Monday, July 21, 2008

OpenOffice.org - Microsoft's Biggest Competitor?

It would seem so.  I've been testing the Beta versions of OpenOffice.org 3.0, tentatively scheduled for release this fall.  We are currently up to Beta 2, which I have installed on my PC's, but I still need to get my work PC updated (which requires one of the administrators to come and do the work).  So on the marketing list, someone pointed out this advertisement for a job with Microsoft.  It is for a Marketing Manager position with something called the Breadth Team.  From what I can tell, the Breadth Team focuses on pushing Microsoft products to small and medium size businesses (SMBs).

Down buried in the add is this bit of information about what the team does:
"helping our field and partners win against our biggest competitors in this space, particularly OpenOffice and MySQL"

Yep, you read it right - Microsoft's Breadth Team, trying to make sales in the SMB market, is particularly concerned with OpenOffice and MySQL.  If you've read much here, hopefully you already know all about OpenOffice.org and maybe have even tried it out (it is all I use) for your office productivity suite.  I highly recommend it.

For those not familiar, MySQL is a database product.  It is not a small, user based database like Access that some may be familiar with.  It is a server based database that can scale from very small applications up to large enterprise uses.  It is probably most famous for being the "M" part in the acronym LAMP - Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (or Perl) - a set of technologies frequently used to power web sites.  In fact, this web site is running on a LAMP server.  I've also done quite a bit of work with the vTiger CRM solution which runs on a LAMP server (and vTiger is in turn an open source version of the SugarCRM application).  The Microsoft version of an enterprise based database would be Microsoft SQL Server.

Being an OpenOffice.org advocate, of course I find it very interesting that Microsoft sees OpenOffice.org as such a competitor.  I still think the changes Microsoft made to its Office suite for the 2007 version are real productivity killers.  The good part though is that they might prompt users to look at OpenOffice.org and find they can get all the functionality they need with a familiar interface (avoiding extensive training costs) and for free.  And personally, I hear some people talk about how MS Office is still the right choice for the small percentage of power users out there.  I can't agree with that as I probably fall into that power user group and find OpenOffice.org to be much more stable and useful.

Anyway, enough of my soapbox.  While it represents a big challenge having a target on you, especially when the organization aiming the sight is Microsoft, it also says a lot about the quality of the product.  At least in my opinion.  So get out there, download OpenOffice.org, and give it a try.

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