Software

Poll: Which, if any, alternative to Microsoft Office are you considering?

Poll: Which, if any, alternative to Microsoft Office are you considering (or have you considered)? What analysis have you done?

On June 16, 2010, I asked members of the Microsoft Office Blog whether the retail release of Microsoft Office 2010 mattered. That poll is still open but the breakout of responses so far is very telling. The distribution of the responses tells me that the Microsoft Office Suite may not be the business mainstay it once was. The results suggest that IT professionals are at least considering alternatives for their chosen office suite.

However, I think it is best that we put that theory to the test with a direct poll question. Which, if any, alternative to Microsoft Office are you considering (or have you considered)? There are some valid choices besides Microsoft's suite of applications, but are you willing to risk a migration to one of those alternatives? What analysis have you done? What conclusions have you drawn?

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

63 comments
dawgit
dawgit

Things are really looking up.

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

As much as I would like to switch to a free alternative it really isn't an option for business until the Open Document Formats are more widely adopted. Until everyone starts using some type of open format to save documents Office formats are too prevalent.

geekware
geekware

I suppose many of you are already aware of the new Open Office that is going to be coming out this summer. There was a post about it previously on tech republic. The main aim of this release is to close the gap between it and commercial office suites (Microsoft office). A ribbon interface will be added and many more features. Keep your eyes open, you might change your mind when this new edition comes out.

RS_1
RS_1

I voted other. There is a really nice office suite, Softmaker. The documents can be compatable with MS Office, if chosen.

macka43
macka43

I bought this online from a German company because of it's likeness to Wordexpress from Microvision (maybe they bought that company). Includes a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, presentation , and it's own basic script program. It has all the features I like and totally recommend it. It can read/write MS 2003 docs,xls & read docx,xlsx.

F5thwheeler
F5thwheeler

I have used Corel's Office Suite for years. I just love that 'reveal codes' function. But I have not kept up-to-date. Since retiring i use Open Office.

MikeGall
MikeGall

What no vi/vim? I use iWork on my Mac, google docs when I'm collobrating with cross-corporate teammates, and Office, sadly, when at work mostly.

melissatutors
melissatutors

Have also considered Open Office, but didn't like that it wanted to disable MS Office (according to a message I got during start of installation). I still need MS Office sometimes.

jdaughtry
jdaughtry

I believe in using free software where it makes business sense. But OO-based products mash documents. Mashed documents cause customer angst. That loses customers. My solution is pay for SoftMaker. Lower price than MS, totally compatible documents.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I get my copy of MS Office through TechNet Plus for around $300. Can install up to ten copies of each version. Why would I switch?

john3347
john3347

I am currently using Zoho for quick memos and cut and paste operations alongside Office 2010. I, like with Vista, trialed Office 2007 and otherwise skipped it completely. 2010 is, like Windows 7 to Vista, a vast improvement but still lacking much polish. Zoho is quick and simple for quick and simple tasks. I will use Word 2010 on occasion for its newfound graphics editing capability.

$ed1966
$ed1966

Well i'm using Softmaker office and i like it very much. It cost about 70 euro and they have educational licenses as well

jsaubert
jsaubert

Every computer I set up automatically gets OpenOffice installed whether they have any MS Office products or not. I'm not really that big on OpenOffice but it does get the job done for cheep on the everyday stuff. Compatibility wise it's the easy option because it is free.

bryant
bryant

I like Apple's Page & Numbers. Works for me.

info
info

While I believe the other suites have something to offer, especially to home users we find that Office is still the only real choice for business. All of my customer business base require OutLook or an equivelent to it. Also the cost of retraining employees to an alternate suite usually outweighs the cost of the software.

muchenjeri
muchenjeri

MS Office works fine and the "competition" isn't even close.

Jaqui
Jaqui

since Microsoft decided they don't want my money [ they don't make their products work on my operating systems ] I don't have MS Office. and wouldn't use that bloatware Open Office no matter what. I'll use the only partially integrated gnome office before any other "suite"

jamblaster
jamblaster

I think MS Office is a great suite and use it daily. I have not really tried any of the alternatives except Open Office and would prefer MS Office to Open.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The only question in the meeting we had today on this subject was whether to complete deploying Office 2007 or switch over and start on 2010. We decided to complete 07, by the way.

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

using OpenOffice you simply need to select Save As.. and then select the format you need. MS Office .doc files work fine for me when I save as on Open Office and email to work systems and also work great for my college classes with ECPI College of Technology.

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

My eyes will be peeled and hopefully the download won't be to large as I am in Afghanistan and internet speeds are comparable to a turtle walking backwards.

Robert Przybylowicz
Robert Przybylowicz

The only reason that I would recommend Office would have to be the templates that it offers. I love Open Office and I love telling my customers that it is free and I love the look on their faces when they use it and know it is just as good and free. I do not like the fact when I wanted to print some business cards for myself that the template did not match the Avery card stock I had bought.

geekware
geekware

I have been running open office and microsoft office side by side for years. I have never seen such a message and both of them continue to function fine. It may have just been talking about file association and which program documents automatically open up with when you double click on them.

doug.cronshaw@baesystems
doug.cronshaw@baesystems

I have both Open Office and MS Office installed on one of my systems. Putting Open Office on after MS Office didn't disable MS Office. What the Open Office installer did do was replace the filetype associations for MS Office document filetypes. That means that double-clicking on an MS Office document filetype after the Open Office installation was performed now causes the relevant Open Office application to be activated rather than the MS Office application. The MS Office applications can still be started independently though; and having been started, the MS Office applications can still be used to view and edit MS Office document files.

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

Because that is $300 more than I'm paying for OpenOffice?

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

I can agree with you there. There is several programs I install automatically on new systems. All my new systems also get AVG Anti-Virus, Spybot S&D, VLC Media Player, Firefox, Thuderbird as well as an array of other freeware products. There are several programs out that are free with endless uses that not everyone can afford to purchase "good" versions of. Paying for software is like saying no to a free car and going to buy one instead....you pay $600+ for your MS Office suite, I'll take my FREE OpenOffice any day of the week.

Petetm
Petetm

What does Outlook have to do with the (any) office suite? Why do your customers "require" a certain email client?

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

How exactly do you consider OpenOffice to be bloatware?? I've been dealing with MS Offices crap on new formats of new systems for years. At least with OpenOffice your getting the entire package FREE! Where-as with MS Office they are giving you some limited edition crap that you can use for a month and then you got to go pay an arm and a leg to keep. Bloatware, or foistware, is used to describe software that comes pre-installed on a computer when it's bought, mostly consisting of time-limited trials or feature-lacking basic or "beginner" versions. Now I'm not a Mac user because I refuse to pay an outlandish price for the same performance of a Windows system on a different OS that is behind the power curve on new releases of products. I mean seriously, why would I pay 3k for a system I can build for $700?? Bleh, I could go on all day about how rediculous that statement is.

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

...if you install CrossOver first, that is. I run Office 2000 that way. (Actually, I only need/use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.) It installed *painlessly*, runs reliably, does all the MS Office things that I need. (Admittedly, not much -- It's a home environment, not a corporate office enviro.) Mostly I use Open Office in Linux, and sometimes AbiWord or Gnumeric -- for lightweight needs. (Okay, go ahead & sneer. But Gnumeric is actually pretty good...) I've never found any compelling reason to upgrade from Office 2000 to a later version. (Even though I have Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007 CDs and I could do so.)

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

I'm in the United State Army, I work as an Information Technology Specialist as well as many other things. I have the opportunity to get the Microsoft Suite's for around $20 (cost of the disc, and shipping etc). I choose to not even pay the $20 for two reasons. I have access to the programs on the work computers. We are still using 2007 at work and I haven't been able to get a chance to try the 2010. With most things in the military their is a certain level of security measures that must be in all programs before we can use them. I prefer the OpenOffice free program. I mean...it's free! I can't see anything going wrong with that. Some things are different such as hand typing your own formula's into the Calc (Spreadsheet) Not to mention the spell checker is as up to speed as the one in office. But it isn't so serious that I'd trouble myself with buying 2010. Perhaps I'm just not very picky. :-D

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

"We decided to complete 07, by the way." Have you no mercy? Office 2007 is the soulmate of Windows Vista -- two products best consigned to the dustbin of history. If you must leave Office 2003, then be kind to your users and give them Office 2010.

jeffv96818
jeffv96818

I've done a detailed study on office suites and they might open the files, but in many cases any advanced formatting is lost. Also security (password protection, locking formats...) doesn't carry over. There's a ton of data written about this. Open Source suites may seem cheap, but they can be very expensive if everyone else you share documents with use something else.

MilitaryTech
MilitaryTech

Not to mention you can always Right click on your document/file and choose "Open with..." option to open your file. Select the MS Office and ensure the box is checked to "Always use this program to open this file type" and it will re-associate it with MS Office. But personally If you've already got a full version of MS Office I'm not sure I really see the need to have OpenOffice. I'm all about the freebie, but if you already paid there really isn't much need to switch.

bowenw
bowenw

Doug, Also it is not too hard to selectively change the Default Application for each type of Office document if you want to. In XP, for example, in Windows Explorer click on "Tools", select "Folder Options", then the "File Types" tab. Scroll down to the appropriate extension (eg: .doc) and pick it. In the lower area, click on "Change". Windows will give you a selection of applications - just select the alternative you wish to use. Click on "Apply", then "OK" and you're good to go.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Office Outlook and the Exchange Server are the communications core of the enterprise. Consultants understand this.

Saurondor
Saurondor

residents must be having a real attitude problem these days then. Along with Alabama, DC, Florida, Georgia and all other states with two digit unemployment these days.

Robert Przybylowicz
Robert Przybylowicz

that Office 2007 got sued in Texas for Copyright infringements because of all the file extensions that Office 07 can open and save as. If I am correct and I am sure I am than going to 2010 will give you a slimmed down version of Office. Does anyone else know what I am talking about?

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

It was stated that a decision was made. Business decisions a best made by folks in the business. I, for one, don't compare Office 2007 to Vista. Neither of which will be "consigned to the dustbin of history" for many years.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I argued in favored going to 10. I like the return of the 'File' menu in 10 over the 'Office gumball' in 07. While I'm not nuts about the Ribbon, I like that it's included in all components of 10 (including Outlook and OneNote), unlike just some in 07. I thought those two features would make it easier for users to adjust. But a corporate integration and reorg mandates we get off 03 by the end of the year. We have time to upgrade it now before several other projects hit the fan in the third quarter, but not the time to fully test 10 before rolling it out. The boss says 07; 07 it is. If a user requests 10, we'll put it on but won't support it.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But then there are other problems the first one is that it doesn't perfectly change DocX Format to DOC. Secondly even before M$ Introduced the 2007 edition they still had problems with compatibility across their own range between different versions of the same product that saved with the same file type. So something made in Office 98 doesn't display correctly in Office 2003. And yes it does happen because places like Government Departments who make Template Documents do not upgrade them every time a new version of Office is released. To that end there are still a multitude of WP5 Templates on Web Sites from places like this. But the biggest problem is not the different File Types but that you Can no longer share files with anyone. It's wrong to believe that you can tell the receiver of a file you send them that they have to install something on their computer to read your file. While it may be OK to tell your family to install a Compatibility Pack it's not even an option to tell a Big Business that they have to install something on their systems to read your File that you want them to read. If you send them something it has to be in a form that they can read and this is where M$ Office is falling down now. Office 2007 and 2010 even if you save in the Old Formats isn't always readable on older versions of Office. ;) Col

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Put simply Business did this. Before M$ Office and there most defiantly was a time before Microsoft Office the Standard Word Processor was Word perfect, the standard Spread Sheet was Lotus 123 and so on. What the problem was with these different applications that was solved by M$ Office was the inability to transfer data from one to the other. So you had to enter the Data in WP, in Lotus and so on where as when Office first became available you could transfer data between the different applications with only minor times of needing to reenter data, Granted it was more than a bit rough to begin with but it was the way ahead and the then Standard Companies where fighting with each other as to the Standard that they would use to enable Data Transfer between their Flagship Products. While they fought with each other because they have the best application which was more important than the others M$ Office got a foothold and is where it is today. When these companies saw the error of their ways it was now way too late to catch up with M$ Office but we did have Lotus Office and Word Perfect Office which did the same thing that M$ Office did. Lotus has more of less dropped by the way these days but Word Perfect Office is still going under the Corel Banner. It is introducing new features with every release that M$ Office seems to incorporate a year or two latter. ;) Col

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

Also, some people would continue to use MS Office even if there were fully compatible FREE alternatives because people don't like change. I guess that's one of the big IT challenges; IT changes at a fast pace but people don't like change:-) "Besides, who voted and made MS the 'standard?'" ...end users:-)

Petetm
Petetm

I've seen people with MS Office who can't open docs from other version of MS Office so from a standard standpoint, MS doesn't even have one. Besides, who voted and made MS the "standard?"

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Different versions of the same program can experience the same problem. Messing up the formatting when you open a old document in a new version of the same program particularly with Word. So while it's a problem that can be serious for some it doesn't mean that it only applies to using different Suites you can still have that problem within different versions of Office. So it's hardly an excuse not to upgrade as new products become available. ;) Col

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

Although "save as" and conversion of files are available, they don't work without problems. Until end users start saving in an open standard format (such as ODF) that is supported natively then there are still going to be problems. These problems are easy enough to work around when using them for school work/personal use, but it can be a real problem for business users who need a specific format.

Petetm
Petetm

We just used Notes/Domino for not only the core communications but also the collaboration piece also.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

M$ was sued and lost over the use of XML in their Office Products by it's Owners something like i4i from memory. M$ not only lost that Case and subsequent Appeal but they where fined substantially for the antics that the M$ legal Team got up to in the court and they got exactly what they deserved. Any part way Competent Lawyer knows not to [i]Pi$$ Off[/i] the Judge. Unfortunately M$ Legal People must have been away from school the day that lesson was taught. Or I suppose Mr Balmer didn't think that applied to him and his company and he instructed his Legal Team on how to defend this case. ;) 2010 however doesn't employ the XML Technology so when you use 2010 you are getting as full version of the software as word is. ;) A short summary is included here http://microsoftoffice2010.us/msword-patent-infringement Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you upgrade to 07 or 10, I recommend uninstalling the Compatibility Pack. (For those of you who don't know, that's the plug-in that let's 03 open 07's .x formats.) We've seen a couple of problems that cleared up after removing it, and there's no reason to retain it after upgrading. I usually remove it as a preliminary step to performing the upgrade.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Office 2010 is a very competent program and should be investigated if you need to install an office suite. That being said, my day-to-day document work is still done using Office 2003, with the docx converter for use when necessary. The choice of an office suite should be about productivity, and maybe for a newbie Office 2010 is better. For me, Office 2010 gets in the way and slows me down. Perhaps that's simply because I've been using and supporting Office 2002/2003 for so long. Also, the old button bar is a much more efficient use of screen real estate than is the ribbon.

seanferd
seanferd

You have renewed my interest in Office. I really didn't care for '07. '10 sounds like a definite improvement, at least in respect to the File menu.

jfuller05
jfuller05

I have mentioned Office 10, but it's a no go. I had previously installed '07 on the workstations, prior to that, I mentioned '10, but the users didn't want to learn a new office suite even though I reassured them that learning '10 wouldn't be as difficult as learning '07. Since, as you said, the file menu is back. It's not my decision though.

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