time, nor did Nintendo invent them. (Guess what: despite selling a shitload of tablets, Apple didn't invent any of the technologies of the iPad either. It happens sometimes.)

    I'll also readily accept that putting a HD into a game console isn't a revolutionary step, but an evolutionary one. But, on the other hand, that was also the *weakest* of my examples-- you never bothered to address the ones that were significantly more revolutionary.

    But I'm not going to admit that Wii's motion controls are "more" revolutionary than Xbox's integrated HD. I don't think there's any basis in reality for that claim.

    Like I said before, in my opinion, you're just being delusional at this point. Hate Microsoft all you want, I don't care... but try to hold on to rationality in the process ok?

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

Working...