Notes before reading:
*For an explanation on how this rant is organized, please: read this.
*This rant is posted in this thread.
*The discussion is about an article that is about a comment that Alan Yates, a general manager in Microsoft, said about Office being beyond OpenOffice.org in the matter of what problems it can solve.
-OO is short for OpenOffice.org
-LCS is Live Communications Server, is a local network instant messaging service, that doesn't need to communicate with the Internet to work.
-The #15 remark at the beginning is the nonstandard way to reply to a post in ActiveWin; the #15 post contained a brief list of things that Office could do.
#15 More than half of the statements you listed are useless if you haven't also bought the server that accompanies it. Frankly, all of that "functionality" can be acheived in OO with a well structured CVS platform (to manage version of your files), Jabber for instant messaging, who knows how many open source mail servers out there, etc. Most of the "advanced features" that you and many others have mentioned aren't even in Office by itself, but needs other programs that apparently "seamingly" connect to it, all of which need a dedicated computer for doing thier job (Active Directory, IIS, Sharepoint, Exchange, etc.).
Maybe is feasible for a company to do a (not small) investment in infrastructure to make Office actually useful in those matters, but frankly, even buying Office right now (even with all that "functionality") for that purpose is just a waste of money and here's why I think so:
Yates said "Certainly, if you’re just trying to write a few notes or something, Open Office is just fine. [...] Most documents today are not done by one individual. They’re done by multiple people working on a project at once.". I've used OO for quite a few years, in my own company, in which many people contribute to one project, using the infrastructure I've explained before. Think about it: Office without all of those other programs to complement it is just as useful as OO. Yes, I know: if you put up LCS or Sharepoint, you can IM with the other person that it's editing the same document or see his status in a click of a button, but is that really worth $500? To "one-click" everything? I know that it's worth something, but $500? I mean, if it's that useful, why should I need to buy LCS so that I could IM with someone else? Why can't it connect to a Jabber server? Probably because if it did Microsoft will lose "so much of the company’s revenue [that] is derived from the product [MS Office]". It makes the user buy other products to complete Office's "functionality". If the reason for saying that Office is helpful for multiuser projects is that it comes with Outlook, then that's not at all helpful: to check others' calendars, online status, etc. Outlook it's not enough; Active Directory, Exchange and LCS are needed. Why not include an Exchange Server with Office? And why not also LCS and Sharepoint? Yeah, a whole package that comes with an Active Directory license, an Exchange license, a LCS license, a Sharepoint license, a Windows Server license (not to mention another computer), and 10 Office licenses. Does that even exists? Because if it did, THAT will be useful for a multiuser and very, very, very much above that $500 mark.
MS Office and Microsoft in general relies on the ignorance of the general public to force it's way into companies'/users' computers by "convincing people of the core value proposition for the product versus the competition" (Yates), we all know this: this is how Microsoft came to be; basically, creating problems to solve, instead of solving real problems: macro viruses that are still lingering, the hogging of resources that still increments with every new version of Office (which I think should be a priority in development), and the unreliability, insecurity, and unstandardized state of it's servers (that give Office it's "functionality") which make them hell to administer. So firt solve those problems, then "solve the problems that Microsoft focussed on 10 years ago" that OO has been solving for them (one being it's own price and reliability that I still think are high overrated), then we'll begin comparing who is 10 years behind of who.
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