Microsoft Disparages OpenOffice – Validating OpenOffice As A Competitor

imageI’ve often wondered just how many users actually run a fully licensed version of Microsoft Office – one that they’ve paid for. I wonder, because Microsoft Office is so outrageously expensive.

Here in Canada, the Home and Student version goes for $160.00, with the Office Home and Business costing $350.00. At the top end, Office Professional 2010 will set you back a mind bending $670.00. (Sharp shoppers may be able to buy any version at a discounted price, however).

I will admit, that I run a licensed version of MS Office 2010 on one of my machines, and a licensed version of MS Office XP on another. But, I also run OpenOffice 3.2 on a Linux (Ubuntu 10.04) machine.

If you’ve been around computing for a while, then you’re probably aware that OpenOffice is the leading open-source (FREE) office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and …..

Since I now spend 70% of my computing time in Ubuntu, more and more I find myself using OpenOffice 3.2. While not a perfect replacement for MS Office, OpenOffice 3.2 more than meets my business needs. As well, OpenOffice offers me a big plus – it can read and write files from other common office software packages, including Microsoft Word.

I’m not going to write a review on OpenOffice 3.2 today, in an attempt to convince you that this free office suite can effectively go head-to-head with MS Office (I’ve recommended O.O. here, numerous times) – I’ll let Microsoft do the convincing.

Most of us are pretty familiar with negative political ads. You know the type – the candidates disparage each others accomplishments, experience, ability, fitness for the job, and on and on.

Microsoft has taken a page from this playbook, and has recently begun a campaign to tear down OpenOffice by focusing on what Microsoft considers to be the downside of working with OpenOffice. Watch the following YouTube video then you be the judge.

While watching this video, keep in mind that it is sound business practice to go after only those who are considered competition – why waste time on those who can’t hurt your sales.

Obviously then, Microsoft now considers OpenOffice to be a threat to their core MS Office product line. If OpenOffice wasn’t every bit as good as most observers consider it to be, it seems to me Microsoft wouldn’t be making any effort to convince consumers otherwise. They would simply ignore OpenOffice.

But no, they see the threat and are reacting to it.


OpenOffice is available for the following operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, and others.

To learn more about this outstanding open source Office Suite, go here.

There is some discussion at the moment as to whether Oracle will continue to support OpenOffice, but according to an Oracle statement dated October 13, 2010, it appears that they will.

Oracle’s growing team of developers, QA engineers, and user experience personnel will continue developing, improving, and supporting as open source, building on the 7.5 million lines of code already contributed to the community.

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Filed under downloads, Free Office Suites, Free Word Processors, Freeware, Linux, Mac, MS Word Alternatives, Open Office, Open Source, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

14 responses to “Microsoft Disparages OpenOffice – Validating OpenOffice As A Competitor

  1. Hi Bill,

    I use LibreOffice ( which is a new fork from some of the developers of OpenOffice. They were unsure of the direction Oracle were taking OpenOffice, so they decided to keep it going themselves. LibreOffice is the result of their work.

    To be perfectly honest, I have never really noticed a difference between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice, except for the price. They both do the job, and OpenOffice is free; no competition really, as far as I’m concerned.

    Microsoft must really be worried, eh? lol Looks good on them.

    • Hey Paul,

      I was on the LibreOffice site this morning actually. I was going to get into a discussion on that argument, but decided against it – at least for the time being.

      I agree – the differences between MS Office and OpenOffice, as far as an average user is concerned, are relatively minor. Except of course, as you noted “the price”. Not an inconsiderable difference!



  2. Ramblinrick


    Downside to using Microsoft is simply “cost”… You would think over the years a price drop would occur due to the expansion of the user base. OpenOffice is definitely an alternative.

    What is ironic, in most businesses, the investment in Microsoft Office (and other products) is put forth, at a very high cost, and the majority of end users really do not use the full potential of the products. In essence, most places are paying an exorbitant licensing fees so that everyone can have a word processor. I see it everyday where I currently work.


    • Hi Rick,

      A really essential point, and I’m glad you made it – “most places are paying an exorbitant licensing fees so that everyone can have a word processor”. Sound crazy and wasteful, but it’s totally on the money. Sure, there are instances where the full power of MS Office is put to the test, but it’s a small percentage of the installed user base.

      Great comment!


  3. g

    I use a licensed copy of msft office 2003 at work.
    At home I have a licensed msft office 2003 on my laptop and open office on my desktop but never use it because I don’t do much of this at home so when I have to, I use google docs.

    office 03 is easier to use than open office imho.
    i’m not a power user though so i could probably get away with using notepad lol!

    • Hey G,

      Well, for the second time in 3 years we’re gonna disagree. lol Nah, I’m only kidding ya. I understand where you’re coming from.

      When I first set up O.O. on my Ubuntu system, it took a little getting used to – no doubt about it. I’m very comfortable with the “ribbon” in Word, and I miss that feature most of all when I’m in O.O. But, I just couldn’t see pushing out more bucks for something that’s more or less replaceable for free. Overall I’m comfortable in O.O., but for sure, there are a ton of folks who would rather stay with what they know.



      • g

        No disagreement Bill! I don’t have the ribbon with 03. Because I’m not a power user, I can pretty much get along with OO or Office (or Google docs for that matter).

        I used to be an excel power user so it really does come down to what a person is used to. Now days though I have specific software that for the most part replaced my excel power using (macros).

        Now days I still use excel almost daily but only use it for task specific reports which I can easily do with excel, office, or docs.

        So I guess what it comes down to is what a person is comfortable with or what their pocket book will allow. Back in the day, there wasn’t really any other contender other than office for performing these functions. Now days I wouldn’t hesitate to use OO or Google docs because in effect, they do everything Office does and compatibility across the various products is no longer an issue.

        Microsoft should be worried about their market share. That is definitely a given.

  4. Bill,
    I’m really glad Microsoft has stooped to this low, fear mongering and bulllying level with OO. The result is going to be that many people, including Oracle, will want to support the small, helpless folks in supporting them and by further shunning MS and moving to OO. I love it! How dumb MS is to have done this, at this critical time in’s existance. As I’ve mentioned before, I think they’ve gotten too large to make a smart decision…or do anything right.
    Great article!

    • Hey Paul,

      LOL! I hear ya – it really is a dumb decision. By recognizing O.O. as competition, MS does nothing more than give status to an application that has struggled for recognition for years. How dumb is that! And, you’re right – if Oracle ever needed a good reason to really get behind O.O., Microsoft’s fear that O.O. will bleed off sales of MS Office, has got to be a convincing reason. All in all, we should really thank Microsoft. 🙂

      Thanks for the great comment.



  5. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    You’re right about people sticking with what they know, which is why I still use Windows despite it annoying the c**p out of me a lot of the time! Interestingly it was Microsoft themselves that provided the tipping point that propelled me to Open Office. The version of MS Office that shipped with Windows 7 was completely alien to me, whereas the O.O. interface was perfectly familiar (I mainly use the word processor). So, in a funny way, I stuck with what I know by changing.

    Kind regards


    • Very interesting John. This is one instance where familiarity does not breed contempt.

      Your comment points out, once again, how many of us dispense with all the bells and whistles in Office, and focus on the word processor.

      Always good to hear from you.



  6. Rob

    In my small business I have about 25 computers on the network. OpenOffice is the easiest and most affordable way for me to have a document viewer on the less vital machines.

    I have about 5 copies of Microsoft Office, mostly 2003 versions, on the vital machines. The rest of the machines have OpenOffice installed.

    There is no way I can afford, or justify spending the amount of money it would take to purchase Microsoft Office for each of the other machines. The machines on on my retail store counter are never used for sending letters. Instead, they are used to view vendors’ pricelists and specifications that are mostly pdf. However, there are still a few occasions where the information is stored or created in an Excel Spreadsheet.

    If there were an affordable (Less than $100usd) version of office that included Word and Excel (maybe even PowerPoint), I would simply purchase those. Instead, we are forced to purchase a bloat-ware version of office, that only a small segment will ever fully utilize.


    • Hi Rob,

      Your points are well made. If the full capacity of Office to do work isn’t utilized, then, as you say, you have purchased bloat-ware – and at considerable cost.

      You seem to have worked out a very satisfactory solution to a difficult situation. There’s a very good lesson in that.

      Thank you for your very instructive comment.