Monday, 18 October 2010

On Microsoft's "OpenOffice Perspectives" video

[Based on a comment in a LinkedIn discussion.]

Microsoft recently published a video entitled "A Few Perspectives on"1

Publishing the video is a clear sign of weakness and worry on MS's part.
Let's compare. Microsoft is a NASDAQ-quoted corporation with about 90,000 employees, and a market capitalisation of around $223bn on annual revenues of about $62.5bn. is a small business unit of Oracle (formerly Sun Microsystems), producing a standards-based free office suite.

Why would MSFT even bother to acknowledge There are only two possibilities that come to mind:

1. MSFT doesn't like Oracle, so it wants to damage them as much as possible. Well, that's plausible;
2. MSFT's very seriously worried about its free-as-in-beer competition, and it's hurting.

Even if the true reason's 1., going to that much bother to try to rubbish OO.o makes it look to the world like 2. I suspect it's a mixture of both. More and more businesses are seeing the sense in not licensing N thousand copies of MS Office if they can have a free competitor that works well and can usually read MSO documents that don't contain too many macros.

But that video can only be considered a desperate rear-guard action. Let's face it, any business with the market penetration of MSFT can scare up a few customers who tried the opposition's product and came back into the fold - it would be shocking if it couldn't.

Publishing the video is a clear sign of weakness and worry on MS's part. Ironically, it probably helps the Open Source community more than it hinders it. After all, it's a backhanded validation of the OO.o suite of programs - and how much revenue does stand to lose?

1 Follow this link, and you ought to see "A Few Perspectives on" as the only option. MS appears to invalidate direct links, so you have to use the search function to get to it. You'll probably need SilverLight or MoonLight installed too.