The Open Office: Behind The Scene Story

The story is familiar: Microsoft develops (or licenses and re-brands) a product, shrewdly distributes the product globally, then positions and promotes the product until it dominates the marketplace, leaving the consumer with little to no choice for the open office. People don’t enjoy being told what to buy and eventually, new solutions started to sprout up.

Microsoft OS

First came the operating systems, where Microsoft started to see growing competition for Windows. This competition was not just with Mac OS. Linux, Ubuntu and others started to rise in popularity by tapping into people’s sensibilities (ie: free-ness), and embracing the open-source revolution. So while Windows still current dominates, the tide is turning.

The Internet Explorer Browser

Next came Internet Explorer, which brought Microsoft into the courtroom as defendants on many anti-trust and monopoly lawsuits in the open office. This pushed the Mozilla Foundation and the many open-source and free browsers its supports (Firefox, Opera, etc.) into the limelight and forever changed the way people browse the internet.

OpenOffice Vs Microsoft office

The next character to venture into this story is OpenOffice and’s 20+ years of supporting the development of a free, open-source productivity suite to compete directly with Microsoft’s excessively successful MS Office. In case you missed that OpenOffice is FREE, MS Office is NOT.

All those programs you love to hate, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, are there. They have a word processing program called Writer, a spreadsheet called Calc, and a presentation program called Impress in the open office.  Additionally, there’s a database program and apps for drawing, HTML, and even a math equation editor.

The best part of this suite is the ease of use. All the applications function very similarly to their equivalent in Office, so the learning curve is minimal. For advanced users, they’ve included Macro’s, Pivot Tables (known as Data Pilots), and the keyboard shortcuts are virtually identical. If you’re stumped, introduce yourself to the OpenOffice community, I guarantee you’ll find the answer you need.

So if you don’t enjoy opening your wallet for a new MS Office version every 3-4 years (Office 2010 is due out soon), consider making the switch. The range of formats supported by OpenOffice is incredible and includes all MS Office extensions (.doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, etc.). It’ll even convert from one format to the other for you.

Not convinced? Check out some reviews and side-by-side comparisons. When you’re done, get your copy of OpenOffice here at not responding.

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