Open Office / Lotus Symphony will be in trouble

Oh no! Microsoft have realized that free is a very good price and when Office 2010 is released in June of 2010 Office 2010 Starter Edition will be free. Zero cost. Finally every computer sold will be able be have a valid, licensed, version of Microsoft Office. The Starter Edition will be add supported. Just how many adds and how these will be displayed I don’t know.

Office 2010 Starter Edition will be released simultaneously with the rest of the Office 2010 suite, Sharepoint 2010 Server, Office 2010 Web Edition and Office 2010 for Windows Mobile.

I see this as a very wise ploy by Microsoft and Starter Edition will be a treat to the free productivity suites that are currently free. The release looks like a very interesting release and will pose a great and real threat to Google Apps on the web and Open Office and Lotus Symphony as the productivity suite. Of course one could put the opposite spin on the story and see it like Microsoft is reacting to the success of the open source and free counterparts.

For more information on Office 2010 Starter Edition listen to Windows Weekly 133: A Fish Called Windows.

17 thoughts on “Open Office / Lotus Symphony will be in trouble”

  1. Just to clarify the functionality of Office 2010 Starter Edition:

    "Office Starter 2010 will include Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, with the basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents. Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product."



  2. Awesome… it sounds to me like Symphony accomplished exactly what it set out to do: reduce Microsoft’s revenue stream from functionality that should be free anyway. Although they’ll apparently still get some ad revenue from people who choose to run Starter Edition instead of paying for a full version of the suite, this seems to prove that the combination of OpenOffice, Symphony, and Google Docs finally forced Microsoft to realize that not everyone is willing to pay for the privilege of authoring productivity documents when perfectly valid alternatives are available for free.


  3. Sure it will only be available for new PC’s but that’s how the majority of the population switch operating system and other software today. Do-it-yourself’ers or even install-a-program’ers is the minority by far…


  4. OpenOffice and Symphony will have more functionality than the MS "Starter" and appears to be pretty much on par with the rest of the MS "pay for" suite. So, still, my question is: "Why buy MS?".


  5. BUT . . . it will STILL be a watered down version.  Not full featured like Symphony/    Want to do more than the basics? Cough up some dough to buy the full Office Suite.


  6. My contention is that for ‘normal’ PC users OpenOffice and Lotus Symphony wont be considered. Starter Edition will further entrench Office as the standard productivity suite. Sure it’s watered down. Sure it has less functionality but it has mindshare and most users only use word processing. Few more use a spreadsheet why Microsoft was wise to inclue Excel in Starter Edition.

    I hope I’m wrong but I fear I’m not.


  7. If I read correctly, users get pop-up ads while working in the document or spreadsheet and I don’t know why anyone would want to have that. OpenOffice / Symphony needs to get out in the public more so the "normal" computer users are aware they have other options.


  8. Wow, I couldn’t disagree more with the title of this article. Should be Microsoft Office is in trouble. One of the previous posters is correct: MS is *reacting* to Google and IBM. Open Office and Symphony exist, MS Starter edition doesn’t. Given MS’s past, who knows how well they can write even a starter edition. It is a catch-22 for them in many ways. If it doesn’t work well, has annoying ads, lacks functionality that many people want, it hurts MS from the image point of view and from the fact that Googe/IBM have competing products that will be superior. If it does work well, then it cuts into MS revenue stream. Great! Either way it is probably not a win for them at all.

    I see a slow, long, but almost inexorable move *away* from MS. More Macs, more netbooks, more web-based apps, more free apps, etc. It won’t happen overnight, it will take years, but it is happening. Remember when IE had the browser market locked up? What is FireFox’s percent of the market now?? Anyone think that was possible.

    Look at how many MacBooks you see at Lotusphere.

    Google, IBM, Apple, Open Source etc. just keep innovating and making good products, and slowly are chipping away at MS mindshare.


  9. Well, Works is piece of junk. Free "starter edition" will no doubt be too. It is still cripple-ware.

    What is more disconcerting is that MS are yet again muddying the waters by calling different products the same name (presuming they are different). Remember how Outlook Express had no relationship to Outlook? Yes, you do, but the users who buy MS products don’t. Of course it could be a play to get the user population used to the much maligned "Ribbon". Most everyone I see is still at Office 2003 with no plans to move.

    Evil geniuses? That they are. Still I’d use Open Office anyway. Multi-platform and simple user interface.


  10. To be honest… I applaud the move. I would never install open office or symphony on a home machine. Eclipse is such a painful hog. I don’t need advanced capabilities. I just need to be able to open the spreadsheets/word docs that I’m sent.

    I just did a Windows 7 three-pack on my machines at home and had no spreadsheet tool. Now I just import everything into Google Docs and read it.

    I agree with Mikkel. Microsoft Office "Starter" will be the new "Outlook." I can hear the execs talking already: "Everybody uses Microsoft Office at home… why would we use something different here?"


  11. After reading many of the comments it feels like I should have embedded the Imperial March music from Star Wars as a YouTube video ( so it would have played while people read it. For some reason it came across like I think 1) MS Office is a must-have, 2) it’s something you can’t live without and 3) that there aren’t valid, free, solutions out there such as OpenOffice and Symphony. To be clear I use Symphony as my productivity package at work. To be clear I would never use Starter Edition or any other program that had popup adds – if that is indeed what’s going to happen – I think not.

    The point is that I’m not the target for Office 2010 Starter Edition. The people who have commented most likely aren’t the audience either.

    My point is that Office 2010 Starter Edition will come bundled on many new PC’s with a simple click-to-run or click-to-buy solution for getting a non-add supported version. The point is that this will lower the barrier to entry for productivity software for new PC’s and make it more likely and easier for people to jump aboard the Office boat. Going out and downloading OpenOffice or Symphony for that matter will get less likely. That’s my point.

    I hope it wont be like that and I hope real people (i.e. "normal" people buying new PC’s) will see this for what it is… A ploy. A ploy to lure the focus of free, fully functional tools.


  12. Everybody seems to forgot this is only Windows Based. Sa again a huge misser for microsoft ! … The world is bigger than only Windows PC’s … We also have Linux and Mac out there … Where openoffice and Symphony runs on and M$ software still has no change to survive !


  13. Would love to see Symphony and OpenOffice advertise their full, free versions in these Microsoft Office ad pop-ups.  Microsoft has given the perfect opportunity for rivals to penetrate their customer base!


  14. One would almost hope that the proverbial anti-trust dog might bite Microsoft’s arse once again especially if they pop-up Microsoft Office Upgrade advertisements and not their competitors’ mentioned.  And I think it will very likely be a European breed!


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