"Microsoft has told us it's successful because it makes better
products at cheaper prices. However, Microsoft Office can now be
matched on quality and beaten on price by Ximian's Evolution and
Sun Microsystem's OpenOffice, the free version of StarOffice.
Combined, they are said to be the first open source contenders
against the formidable Microsoft Office product and its
approximately 90-percent desktop market share. And now that
Microsoft has begun pressuring businesses to pay licensing fees,
the environment is particularly primed for open source to take some
of that market share. All that's left is for proponents of open
source to familiarise themselves with these products and learn how
to promote them in a way that business people can understand.
"Let's look at a common scenario playing out in many companies.
Suppose you're an IT manager at a small company that's a subsidiary
of a much larger company. Your office has 150 computers, of which
100 are used by a few shifts of customer-service personnel. These
workers only use Microsoft Internet Explorer as an interface to an
in-house program on the server that your department developed. The
other 50 computers are used by office workers who primarily run
Microsoft Office 97. Five of these computers also have a Microsoft
Windows-based accounting program installed. Almost all of the
computers were purchased with Microsoft Windows 95 pre-installed,
but they've all been upgraded over time to Microsoft Windows 98
using five licensed copies that came with five newer computers that
were purchased a while back. At this point, the users are fairly
content with the software, and they politely ignore comments you
make occasionally about the merits of open-source software..."