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This discussion has been archived.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 Corporate Troll (537873) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:45AM (#33892170) Homepage Journal

    There is the price, but then there is the horrible Ribbon interface. I have yet to meet someone IRL who *really* likes it. I recently installed Microsoft Office 2010 to recover emails from a corrupted system (Needed to open PST files, copied the mails to an IMAP server. No more Office needed... That what Trial Versions are great for!). Frankly, it comes over even more toyish, more "Please treat me as a dumb user". It's aggravating.

    Interestingly, when installing 2010, it asked me whether I wanted to enable OpenDocument formats. I was torougly surprised by that. That's another admittance of Microsoft that OpenOffice is a treath.

    • Interestingly, when installing 2010, it asked me whether I wanted to enable OpenDocument formats. I was torougly surprised by that. That's another admittance of Microsoft that OpenOffice is a treath.

      It's better to support the format and keep users on your software than not support it and potentially risk losing them.

      One reason I haven't switched is that I hate learning new software (as do most users), and I've never directly paid for an Office license, instead having it pre-installed or received through a MSDNAA.

      • Directly paid or indirectly paid, you still paid.

        I've never paid for an Office license period thanks to OpenOffice and it's predecessors (StarOffice, etc).

      • You'll be happy to know then that OO.o is pretty much about as exact a copy you can get of the Office 2003 interface... at least AFAI can tell, never used 2003 much.
        • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:11AM (#33892392)

          you'll be happy to know that riding a motorcycle is about as close as you can come to riding a kids trycicle.. at least AFAI can tell, never had a trycicle as a kid..

          but yeah, the step from office 2k/2k3 to OO is much smaller then to the new ribbon shit in 2k7

    • by xtracto (837672) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:57AM (#33892276) Journal

      Funny, I have yet to find anyone (except me...as I just hate it) in my workplace (research institute) who does not like the new ribbon interface.

      Frankly, it comes over even more toyish, more "Please treat me as a dumb user". It's aggravating.

      Well... that might be for your self aggravating ego; for the majority of users it means an interface that gets out of their way.

      quoting from TFA:

      After doing a little digging, we found that these quotes are actually from case studies and press articles from the last four years,

      What I would really like to hear is equivalent quotes of companies who successfully migrated from MS Office to OO.o. Is there any? (no, not /. pseudonym-"in my office"-anecdotes, but real company names)

      • 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.

        • by digitig (1056110)

          But for a 'Power User' that uses the keyboard shortcuts, one has to remember the 2003 menu layout and type away blindly

          Or use the new keyboard shortcuts, of course, but they're far less intuitive than the old ones precisely because they retained support for the old ones. What would be the intuitive keystroke for a selection often isn't available because it's already in use for back compatibility. One of the very many annoyances of the 2007 interface -- it's not only the ribbon, which is fine eye-candy but a usability nightmare.

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • Funny, I have yet to find anyone (except me...as I just hate it) in my workplace (research institute) who does not like the new ribbon interface.

        Just make sure that the people who say they like ribbon UI actually use MSOffice as anything else but Notepad replacement.

        I was totally oblivious to the upgrade of MSO in my company - as I use for my needs OO.o anyway. Even compared to the older versions, for technical documentation latter is superior (after disabling all the annoyances, obviously). When it comes to the official internal documents (and internal Wiki may note be used) I still have to go with MSO.

        It pain me every time I sit with others

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fast turtle (1118037)

          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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            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..

      • by q-the-impaler (708563) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:00AM (#33893100)

        My office of approx 50 people is about 50/50 OO.org and MS Office. The more technically-minded people took to OO.org. We still save in the MS format for compatibility. For the most part, the MS Office users have not migrated simply because they "think" it's going to make their jobs harder. There have only been a handful of incidents where there was a compatibility issue. Culturally, the two camps feel they are superior to each other, so it is an interesting social experiment and mimics the dichotomy you see on /. posts.

        • 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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by im_thatoneguy (819432)

            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 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 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 ByOhTek (1181381)

      Yes there is the price and the ribbon, and if anything office 2007 (not sure of 2010) seems to make it harder to do interesting things with my docs. I'd pay $100 for Word/Excel 2003 over OO.org (free), but I'm not sure I'd pay even $0.02 for 2007 or 2010 over OO.org.

      Still... In my experience, it beats OO.org. MSO crashes less (I really haven't had it crash on several computers in my normal use, OO crases maybe once every few months - a lot better than it was early in the 2000s, in terms of times of use, I u

      • 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)

    • Thanks to the Ribbon interface I spend much more time in the Microsoft Office products. It has never been easier to search for the tools that I've been using for over 10 years thanks to the new Ribbon interface. I just keep selecting tabs until I find the thing I was looking for. And it only took me half an hour to figure out what the Office Button was and that it was hiding operations like save as and print preview.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gbjbaanb (229885)

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malc (1751)

      I really like the ribbon. It's an improvement over the combination of toolbars and menus. I can seem to be able to find things more quickly. OpenOffice on the other hand looks and feels like Word for Windows 2, with all its problems.

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

      Because we all know that your subjective anecdotes comprise the entire userbase of MS Office, right? It's funny that you claim that so many people hate it yet the entire foundation behind the ribbon was based on feedback from users during usability and UI tests.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Well, the old interface (of Word, specifically) encourages bad usage. People would choose fonts of various sizes instead of using styles, which makes working with the documents in an actual publishing setting a fucking nightmare. The new one is a lot easier to use properly, and it's much more obvious how. Just like OpenOffice, in fact, but it goes one step further and sorts the various features so that they can be readily accessible without making a convoluted and cluttered interface.

      Objectively, it's simpl

    • 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 Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:59AM (#33893080)

        It shouldn't come as a surprise that MS is willing to whore themselves out to the lowest common denominator.

        Yes, how dare they make their software more usable and less opaque to the users instead of the other way around! That's clearly the antithesis of good software design.

        • 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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            How is bringing all 90% of the functionality within 3 clicks hiding functionality? Common tasks like page formatting are brought front and center in Office, whereas in Open office it's buried in a tab in a sub menu of a sub menu.

            Further advanced functionality, like ToC, Indexes, Bibliography, are made accessible to the user, rather than languishing unused in the menu system.

            You state the ribbon doesn't make sense, but you don't back that up. From my perspective it's perfectly logical. Want to change page di

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold (788862)

        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,

        • 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 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        So your argument amounts to change is bad, and making software more accessible and easy to use is not worth while. Do you have any actual criticism? How does the Ribbon actually stack up against OpenOffice's menu?

        Let's take changing page dimension for instance. In Office 2007, it's 3 clicks (Page layout > Size > Select). In Open Office 3.2, it's 6 clicks (Format > Page > Page > Format > Select Size > Ok). To change the size again (if you don't like it for instance) in Office it's 2 clic

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrXym (126579)
      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 u

    • 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 eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> 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.
    • 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.
      • Why are you upgrading if there is no reason to upgrade? This one still baffles me to no end.
        • by scrib (1277042)

          Because, mature as it is, they keep adding bells and whistles. Each new version comes out with some new capability, and some of the new capabilities have exploitable bugs. You have to keep up with the current patch levels to reduce your chances of getting pwned by opening a .DOC file. Eventually, Microsoft stops patching and supporting the old version that did everything you needed, but that old version still has security flaws.

          You get stuck in a cycle of updating just so you have a version that is official

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      Microsoft found a way to make people switch to Office 2010: in Europe, they sell Office 2010 at 10 euros to the people working for companies using Office 2010.

      This is a clever move to encourage people to switch to their latest products, and as usual, taking the money from companies.

  • 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]

  • Except... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xtracto (837672) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:49AM (#33892200) Journal

    Except that MS should focus on LibreOffice now... didn't they got the memo?

    Or is it because they know Larry Ellison hates Microsoft...

  • 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.
    • 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.

      • Sun owned the trademark before, it didn't hinder development then. From what I can see, the LibreOffice movement is a fork by *some* of the OpenOffice.org developers (note the some...) and the Open Document Foundation, its not a rebranding at all, but rather an attempt to wrest control from one entity and place it with another.
    • I don't know if it's going to go anywhere anyway. It seems more often then not, if I hear some random unsolicited comment in real life about OpenOffice, it's a negative one. Not from some form of software partisanship, but frustrations over problems with the software. The new name won't help.

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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 jimicus (737525)

        Thunderbird is a replacement for Outlook like Wordpad is a replacement for Microsoft Word.

    • Re:Outlook (Score:4, Informative)

      by guruevi (827432) <eviNO@SPAMsmokingcube.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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't suggest Lotus Notes. Your employees will want to slit their wrists.
  • 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 :)

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Alternate hypothesis - Microsoft is really worried about the competition that Google docs presents to the casual web-connected user to their own Live offerings; so distract from that threat by hyping the non-contender. Don't get me wrong, I like oOo a lot and have used it extensively, but for enterprises the difference between deploying Office and oOo is like... well, there isn't even effective deployment documentation for oOo.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:16AM (#33892434) Journal
      I think that your hypothesis has merit, in the sense that Google Docs is probably a bigger longterm threat(particularly to home user sales: once a corporation buys a bunch of sharepoint licenses, I suspect MS stops worrying); but I'm not sure that releasing this video will be much of a strike against Google Docs.

      Google's Docs thrust seems to be coming in two directions: one is the casual user pitch, by subtly linking it to their other offerings("view as HTML" for PDF results in a google search is now called "quick view" and, once clicked, dumps you into Google Docs, rather than the old static HTML version. Similar linkages are to be found in Gmail and so forth). I suspect that this will be fairly effective, particularly since Google Docs(while it doesn't even try to go toe-to-toe with Office's feature list, has a few absolutely killer features for casual users: Anyone who isn't a gearhead or a cube drone with a good IT team has historically been without both document versioning and an offsite backup. Docs gives you both, for free, relatively intuitively). The sort of people who are brought in by this pitch probably won't even see this MS video, or know of its existence. They might be brought into Microsoft's "Live" camp by MS doing similar linking to Hotmail; but that pretty much depends on which email service they've been using for years now. The video might have more value against Google's second pitch direction, the "$COMPANY_AND_OR_STATE_ENTITY Has Gone Google" advertisements, which are explicitly aimed at getting organizations to switch. Here again, Microsoft is probably pretty safe from Google among their giant corporate customers, since(if you buy enough add-ons, server products, and IT support) you can already get all the features of Office, plus things like versioning, backup, and availability on any computer in an enterprise; but any company/organization that was seriously using OpenOffice is much more likely to not be wedded to Microsoft to nearly that extent. They could, easily enough, say "OpenOffice is kind of a hassle; but the sticker shock on a proper Office deployment is killing me. Hey, Google has something that costs about as much, per year, as I spend at starbucks in a month, and nothing to install. Interesting..."
    • This is exactly what I was thinking. Microsoft does this sort of thing all the time. They avoid drawing attention to something when it's "up and comming", and then after the real threat has subsided (MS Office has matured a level, and OO is going downward) they create the strawman.
    • by Qbertino (265505)

      ... well, there isn't even effective deployment documentation for oOo.

      Official OpenOffice Deployment Documentation

      If you're using KDE:
      'sudo apt-get install openoffice.org-kde'

      If you're using Gnome:
      'sudo apt-get install openoffice.org-gnome'

      Glad I could help.

  • At least:
    - Linux
    - Firefox and Chrome
    - Thunderbird
    - Postgresql and MySQL
    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      I think the first half of the video was basically talking about how you have to actually pay *nix admins more money because its harder to fake being competent, and that by using MS products and hiring a bunch of mouse-clicking drones, you can pay them less and therefor save money you need to buy MS software. But I may have missed the point.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        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.
  • This may be a clue to Microsoft that not everybody loves the ribbon. At least not madly enough to pay for it.

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:13AM (#33892406) Homepage

    I'm not an open source zealot, don't use Linux, have no particular dislike for Microsoft, but Office hasn't really been on my radar for a long time. I used Word for years, but when I got a new computer a few years ago it didn't come with Office installed so I downloaded OpenOffice to see what it was like. Never went back -- there didn't seem to be any point. I'm sure there are many, many things that Microsoft Word, Excel etc can do that OpenOffice Writer, Calc etc can't do, but personally I've never hit that hurdle. Office may still be required for some business tasks, but for my own business and personal use, OpenOffice will do me fine. Thank you to the wonderful people that made it and released it for free!

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:14AM (#33892424) Journal
    Any coder who has profiled his/her code knows that a few lines, a few functions use most of the CPU time. Same way of all the features you find in an office suite, some 10% of it gets used very very heavily and another 20% of it would play spoiler in interoperability. Rest of the features are essentially bells and whistles meant to be used as bullet points in presentations made to top clients by the salesmen.

    Typically Microsoft would keep messing with file formats, binary blobs dumped into the files, fonts/menus etc in every release to keep increasing the "spoiler" features and increase costs to OpenOffice and other competitors who are trying to keep up with the interoperability.

    I have not seen any new feature in the last 5 years in MsOffice that is a must have feature or a killer feature. And most of the core functionality that could be saved and restored in Office97 format cleanly in MsOffice is done equally well in OpenOffice. Though it won the battle in getting OOXML certified as another "standard" format, the battle raised the visibility of interoperability issues and a few customers started actually separating "microsoft compatibility" from "interoperability". So they are setting the default save format is Office97 even on newer versions to keep their escape avenue open.

    Another important strategic mistake it made was ignoring the web based office tools. Microsoft knew there were millions of pirated copies of MsOffice is being used everywhere. It turned a blind eye to it thinking, "these guys would never actually pay for an office suite. If we crackdown they might go to OpenOffice. So let us keep them in the tent, as a way to deny market share to the competition". When the web based office tools started coming out, they saw it as a pathetic little pipsqueak not comparable to the full power of a desktop Office tool. But it siphoned off a large portion of the bootleg users who were looking for a legal option to do simple editing without having to pay for a full price MsOffice suite. Now compatibility and interoperability with these web office tools is an issue and it is tying down Microsoft. It is not able to play the usual, "make enough changes to the file formats and the api and the look and feel and leave enough bugs in there to make everybody look bad compared to the defacto standard microsoft ".

    Finally the software costs have soared. It used to cost 50$ for MsWord and 1900$ for a desk top in 1995. Now it is 100$ for a decent desktop and 300$ for MsOffice (more if you want these ultimate, professional versions). The hardware has become very powerful and a virtual machine running an WinXP 2005 image in a protected sandbox actually runs faster than the original machine it shipped with. People are recyling their old Microsoft Windows licenses and Office licenses using VMware.

    I think Microsoft will still milk a few more billions of dollars from MsOffice. But it is not going to grow as fast as it did. If they suspend all new development on it and just milk it for profits, they might actually make more money than trying to add more bells whistles and hidden mines and bombs to thwart interoperability.

  • 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?

    • 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?'

      one serious notable exception-

      Government websites: It's not worth the risk of usi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by InterGuru (50986)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 san

  • 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 scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:24AM (#33892504) Homepage

    Look at the comments on the site where the video was linked to. Most of the comments were negative toward OO. However it seems that the biggest issues are compatibility (with M$), ease of use (complaints from people who had learned WP and SS apps on M$ Office), speed and support. Since the 'world standard' for WP files seems to be M$.doc format and this is always a moving target the compatibility complaint is real. Ease of use is an issue, and OO does need to improve in this area. Having more 'training' documentation, perhaps some YouTube videos for this would help. 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. There is decent on-line support for OO, but it's all over the place. You might have to google all afternoon to find the right URL to find answers to your questions. I don't know if you can buy OO support from Conical (Ubuntu), but there is an oportunitiy there for them to fill.

    I use OO writer at home to write documents, and their spredsheet mostly to view excel files (which it does rather well, once I allow it to convert them to native format). I've had tons of problems with fixing format of documents imported from M$ word however. Once I get the format right on the screen it doesn't always print the same way. It's a WYSIAWYG problem. (What you see is ALMOST what you get). Mind you, OO (OK from now on LO) has promise and maybe now that it's been forked from Scum/Oriface it may improve as a true open source project. Gnu Cash took a while to get as good as it is, now it rivals the commerical product. Hopefully LO will improve to this point.

    • 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 per

    • 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.

  • The Video itself actually is quite good. It goes head-to-head with OOo and banks on the prime benefits of MSO compared to OOo. Familiarity, existing macros, performance on Windows, wide-spread usage as an advantage in itself, cost of switching, etc. I've seen use cases where current Excel versions beat OOo Calc in terms of features and performance.

    That all being said, the main point about MS Office that we all have had in the last 12 years is adressed aswell:
    I'm sure nobody in his right mind here would obje

  • by drolli (522659)

    Obviously: when the oracle starts to offer total solutions form the database servers over the Fileservers to thin clients, all based on their own/former suns products an a little bit of open source, and support from one hand - hmmm what could possibly go wrong for MS?

  • 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 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.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

Working...