Sunday, September 30, 2007

Challenges to Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office applications are ubiquitous, but they are being challenged on two fronts: the Open Office application suite and network-based suites from companies like Thinkfree.com, Zoho.com, and Google.

Open Office has been maturing for years, and it got a recent boost when IBM released a version with their own user interface. (Since Open Office is open source software, IBM or others can modify it).

As Nicholas Carr points out, Microsoft is responding by extending Office to use the Internet.

You can see a video on the advantages of online suites here, and a comparison of nine Office competitors here.

What are the pros and cons of Microsoft Office versus Open Office or an online suite for a student? For a small company? For a university? A large enterprise?

If you were running Microsoft, how would you respond to these challenges?

Looking to the future -- do technology trends tend to favor one approach over the others?