05.11.10

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Microsoft’s Biggest Cash Cow Meets Vegan Society

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash cow

Summary: Why Microsoft Office is having an ongoing crisis where people’s tools of choice undergo transition

MICROSOFT’S biggest cash cow (by far the biggest) is Microsoft Office, but Office figures were down in the last financial report [1, 2, 3] (Microsoft used Vista 7 as a red herring to distract from that).

The matter of fact is that there is something going for stripped-down, simple, Web-oriented (portable), highly interactive, and/or ODF-complaint tools that achieve the same goals as Office, usually without clutter and notorious “Ribbon” interfaces. They are also less expensive and can be more uniform across platforms and parts of the world.

Microsoft Office is essentially a carriage in an age when more people start discovering automobiles. According to this report, Microsoft’s plan of offering a cost-free (gratis) version of Office is becoming true, as expected.

When Microsoft launches its latest business and personal software suite Office 2010 on Wednesday in New York, it will introduce a free version, Office Web Apps, to compete with Google.

Google is not Microsoft’s only competition, so this is misguided. Both options are proprietary by the way (we can recommend neither), but only Google supports ODF. OpenOffice.org is best known as the Free/libre solution and Microsoft is trying to derail it too.

The important point to make here is that Microsoft is cannibalising its own products in the whole process, all because of fierce competition. The Office business is down and, barring events-driven fluctuations, Windows revenue declines too (Microsoft is dumping and lowering prices to fight against and stave off GNU/Linux).

According to Mercury News, Microsoft Word is becoming increasingly passé too.

The reason: Orbit Baby needs someone who is confident, outgoing and, perhaps most important, technology-savvy. Hei says a traditional Microsoft Word document wouldn’t necessarily show him the skills he’s looking for. The person hired will have to be comfortable leading demonstrations in groups and using video communication programs like Skype to talk with clients.

What about PowerPoint? How about the following from the news:

It is a paradigm issue. GNU/Linux does not necessarily encourage use of office suites because historically it’s a platform for many scientists. Many users just use LaTeX (maybe with a front ends like LyX or Kile) to actually compose letters and write documents that mean something and convey meaningful information. As for mail, programs like Outlook are being replaced by Web-based mail (an increasingly richer experience with decent filtering and portability), aided further by ECMs, CMSs, and microblogging/IM.

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A Single Comment

  1. Jose_X said,

    May 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

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    We’ll have to keep watching Google; however, I think Microsoft deserves a call from antitrust authorities for this:

    [From AP via Yahoo http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Microsoft-gets-more-apf-26019122.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode= ]

    >> That’s still far less than the 81 percent that use Microsoft’s last Office software package, Office 2007. ..

    >> Nevertheless, McLeish said Microsoft needed a defensive move against the online apps from Google and other rivals that are pushing this concept, which is often called “cloud computing.” She noted that businesses that do want Web-based programs might prefer Microsoft’s because its online software was built to trade documents with Microsoft’s desktop programs without losing formatting.

    Using a monopoly in one market (and this point would be argued by Microsoft, as they did with Windows, because they don’t have 100%) to help you stifle a competitor is illegal in the US.

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