Linux

Microsoft Office to Linux: Outlook doubtful

The rumors are rampant -- Microsoft is considering a port of MS Office to Linux. Jack Wallen tackles this topic and comes to a conclusion that might surprise you.
Many have already either seen or spread the rumor that Microsoft is considering a port of one of their many cash cows to the Linux platform. The rumor started when a statement from a single writer attending the Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels hit the Internet and spread like mad. The statement said simply that Microsoft was having a "meaningful look" at a full Linux port of their office suite.

On some levels this does make sense. On the corporate and mid-size business level, Linux is gaining traction for the desktop. As that momentum continues, companies will be forced to adopt LibreOffice as the office suite of choice for those desktops. So instead of Microsoft losing bottom line on one front (Windows), they lose it on two (Windows and MS Office). So why not port Office to Linux. That port would mean Microsoft could at least retain the income from their flagship office suite.

To me (and probably to you) that makes perfect sense. Not only would Microsoft be retaining that income stream, they would add to it from a portion of the Linux-using community purchasing the office suite -- simply to avoid what few compatibility headaches are suffered from switching between LibreOffice and MS Office (though most of those can be easily avoided). But even that doesn't really hold water. We're talking about Microsoft giving up -- they don't give up. Instead, MS plays dirty and does everything it can to retain its stranglehold on the consumer and businesses.

But then...

There is the Chromebook issue. Chromebooks are selling like crazy. Microsoft would be foolish to think those inexpensive laptops wouldn't make for a good revenue stream. And let's face it -- with the backlash against Windows 8, Microsoft is going to need all the revenue streams it can get!

And what about tablets? If Microsoft ports to Android, they may as well port to Linux. Right?

Of course, the one thing Microsoft is most likely more concerned about is Steam on Linux. Games have always been the great tipping point for PCs. The platform with the best games always wins -- and Windows has been the only desktop player in the game. Now... the Scales of Justice are tipping and Linux is starting to seem more and more like the better platform for the home user.

  • Less cost
  • Less downtime
  • More secure
  • More choice

So sure... Microsoft would be foolish to not consider porting the one piece of software they have that businesses absolutely rely on. Think about it -- the way business works today (mostly web-based), a good portion of businesses could switch to either Linux or Mac and not miss a beat. Those same businesses would have a harder time doing without MS Office (and Outlook in particular).

But still -- it all seems too good to be true. Microsoft has had plenty of time to consider (and probably even perfect) a port to Linux. If they were going to do it, it would already be done and leaked onto the internet. Besides, Microsoft already knows how stubborn the Linux community is. First and foremost -- the vast majority of the Linux community would probably say, "Thanks, but I don't want your bloatware." Another portion would say, "You want me to pay for software?" That remaining portion of the community would be crying out, "Purchase this so other companies can see Linux is a viable solution!"

Few in the Linux community would be rallying behind this simply because they felt the platform needed MS Office. And, to be honest, it doesn't. Although Linux would benefit GREATLY by having MS Outlook (the one tool that the vast majority of business users cannot do without), I just don't see Microsoft taking this plunge.

In the end, at least from my perspective, if Microsoft were to do this, they would probably see a serious drop-off in sales of Windows-based machines. Linux on the desktop would not only gain ground, it might well start to creep up into Windows-like numbers. And Microsoft has to know this. If Linux gains the one tool businesses rely on, those businesses are sure to make the leap to a platform they know will run more reliably and, in the end, cost them far less money.

As much as I want to see this happen, I just don't believe it. But should it happen, you can bet on this one thing -- that cry of 'World domination!' might well have been more a prophesy than a dream.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

75 comments
shadowmane
shadowmane

I haven't tried it yet, but the whole suite is part of the Outlook online email system. Therefore, you have access to the entire office suite from Linux if you must have it.

billev2k
billev2k

Despite years of trying, and really smart people working on the problem, Microsoft is still unable to produce a halfway decent OS/X port of office. Sadly, I know, from personal experience. Excel can be like a dream; Excel for Mac, more a bad dream. Every time they get something right, the slip in a Windows-ism that is jarring. The resulting Frankenapp is neither fish nor fowl, Mac nor Windows. So, frankly, I'm really happy to live in an environment that is fairly unpolluted by ms office!

rwe9
rwe9

I can not understand why anyone would pay for office, when several very similar products are free or much lower priced. I consider it a failure of both management and IT, if they don't change away from the overpriced, buggy, and too frequently changed MS products, to more stable, much less expensive, and generally better products to do the same thing. Only sloth, or intellectual inadequacy seems to explain the continued use of MS products.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I don't even want to think how much effort would be required to do that, and that's before you consider the cost of not duplicating significant portions of it which would require considerable changes to the windows code. It would be easier and less risky to start again. Propeller head idea, if ever I heard one.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Rumors of a Linux port has been floating around for years - maybe longer than 10. Just because one "writer" says it will comes doesn't mean it will. Why they won't port it? 1) Outside of some server related development for Hyper-V, there really isn't anything from Microsoft that is Linux related. It would be like starting a new "division" like Microsoft's few Apple oroducts. 2) Why spend R&D on an OS with a stagnat 1.2% OS market share? Better off spending the money on an iOS port than a Linux port. 3) Too many Lunix distros to figure out what works and what doesn't. 4) Linux users tend to want things for free. They don't want to spend money. Microsoft won't give it sway. This rumor reminds me of the rumor of an IE port for Linux. you know where that went [some even suggested that it indeed existed but never left Microsoft].

TNT
TNT

Jack makes a valid point that a lot of Linux users either don't like Microsoft or don't like paying for software, so why make office for every version of Linux? If I were MS I would port office to work on supported versions of Linux, like Red Hat. The business community is the bread and butter for an Office port, not individuals.

alzie
alzie

I personally wouldnt go for it, but if it helps the biz community "come over to the dark side", WTF its a good thing.

Robynsveil
Robynsveil

...speaks volumes. And it's all quite believable, based on what was discussed in the Halloween Documents. Give anything to be a fly on the wall during the discussions that led up to this...

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

I never thought I would say this...first, Libre/OpenOffice both suck - OUT LOUD. I hate the way java programs feel. But... As passionate Linux user, I am happy with almost everything about it but I use Linux primarily to provide technology solutions; secondarily, it is my desktop; I switch between F18 and a beautiful Mac. While I evangelize it as a server, I can't push it to my business users for 1 reason: they know, love, and won't use anything other than MS Office. It would be huge coup for me, and the people I support, if MS did port Office to Linux. If you ask the average user, "What OS are you using?" they would just shrug say, "idunno". So, I think the changing of the OS would be a noticeable but ultimately irrelevant shifting of the landscape around them. Though there would be a slight learning curve, navigating the file-system in the "Save As" windows, I doubt they would care but without MS Office the conversation is a non-starter. On the other side, I've recently started using Windows again; the corporate laptop was forced on me, what can I say? But, coming from 4 years of solid {Open,Libre}Office use, I can say that MS Office is 1) far more mature, that's a given but 2) it just "feels" better. MS Office has a lot of features that I'm reacquainting myself with that the open Office packages just don't have or are buggy. I use Google Docs more than either of them though. It's platform-independent, has all the features I would need, has hot-key support, great templates, and it feels good. For better or worse, I would take 1) Google Docs over all else, 2) MS Office, 3) Gedit, and 4) not {Open,Libre}Office unless the others were unavailable.

edwardtisdale
edwardtisdale

The way I see it, Linux is a platform that gives people the freedom to build and unbuild a custom machine of their own. With the addition of a Windows product, some or more of this freedom might be at risk of being taken away by a proprietary company that doesn't let you build a system the way you want, by sticking a proprietary program in it and using it monetarily. If Windows decides to port to Linux, it better be to only one distro, so that people can still have the many Linux distros that are free from proprietariness in which to build their own custom machines. If one proprietary program is added now by a company as notorious as Microsoft, I think it endangers the open sourceness of Linux and the freedom of future computing. Remember, Linux isn't an Operating System, it's a kernel; a free kernel for anyone who wants to use it.

ddalley
ddalley

How do commercial releases handle open source agreements?

alfred
alfred

Being elderly retired I did not want to spend more money on MS Office after I got 2003 at a discount through my Engineering Institution. Recently I found a spreadsheet on line which I needed but Microsoft has moved on to make its old Office incompatible. The .xlsx file could not be read in MS Office 2003 but Libre Office read it without any problems. So why waste money on Microsoft every 18 months or so when you can keep up to date for free?

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

...and if so, is MS legally allowed to decide not to port Office to Linux, given that that would be hugely profitable for the Office division, although hugely loss-making for the Windows division? ;-)

Goggins56
Goggins56

One of the reasons that I've started using Linux is because of the miniscule chance of viruses, malware, etc. My fear is that if MS Office is ported to Linux, then Linux will eventually see more hackers, virus/malware/spyware writers.

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

I still use Windows XP and Office 2003, and the main reason I will be switching to Linux when Windows XP no longer works is that current versions of Office are worse than MSO 2003; the replacement of the heirarchical menu tree with the ribbon system was a step backward for productivity, and there is no reason to believe that MS won't continue to regularly create new versions of MSO that don't work properly, instead of fixing MSO once and for all. My big concern has always been that Linux developers keep trying to imitate Microsoft by bloating their offerings with eye candy and features few people really need, instead of concentrating on making their offerings more useful, reliable and secure. You can't solve a problem by copying it.

info
info

Although the article is right on a most counts, it's missing a few key points. I support computers and networks because I'm good at it. I assumed that everyone that supported them was as good. I found out that's not true. By a long shot. Then I thought, "If these people that are supposed to be specialized in their field flummoxed by something I consider 'easy', how does the AVERAGE user react?" I found out the answer was, "Not well." This is where Mr. Wallen falls into a trap. Sure, WE think that changing from Office to LibreOffice to Lotus SmartSuite to whatever is a breeze, and it is. Like cars, they're designed so that getting out of one and into another is pretty much the same experience, except for the small details and certain features that define one particular platform. Your 'typical' support tech, and the office 'power user' is going to need more than a few minutes, finding out where all the knobs and buttons are, and testing the features to see how they may work differently, but they're going to learn it eventually. Now the 'average' user, they're going to react as if they've been dropped into a Hungarian-made car that's made Right Hand Drive for the UK, and they'll FREAK. Support and training costs will sky-rocket. I've witnessed this first-hand. So the typical network admin, and his financial overlords, will figure that the extra cost of ~$150 per PC will be completely justifiable, and they'd be right. Now, if you could only give that same office admin a Linux version that does file access like Windows and MS Office? THAT would be a reason to make them look twice... (And I'm serious. One portion of the changeover I witnessed was changing from using Banyan Vines Email to MS Outlook. The 'paper airplane' button was changed to the 'Send' button, and 80% of the users had trouble with that concept...)

knuthf
knuthf

Apple (that I use most) has no competing "Office Suite" - they have "skinned" an old version of Open Office, and made no effort to integrate anything. I cannot email from "Pages" - like I can in Word, I cannot the address book in Mail, just pick email addresses from it... so that sucks. But on Linux there are tons of "Integration scripts" and patches that allows LibreOffice to access my Contacts and appointments in Thunderbird or Evolution or SeaMonkey or whatever. These are documented, source available, and a competent consultant can make the changes I need. Except for one: I run MS Office here in Wine (Excellent Windows emulator) - but this still stores in MS native files, that are limited to the 32 bit FAT. I have 30+GB of emails on my laptop, and need to search what was done 8 years ago on a similar project, so archiving is impossible. MS also need full 64bit repositories for emails and documents and drawings and media, and what is easier than to can Win8 and move to Linux, say Mint? Then they have aqcuired Skype that needs the full tcp/ip stack, they have invested in commercial channels, and can end their venture into acquiring operating systems. bear in mind, none of the OS they sell have been developed from scratch by them ( ok maybe Windows 3.1). They don't have to pay for Linux, Steve Ballmer loves freebies. What they should fear is that someone, like Canonical comes up with a real killer solution - better than Unify, maybe in conjunction with the Linux variant "Android" that is spreading like wildfire.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

Dear Microsoft Office, We don't need you. Sincerely, Linux Seriously though, Great article. I can't imagine any business that has made the switch to Linux not having thought out the issue of Office type apps ahead of time, so I doubt there is a huge market there. The truth is, with each new version, Office gets bigger, bulkier, and slower. Prettier, yes, but often the new interface is frustrating and takes weeks to get used to. I would also point out that Google for Business will work fine on Linux, or any platform for that matter. Great article Jack!

purplewelshy
purplewelshy

I have been working supporting IT for about 40 years and in all the customers I had: Birmingham careers service, Barclays Bank, Nat West Bank, Anderson Consulting (as it was then) LLoyds Bank, British Shoe Corporation, selfridges Northern Trust, Coventry City Council, Birmingham City Council, The Sears Group etc etc etc didn't use a Micky Mouse product like Microsoft Outlook. When you talk about businesses I suspect you are talking about Mr Bun the baker, Ann's Florist, Spud U Like etc. Hardly the sort of companies to worry about small fry like them will always stick to a PC from Pcworld and Microsoft products, as they are only happy with products they know and that their teenage kids can support for free. Talk to them about leveraging their existing infrastucture by supernetting two contiguous class 'C' IP addresses together and see what looks you get :-P

fjp
fjp

One of MS’s mistakes (IMO) was not to make earlier versions of Office available at a discount. People who couldn’t afford (or simply didn’t like) the latest version have never had a legitimate way of getting an earlier one that might better suit their needs, so they went to fleabay or blagged a work copy. Law of unintended consequences (and I still like Office 2000 best).

Red_One
Red_One

For thinking that once you get it working on BSD (OSX) a port to Linux (or BSD?) would be trivial for a company the size of Microsoft?

Slayer_
Slayer_

MS isn't that crazy. MS isn't going to die either, they may just shift to other markets.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you don't have web access, then you don't have Office. Running ON Linux means you can yank the cable and still run the application.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

I'm with you but... It only takes a minute to hold a press conference to say, "No". Maybe, since it really is only a rumor, MS is sitting back... watching... considering the possibility of a small (granted, but), yet untapped market. If they made it and no one bought it, that's one thing. But, if the risk was low enough they might take a stab at it. I'd sell it to my clients. The down-side for MS is, of course, for every Linux workstation out there, it's one less copy of Windows being sold. But again, saying "No" is easy; tough call.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[b]Linux users tend to want things for free.[/b] That may be true for Domestic Users but it's certainly not true for Commercial Users. Just the bleeding Obvious IBM Blades can be loaded with either Red Hat or SUSE both of which the company Hiring/Leasing that Blade pays for and most business also pays Support that will fix any code problems within 48 Hours. Try getting support like that from Microsoft it's not going to happen. So loading Office on a Nix Blade and pushing it out like is done on a Terminal Server could be a very profitable Income Stream for Microsoft on a very Stable Platform that they do not have to support. Currently I know that it's a very profitable Income Stream for Industrial Light & Magic with their Computer Generated Video Image Software. They are a very limited sector of the business and are the industry leader in it. Microsoft could make a killing on that type of Hardware being pushed out across the entire company over all the different platforms that the Bring your Own Device/Disaster currently has. You are not limited to one Platform and the Licensing per User can be very expensive depending on the type of CAL that gets used. Red Hat is not a Free Nix you can not get any current version of Red Hat free at all, they are all Paid For. Sure the Development side of Red Hat, Fedora is free but it's most defiantly not as stable as Red Hat Enterprise and the companies using Red Hat are not going to move to Fedora to save a few $. Sure the Domestic Users are not overly likely to adopt a Nix Version of Office but then again they are unlikely to adopt a Free Version of Office either, after all why would they want something like that, they are proud of the fact that they are Microsoft Free so personally I can not see many wanting to adopt a Free Nix Version of Office even. Business on the other hand which is Microsoft's Bread & Butter are a different story. I currently support 3 companies with 6 thousand CPU Blades and while that may not be a large number I'm certain that I'll never see one of those Blades in a Domestic Environment under any circumstances. ;) Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

doesn't mean the program itself has to be open source. MS would not be obligated to release the code. Many hardware drivers for Linux are closed.

SirWizard
SirWizard

Alfred, you should download the free "Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats". It enables you to work transparently with Office 2007 and 2010 files. I am running Office 2003 (if I could have its UI on 2007 or 2010 without the crippling ribbon, I'd upgrade immediately), and I open and save the later formats with ease. A few specialized features might not survive a round trip from 2010 to 2003 to 2010 again, but I haven't run into any impediments so far in the past five years of all-day, every-day use. Related: some of the later Office service packs (because of security concerns) have blocked access to old Microsoft and competitive file formats (Word 2.x, Lotus wk1 worksheets, &c.). Search the Microsoft site for "Information about certain file types that are blocked after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3" to get un-block and re-block settings.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

doesn't obligate MS to offer Office to all operating systems. GM has multiple divisions, but that doesn't obligate any of them to sell to Chrysler dealers.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I don't know that it would be hugely profitable. The Linux community tends to be cost conscious and Office isn't cheap. Bill

shadowmane
shadowmane

you will not run into many problems with Linux. The beauty there is that when they find a hole, its usually patched the very day its found, if not within 24 hours. I have mine set to update every Friday night for minor updates, and immediately for major updates. Don't get me wrong. There are still dangers with Linux. You can be hacked just as easily in Linux by someone using browser exploits, or other exploits, but unless they can gain root access, they can't do much damage.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I still use Windows XP and Office 2003, and the main reason I will be switching to Linux when Windows XP no longer works is that current versions of Office are worse than MSO 2003..." You can run Office 2003 on Vista, W7, and W8. Upgrading to a newer MS OS doesn't require you to upgrade Office too.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

An emailed Powerpoint presentation? Ignored and/or deleted. A step-by-step written tutorial? Also ignored. A linked or attached file? Never clicked. When our local school district converted from Groupwise to Outlook, they sat all district employees, from administrators to teachers to cafeteria and custodial staff down in front of computers and made them open, read, and create emails and attachments. This reduced the expected doubling of support calls to a 20-25% bump.

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

Dear Linux, That is because you live in your mom's basement. Now wipe your nose and get back in the server room. Sincerely, The rest of the world. JK. I have been using Linux for 12 years. Seriously. If anything it will be ported to Android. Android actually has the potential to be a threat to Windows. However it took Google engineering to get Linux ready for prime time.

knuthf
knuthf

I wonder what happens when these companies and banks are made aware of the security risks they are exposed to when using Windows and MS code. My guess that with Ubuntu and Mint being as 'complete" as now, they are an alternative they can consider. Just some years ago, i needed my consultants to configure "Mandrake" Linux and still it was shaky. But they can talk to the network people and those that make the real big systems. The moment one of those big customers decide to make the move, others will follow and they will move quickly. So the demise of Microsoft will be swift. They have less than 12 months, and suggest that they make their software ready to Linux now - after the move has started it is too late.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

We use Outlook, and we aren't on your list of employers. Bit strange that, based on your argument I'd have thought the UKs and one of the world's largest IT firms would have been on there... By the way how do you use Outlook to supernet two class C addresses?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...all the customers I had ...didn't use a Micky Mouse product like Microsoft Outlook." Disregarding the fact that there's more to Office than just Outlook, what did all those outfits use for e-mail over the last ten or fifteen years?

knuthf
knuthf

With Linux they can acquire a stable new Windows 9, tested and proven. Apple has made no effort to integrate anything on the Mac - you have to use their own "scripting language" for that. So "Libre Office" / "NeoOffice" is in many ways better integrated with "Mail" than "Pages". Btw: Mail sucks, are miles behind Thunderbird and Outlook thanks to Steve Jobs and arrogant twats. MS has never made a real OS after MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 - after that they are all acquisitions or "consulting jobs" by external contractors. Steve Ballmer loves freebies - so Windows 9 may well be a Linux distro. (That will kill the network "anti-virus scanner" business should that give rise to concern.).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The Apple version of Office hasn't killed Windows. Why would a version for Linux?

knuthf
knuthf

On Linux there are no viruses and worms in the macros, there is no hidden spying code and access to the Internet is safe. it is sort of discussing fish and fowl. I understand that very few of you have suffered a project team of 800 engineers being held up because of a virus that managed to get in on the LAN, causing all to be be stalled for 10 days. To make it eay for you to calculate the cost, assume that you work 200 days per year, and 8000 man-days amounts to 40 years. Expect the cost of every engineer at $70 000/year and now calculate the invoice I would like to send to Seattle for not bothering to code properly. So it all brings about a nice opportunity to move to LibreOffice, open document format and gradually replace the Windows PC with Linux, such as Mint, or maybe even Apple with NeoOffice. iWorks contributes nothing except add another proprietary storage format. Microsoft can of course drop their version 8 and move on to version 9 being a Linux distribution. They don't know how to core an OS, and boy do they try to "commercially exploit" common ignorance.

fjp
fjp

"It enables you to work transparently with Office 2007 and 2010 files" I know it's supposed to, but I have that at work and it doesn't. I end up using Open Office...

knuthf
knuthf

Is it not better to test that a fix sorts out a problem than create 12 new ones? The Windows kind of virus, where pictures and documents can be made to execute on the PC, either as an email attachment or in the WEB browser cannot be done on Unix/Linux OS because of the file system here will not allow execution without the "execute" bit set and duly allowed. The rule should be: Never change something that works! So, when you see no reason to change anything, don't "muck around", it is very easy to make problems. .. and if you are provided fixes, ask for the complete change log that explains what is 'fixed" and who has tested it and verified. In old days our customers demanded payment to test and verify fixed to bugs that had been reported.

shadowmane
shadowmane

There have been quite a few companies who have helped Linux along the way. Even Microsoft and Apple have helped along the way. Google has brought it the furthest, though. Would that they would move to developing Android for the Desktop, with the full power of Gnu/Linux (or their own software built on top of Linux in place of Gnu). I believe with Ubuntu, Linux is at the cusp of "Prime Time". Ubuntu look to be moving towards leveraging the entire market with their products. Time will tell what happens, but they look to be on the cusp of greatness.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

Thanks for making me laugh..I'm voting + on your comment.

knuthf
knuthf

sucks. and Apple has done a really pathetic effort in their "iWorks", makes you Mac fit together like bread crumbles. You have a silly email client, a pathetic text processor that does not hang together, does not even integrate with their Address Book app, and iChat. On top of that, instead of using open document formats - they make their own variants. So NeoOffice, or an old OpenOffice compiled and linked for MacOS is vastly better, even LibreOffice is better. Steve Jobs have made a good effort in trying to make us draw letters, and the presentations once they are made on the Mac - are really impressive, with iTunes music and movie content available. But heck: Who on my board of director would care? Well, the boardroom is in a protected room, where wireless Internet is limited - do forget text that is not on the laptop - on some "iCloud".

laseray
laseray

Two different things. Apple has had its own hardware that whole time. The competition is not the same. Linux will compete directly with MS Windows for space on all the other hardware if that port happened.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Also, MS had already lost those sales of Windows, so it made sense to add office. I guess the same would work for Linux, if MS was losing or already lost people from Windows, then making a Linux version of office could save them. But only if that situation ever happens. If they released it early, it could cause migrations away from Windows. Those that haven't moved up to Windows 8 might consider Linux as an alternative. It might be smart for MS to secretly develop a linux version of office, and then just hold it in reserve just in case Linux starts to dominate. MS usually takes the safe road, they rarely take risks (and usually give up too soon).

simonschilder
simonschilder

Linux runs on on machines which cannot run windows 7 or higher. MS would sell Office for those machines, but less pc's would be bought (windows licenses) because the lifetime of older machines would increase....I bet Intel wouldn't be too pleased either.

maj37
maj37

However a comparable Apple computer costs way more than a Windows computer, a comparable Linux computer costs less.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I think in the Linux community, Mint is more popular for the moment, but only due to the changes in Ubuntu's desktop. Initially I dropped ubuntu when Unity came out, but I've since switched back and I like the position that Ubuntu is in now with porting it'self to multiple devices all using one interface. I'm anxious to see the touch version.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Go buy a Windows phone 7 then, find one, get support, and download a bunch of apps for it. Tell us all how not abandoned it is.

Michael Alan Goff
Michael Alan Goff

Silverlight hasn't been abandoned, the leaked roadmap pointed to a Silverlight 6 in 2014. Also, WP7 wasn't "abandoned". They got 7.8, for starters. And, according to Nokia, there will be updates after that one as well. They were not abandoned.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I withdraw the statement.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Until the Surface series, Microsoft didn't make tablets. Hardware vendors made tablets with XP Tablet pre-installed.

Slayer_
Slayer_

WPF was announced that it has ended, now they focus on metro apps. They didn't even finish WPF it doesn't even have a proper folder tree viewer. Silverlight is abandoned. Those old tablets were abandoned by MS after poor sales. DX10 was abandoned with Vista, that really pissed off gamers. MS made them upgrade to Vista for DX10, then made them do it again for DX11. (Sort of shows Vista as abandoned as well, but no one seems upset about that) Now, before you say they do that to every OS. Windows 95 was good until DirectX 8, Windows 98 supports DX9. Oh, Windows phone 7, abandoned. MS has a bad habit of abandoning anything that doesn't have good sales. Xbox is as far as I know, the only exception. And devs know this, that's why there aren't that many apps developed for each new platform MS comes up with.

th3_sniff
th3_sniff

WPF is still used. DirectX 10 depends on your definition of "dead". Windows tablets? Do you mean those that had a pen? Its ancient tech, sure it would be dead. If you're talking about Windows 8 tablets I barely can see how it's dead. Of course Microsoft would have many dead tech, It's a giant software company developing a lot of stuff. Just like any other big company that have R&D departments.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And I see nothing wrong with hurting Apple. MS is evil to be certain, but Apple is beyond evil, they are like the Kefka of evil, they would burn towns and kill millions just for a good laugh.

TNT
TNT

My Machiavellian side thinks that if MS were to stop developing Office for Mac and throw their weight behind Linux they would significantly hurt Apple sales and benefit their vendors like Dell, HP and Lenovo greatly.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And it keeps growing. Off the top of my head WPF Zune DirectX10 Windows tablets

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...and then just hold it in reserve just in case Linux starts to dominate." I just assume they already have one, for at least that one reason. See Red_One's 'Am I crazy" comment below.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Have you watched the Windows Mobile platform? Tablets? MS has been dumping money into those platforms for years with low market share. Bill

JamesRL
JamesRL

Some of you youngesters may not be aware, but the first GUI version of MS Word, and the first versions of Excel were Mac only. So there is a long history there. The publishing of Office for the Mac was also part of the committment that Gates gave to Jobs when the lawsuits ended and Gates helped keep Apple from going under. Interoperability also helps, if there is no Office for Mac, then OpenOffice can claim cross platform, and MS can't.

mark
mark

You do realise that when you install Ubuntu, you are also installing the core OS, XWindows, Unity and all the other tools and applications that make a Linux system usable right out of the box. You dont even have to install LibreOffice separately as it is installed straight away. How about you do a install of a Windows 7 system with all the same tools and apps and then do the compare. I think that you will find that a Linux system, while still heavy, comes out lighter than Windows. That being said, I am going to be investigating quite heavily in a move away from Linux for my laptop and desktop machines. If I can find an alternative system to Ubuntu (I havent liked it since they moved away from Gnome/KDE to Unity) that I like, then I will definitely be making the move.

th3_sniff
th3_sniff

are too minimalistic for the average user. From my personal experience, Ubuntu is about 10x heavier then Windows 7, let alone Windows 8. Having a custom build Linux-from-scratch is not very widespread in end-user markets. I like Debian :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

While Linux will install on hardware that won't run W7, a Linux release of Office probably won't be lean and mean. I can get W7 and Office 2010 on some older systems, but they run like frozen molasses. A fat app is a fat app, regardless of OS.

shadowmane
shadowmane

All you have to do is install it. In fact, most people who go with Linux get one of their friends who are versed in it to put the machine together and install it because... well... those people are tinkerers who aren't satisfied with the "one ring to rule them all" cookie cutter Windows is. Also, you can re-tool that old computer that you thought had run the course of its effective life by installing Linux on it. I'm not a really a Microsoft hater, per se. I simply try to avoid their products at all costs. Nothing personal, I just got tired of the problems with the software around the turn of the century, and haven't looked back. I have one computer (a laptop) with XP on it, and that issue will be rectified as soon as Microsoft stop supporting that version. So the build out process is usually done by people who love to do it anyway (if not re-tooling an older computer). Couple that with the fact that you no longer HAVE to use the command line in Linux, its simply plug and play, like Windows. Now you have a system that is more powerful, more secure, and more user friendly that can give Windows a run for its money. The place to send someone would be Ubuntu, as it is designed with the end user instead of the programmer in mind. And with Ubuntu coming out with a mobile version as well (not to mention Android's new market dominance), you have Linux poised to make a surge in the next decade.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This triggered two thoughts. First is that those people for whom hardware costs are an issue aren't going to be likely to spend money on Office anyway, especially with the free OpenOffice forks available. A large segment of the open source community refuses to pay for software under any conditions, as Jack acknowledges in his article. Second, both Windows and Apple systems come with the OS pre-installed. I still think having to build a system from scratch is a task the average user finds intimidating. Clearly, the second point wouldn't be a problem in a corporate environment, and I think that's the potential market for any still-vaporous 'Office for Linux' product. Should W8 result in a large segment of the business market migrating to Linux (a doubtful proposition), MS would be ready.