Home of The Tiny Guide to

“MS Office Users Ready to Jump Ship” (to OpenOffice)

According to an (Australian) ITWire poll, readers were asked the question: “Would you try instead of buying MS Office 2003?” Of the 441 respondents which voted in the space of 18 hours, 381 (86.4%) voted yes while just 60 (13.6%) voted no.”

“Microsoft believes it will be able to convince pirate Office users to pay to upgrade to legitimate versions through its proposed Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program. OGA, modelled on the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, which Microsoft claims has been a success over past months, identifies users of pirate copies of Microsoft software when they download the necessary critical security updates. Once identified, Microsoft sends continual alerts nagging users to chuck their illicit software and pay for the real thing.”

“While WGA may have been a success, however, there is one big difference between sending users verbal barrages to pay for Windows and sending similar alerts to Microsoft Office users. The difference is that Microsoft Office 2003 users can easily download 2.0 and be up and running with a similar product, with a similar look and feel and all their data and functionality intact, for absolutely free. So most would prefer to give that a try rather than shell out hundreds of dollars for MS Office.”

Stan Beer broadens the same train of thought with another article two days later: Microsoft knows Windows and Office can’t deliver growth.

He writes, “Other than the business segments containing Windows and Office, Microsoft only has two other business segments of any size – Server and Tools, and MSN. While Server and Tools is travelling nicely, with good growth, MSN, which includes Microsoft’s search engine business, is in a sick state. MSN revenue has actually declined by nearly 2% in the first three quarters, while earnings dropped by nearly 64%, which included a loss in the 3rd quarter.”

MSN is the business segment competing with AOL and Google and many others. It appears its fate is tracking AOL’s dial-up business much more closely than it is emulating Google’s successes.

Beer discusses the extra emphasis this places on the need for successes in its core areas, and Microsoft’s challenges cropping up here as well: “While Windows will likely continue to chug along with single digit growth rates after Vista is launched, however, Office 2007 will be a much tougher sell. There is little incentive for people to upgrade from what they already have and compatible free open source products are now available. Promises of a slicker interface and more powerful features are unlikely to convince existing users or new users to part with their money and swap from what they already use, especially if there is a learning curve involved.”

Now is the time for Google to strike a blow against Microsoft Office (by heavily promoting OpenOffice), spread disarray through that company, and continue its utter dominance over Microsoft in Google’s areas of core competency. Long term strategy demands that you prevent your opponent from building a power base that you cannot touch, while he attacks your core strengths. Take the fight to him! (Paraphrased from Sun Zi.)

Comments are closed.