Free Software Sets the Computing Agenda
Posted Jul 20, 2006 12:05 UTC (Thu) by jpmcc
Parent article: Free Software Sets the Computing Agenda
Microsoft Office is one of the main cash cows for the whole company: any loss of market share here will have serious financial repercussions.
This is where the story becomes really interesting. OpenOffice.org is more than good enough for the average MS-Office user, and since version 2 it's sufficiently compatible to make migration easy. So Microsoft suddenly finds itself having to try and differentiate itself in the marketplace, and put open-source equivalents into catch-up mode. The launch of MS-Office 2007 is postponed while the developers are instructed to 'make it look different'.
However, the more 'different' MS-Office 2007 appears, the more MS risks upsetting its current user base, 80% of whom only use 20% of the current functionality anyway. Driving product development based on the needs of shareholders rather than the needs of customers is a very risky strategy indeed.
Microsoft has made substantial marketing blunders in the past, but as a monopolist it was able to recover. With open-source competitors in play, one mistake could lose it business permanently.
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