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ZDNet: Sun's StarOffice: Challenging Microsoft's Office Suite

May 03, 2002, 18:00 (28 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Silver)

"However, we see some discontent in the market. After years of trying to implement homogenous office environments and to buy full suites for every user--for example, sometimes buying Microsoft Office Professional for users who would never touch a database, just for the sake of absolute homogeneity--enterprises are realizing that the majority of their users are consumers or light producers of information, and that these users do not require all of the advanced features of each new version of Office.

"Coinciding with this realization was Microsoft's change in licensing policies. Enterprises that do not buy a software maintenance plan for Microsoft Office by July 31, 2002 (thereby paying Microsoft a fee every year) will have to re-buy the software the next time they want a new version, at roughly twice the price they used to pay for an upgrade. This has engendered a lot of resentment among Microsoft's customers, and Gartner has experienced a marked increase in the number of clients inquiring about alternatives to Microsoft's Office suite. Of Microsoft's three major office suite competitors--Sun Microsystems' StarOffice, Corel's WordPerfect Suite, and Lotus's SmartSuite --StarOffice may become the greatest threat to Microsoft's market share largely because of the 'mind share' it has garnered as a free product and through its connection to the open source movement..."

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