OpenOffice.org could learn a thing or two from Nintendo and the Wii. OpenOffice.org appears content to compete by offering a similar user experience to Microsoft Office 2007. This is surprising to some users who view the user interface (UI) shift from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2007 as a reason to consider OpenOffice.org in the first place. If users are going to face a discontinuity in the UI, why isn't OpenOffice.org pulling a Nintendo move and innovating in an underserved portion of the market?
OK, I know why. I recognize that technology like the Wii controller or Project Natal doesn't just materialize. Often, significant research and related funding is required. Whatever Sun invested in OpenOffice.org -- and I don't know the numbers -- it's clearly not the same level of R&D spending that a Nintendo or Microsoft would have at their disposal. And with Oracle taking the reigns of OpenOffice.org, it remains to be seen if project budgets will be maintained.
Considering the profit that Microsoft derives from Office, there is clearly room for disruption. But this won't happen if vendors simply seek to re-create the Microsoft Office user experience. And if Microsoft does indeed introduce Project Natal technology into a future Microsoft Office release, competing by "doing what Microsoft does, only cheaper" won't be an easy road to travel.
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p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."