Even Microsoft isn't this greedy
Even Microsoft doesn't do that. Users of old versions of Office can simply down load a free compatibility pack and work reasonably well with documents created in new versions. When a company makes Microsoft look like a shining example of corporate responsibility, that's a shocking image.
OpenOffice is an outgrowth of the StarOffice suite made by the German company StarDivision. Sun bought StarDivision in 1999 and launched OpenOffice.org -- based on StarOffice -- in 2000. In those days, then-CEO Scott McNeely was fanatically anti-Microsoft; he even forbade Sun employees and contractors (I was one of them) from using Microsoft Office at work.
To be fair, some developers felt that Sun could be terribly bureaucratic in its management of open source projects, and there was sentiment in favor of forking OpenOffice even before its acquisition by Sun. But the tension between Sun and the open source community wasn't in the same league as the unpleasantness (that's the polite term) at Oracle.
The end of Ellison's stranglehold on OpenOffice really began last year, when key contributors formed the Document Foundation and forked the suite, creating LibreOffice (check out InfoWorld's comparison of Open Office and Libreoffice). The new group was supported by key companies such as Red Hat, Novell, Google, and Canonical. Although the move was clearly a reaction to Oracle's management of the open source projects it inherited, Oracle was still invited to join the Document Foundation. Not surprisingly, it declined.
Oracle then went even further, demanding that Document Foundation members that had seats on the OpenOffice.org board step down from their elected leadership roles, which they did, leaving Oracle in control.
Unfortunately for Ellison, sales of his company's version of OpenOffice appeared to be minimal. I can't prove that because Oracle doesn't break out sales figures for individual products and Wall Street analysts wouldn't have bothered to estimate them, but I'm willing to take bets. After all, I seriously doubt that Ellison had an attack of conscience.