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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won? 365

Posted by timothy
from the lifetime-achievement-award dept.
sfcrazy writes "The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, once said, 'If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.' Microsoft yesterday released one of its cash cows, Microsoft Office, for Android. Since Microsoft has a very vague idea of what users want and is suffering from lock-in, the app is just an Android front end of Office 365 and is accessible only by the paid users. There are already quite a lot of office suites available on Android including Office Pro, QuickOffice and KingSoft, so Microsoft will have to struggle there. Still it's a Microsoft core application coming to Linux. So, it looks like Linus has won."
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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won?

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  • Obligatory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scarboni888 (1122993) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:47AM (#44446395)


  • WINNING (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:48AM (#44446401)

    I don't know if it's something distinctly American or what but having a broader choice of operating systems and software that can run on a variety of them means WE WIN.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:49AM (#44446421)

    ... the game changed and Microsoft is losing this one.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <> on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:51AM (#44446457) Homepage

    Linux already "won" - his goal was to create a Unix-like OS and it became incredibly popular. As far as I am aware he has never shown much interest in getting MS Office for it, or for market share.

    Nice try creating animosity where there is none. The summary is full of typos and weasel-words. I'm not huge MS fan but the summary is full of bias in an attempt to turn a mildly interesting story into a flamewar or hatefest.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:53AM (#44446473) Journal

    It's a silly question, anyway.

    Linus isn't really linux by itself, he just had a critical part to play. The more accurate question would be "is Microsoft losing relevance and marketshare?" to which the answer is yes, and not really a surprise.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:56AM (#44446535)

    It seems silly to conflate this with Microsoft making products for Linux.

    This is just an app that's a wrapper for a web app. The same web app you can already run on Desktop Linux.

    Besides which, last I checked this wasn't a free webapp and was, in fact, a way for Microsoft to milk more money out of companies that would have otherwise only had to pay Microsoft for each Office license once. Now it's a monthly fee.

    The fact that it also works on other OSes is just a "bonus."

  • the only thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:57AM (#44446549) Homepage

    The only thing that O365 - a closed web platform available only to those who pay a subscription - on Android means is that users lose.

  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:00AM (#44446583)
    Linux is bigger and more important than 'beating' Microsoft. Sure, many of us go through the puerile stage of trying to win people over from Windows, but that usually ends when maturity teaches us two things: first, to be content having free as in freedom software we can use; second, not to volunteer ourselves for tech support by telling giving friends and relatives unsolicited advice to make significant changes to their computers.
  • by sjwt (161428) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:05AM (#44446661)

    Android Inc has shown what many of us have always said. If the OSS moment got around to making user friendly easy to use stuff, it will take off. All your forking and hiding behind the command line are just killing you. Installs are getting better, much better, but still the amount of work someone has to do is too steep a learning curve for your Average joe to be able to setup and maintain a general Linux system. In the old days it used to be said someone with an Average IQ could EITHER remember the road rules, or be able to program a VHS recorder timer.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:07AM (#44446703)
    That's like saying the car's engine is not important as the user is interacting with the steering wheel and pedals. Besides, I bet the user interface elements of Android could also be "replaced fairly easy". Anything can. But Linux plays many important roles in the background of an Android system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:07AM (#44446705)

    It uses the Linux kernel, therefore it "is Linux".

    It is not "GNU/Linux", if you're a Stallmanite; it uses none of the GNU userland. (Although who the hell ever actually said guhnoo-slash-linux anyway?)

    The graphics stack is not X11, but that hardly makes it a different entity.

  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:07AM (#44446709) Homepage Journal

    Linux the kernel is the core of both Android the operating system and GNU/Linux the operating system. If one gets pedantic, then technically Microsoft Office for Android satisfies the argument that it's supported on an OS running Linux the kernel, but when most people use "Linux", they're not referring to the kernel, but the operating system with all of its GNU and POSIX stuff.

    So, this is a win in the same sense that the Spruce Goose flew.

    If you're really being pedantic, and really want to start the flame war that you seem to be encouraging, "Linux" is the name of both the kernel and the original operating system, and some other organization has attempted to rename it to put their own brand in it more recently. Someday we may know it at MIT/BSD/GNU/Canonical/RHEL/Linux if that trend keeps up. Or we could just call it what the person who created it called it, and if GNU wants a GNU/whatever OS, they can release a distro with their name on it.

  • by Raven42rac (448205) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:08AM (#44446723)
    The community does the job of fragmenting the Linux community far better than Microsoft or Apple could ever hope to. That's the downfall.
  • Semantics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tuppe666 (904118) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:11AM (#44446747)

    Linux maybe the kernel, but the whole point of why Richard Stallman never had any luck persuading others with his then very valid point that it should be GNU/Linux, was Linux was such a important, significant, and difficult part of the OS that naming it anything else was stupid (and plain just not as catchy).

    The fact that it is used together with a whole host of userlands....Android perhaps the most viable and widespread hitting 900,000,000 install base is simply an aside. Its set to dethrone Microsoft this year.

    The fact that I benefit on a GNU/Linux desktop from the work google do elsewhere in their Chrome/Android OS is the wonderfulness of Linux's choice of GPL as a tit for tat licence.


  • by invid (163714) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:25AM (#44446947) Homepage

    So what you are saying is that both Linus and Richard Stallman won.

    No, Google won.

  • by tylikcat (1578365) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:25AM (#44446949)

    They are losing relevance. But they have a lot of relevance to lose, so expect them to be significantly relevant for a while yet.

    (May the Lord Bless and Keep Ballmer - far, far away from us.)

  • Re:Huh? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:29AM (#44447015)
    Some people think a person who eats shit from their own feet (in public and unaware that everyone saw it, no less) still have credibility.
  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:47AM (#44447209) Journal

    For the first time in a very long time, Microsoft isn't a "Windows" company. For a brief moment, there was someone who realized that in order to be relevant moving forward, Microsoft will have to stop being a "windows" company. Let see if it stays a "second tier" Office App on Android or if Microsoft makes it world class. That will be the true sign that Microsoft has or has not stopped being a Windows company.

  • by oGMo (379) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:48AM (#44447225)

    Disagree. They've been losing relevance for a long time, and we're noticing now that they're struggling to find any relevance. They did have a lot of relevance to lose, as they squandered away what relevance Windows had, trying for markets they were weak in (server) while neglecting markets they were strong in (desktop), all while continuing to be so far behind the curve they just don't get what's going on until it's years too late (mobile).

    They might have been a strong player in the game console market, but then they pulled an XBone.

    Business is still pretty big, but with Windows losing day-to-day familiarity with users, their last bastion is going to erode quickly as users start asking "why can't we use something else?" I fully expect them to throw billions at trying to find relevance for years to come, though. This all might be foreshadowed by RIM and Blackberry: originally king at business, trying to fit in elsewhere, disrupted by technology they didn't grasp, falling behind, throwing money at trying to stay relevant, while everyone else wants to move on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @10:51AM (#44447253)

    It's also the best feature. In fact, it may be the defining paradox/tension of Linux.

  • by schnell (163007) <[me] [at] []> on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:00AM (#44447347) Homepage

    Precisely. Linux as a kernel has "won," but Linux as a desktop OS is still far behind. And I think that's what Linus was talking about at the time, Linux on the desktop.

    Android is "Linux" to approximately the same extent that MacOS X is "BSD" or "Mach," and I don't think anyone imagines that BSD has "won" because of Office for Mac or that there are 900K iOS apps out there. I think it's much more appropriate to say that if anyone "won" here it's Android, but I think that Linus is smart enough not to try to take credit for what Google has done on top of "his" kernel.

  • by Raven42rac (448205) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:04AM (#44447385)
    A fragment of a fragment further segmented and compartmentalized by carriers and hardware makers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:08AM (#44447423)
    So what are they becoming, an "Office" company? I think they are going to be just another player on this market as well. There is only so much you can innovate a text editor, after that it just boils down to shuffling buttons and menus around.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @11:12AM (#44447487)

    Microsoft is pushing for subscription services because they realised their greatest competitor is themselves from five years ago. Look how long it took to get people off of XP. They reached the point where their software was 'good enough' that no-one has a compelling reason to upgrade to a new version, and the loss of a perpetual upgrade cycle ruins the whole business model.

  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @02:10PM (#44450037) Journal

    Word is the least interesting part of Office. It solves a problem that few people have any more: editing a document for printing. Word was important during the era of "desktop publishing", starting when home printers became decent, and ending when people stopped handing around printed paper as a way to communicate.

    The important Office products are PowerPoint and Excel. There are no good competitors for either. And while I wouldn't want to edit either on my phone, being able to project a slideshow or spreadsheet from one's phone will be really big deal for years to come.

The speed of anything depends on the flow of everything.