Microsoft's fake validation of OpenOffice.org

A deeper look at Microsoft's latest PR stunt reveals its fear of not capturing emerging economies such as Eastern Europe

A recently released OpenOffice.org marketing video from Microsoft tries to highlight prospective issues for companies considering alternatives to Microsoft Office. Although the video suggests OpenOffice.org is increasingly becoming a viable alternative to Microsoft Office, the video also presents insights into Microsoft's business growth strategy.

The title of the video, "A few perspectives on OpenOffice.org," might suggest a balanced view from OpenOffice.org users. However, the quotes are far from balanced and indicate a subtle attempt to dismiss OpenOffice in the guise of a fair discussion.

[ Keep up with the latest open source trends and news in InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. | Not happy with Microsoft Office or OpenOffice? Consider these free alternatives. ]

The quotes used in the vdeo tend to fall into five categories:

  • Anti-open source sentiment
  • Claims that OpenOffice.org increases IT costs
  • Claims that users already have Microsoft Office skills
  • Claims that OpenOffice.org lacks Microsoft Office interoperability
  • Claims that OpenOffice.org lacks Microsoft's feature completeness

The marketing video includes 15 customer quotes largely from existing Microsoft Office case studies. Let's take a look at some of them.

The first two examples criticize open source:

  • "I need something I can rely on. If an open source based system breaks, who's going to fix it?" -- Jeff Cimmerer, Director of Technology, Pittsford School Districts
  • "A hugely disproportionate 30 percent of our IT resources was required for a period of months to service open source ... an estimated 25 percent of additional staff time was routinely required to install and maintain open source-based systems." -- David Sterling, ICT Manager, Central Scotland Police

Three others say that the use of OpenOffice.org increases IT costs:

  • "We originally installed Linux based PCs running OpenOffice to save money in the short term. But we quickly found that the exorbitant cost and limited availability of support left us worse off." -- James Fleming, Infrastructure and Support Manager, Speedy Hire
  • "We were accustomed to fielding calls from users in a bind due to difficulties with OpenOffice.org on a daily basis." -- Eugenio Mariotto, ICT Director, Cobra Automotive Technologies
  • "The company paid too much for using open code, OpenOffice.org software. The efficiency of operations was decreasing." -- Leonid Medvediev, Head of IT Department, CJSC SPC, Borschagivskiy (Ukraine) Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant
1 2 3 Page
From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies