Thursday, July 31, 2008

StarOffice Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about Star Office by Sun Microsystems. Today, I wanted to tell you about why StarOffice, OpenOffice and other open source software is so important for you.


Here is the thing with Star Office and other applications like it: People have an inherent fear of trying new things when it requires changing from an old, common thing and especially when related to computers. Remember changing from Windows 95 to Windows XP? I do. It was different. Why would you ever stop using Microsoft Office since you know it so well? Why would you want to learn some new application? First off, I am not telling you to change. If you like what you are using, by all means, keep using it. However, the time will come when you purchase a new computer. Whether that computer is a Mac or PC (we won't consider alternatives) you will be faced with the decision: to buy, or not to buy, Microsoft Office - because its not free with the computer. You will look at the hefty price tag, take a deep breath and think, "I need it anyway, here goes." I am telling you that there is an alternative out there that does not cost you a penny. It delivers the same (and more) applications to you without the rediculous price tag. Is it really important that you consider an alternative? YES! Microsoft charges their rediculously high price because they can. Not because supply is low or the programs are soooo special. BECAUSE THEY CAN. It feels like terrorism and we don't negotiate with terrorists (not really but if I say that, all my American readers will be frightened into action).

So what happens when substitutes in a dominated market are actually utilized (i.e. when you say, I won't buy Microsoft's product because I won't pay so much for something I can get for free)? Well, a few things. If enough people switch (especially corporations - why wouldn't they, I mean its free) you will see a paradigm change in the market. Microsoft will develop even better products to differentiate theirs from the competition. The competition will do the same. So you get a better product. The prices will come down. When I say come down, I mean DOwn. How do you compete with a price that is free? Well, you make your product sweet and cheap. Simple free market economics. Can this work? Well, it sure might if enough people start to recognize the value of the proposition and if OSS developers can continue to make great products. The biggest problem is people fear changing from something they're comfortable with. By being open to change in this regard, we can shift the market into a new frontier - one that is less expensive. I tell you what, besides OpenOffice and StarOffice, there is something else in the market that might even REVOLUTIONIZE the way we look at office applications and can certainly cause headaches for Microsoft: Google. I will talk about how... tomorrow.

So, take the StarOffice or OpenOffice challenge. Download the applications and use them instead of your Microsoft Office apps. See what you think. If after a month you feel like you aren't missing anything by using the free stuff over the expensive stuff, then you have proven that the world doesn't need Microsoft Office (at least at its current price). Here is a link to Google Pack where you get it free. And here is another link to

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