Microsoft Trashes OpenOffice.Org In New Video

Hear that? That's the sound of Microsoft banging one of its favorite drums: The one about open-source software not being free at all, but rather, coming with a veritable smorgasbord of higher support costs and compatibility issues.

In a marketing video posted to Youtube, Microsoft quotes a number of IT staffers from organizations around the world that have tried out but found it to be more trouble than it's worth.

Microsoft often cites support as one of the main things companies overlook when migrating to open source alternatives, and it trots out this argument once again in the video.

"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," one IT manager says in the video.

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"I need something I can rely on. If an open-source freeware solution breaks, who's going to fix it?" another IT manager is quoted as saying.

Next:Other Weaknesses

Other weaknesses Microsoft cites are document compatibility with Microsoft Word, and one IT expert lays the smackdown on OpenOffice 3.1, claiming it was responsible for "severely mangling" his Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel data files.

None of these issues are new to Microsoft's argument, and it's certainly arguable that the reason why doesn't interoperate better with Microsoft Office has more to do with patents than it does inferior programming.

Unsurprisingly, open source solution providers take issue with Microsoft's claims. "I've seen far more trouble on the Microsoft Office side than the OpenOffice side," said John Locke, principal consultant at Freelock Computing, a Seattle-based open-source consultancy, told CRN in an interview.

"I tried to convert a client to OpenOffice several years ago, and it worked fine for them except for one thing -- the spreadsheets they saved as Excel and sent to their clients crashed Excel," Locke added.

Microsoft, which launched Office 2010 in May, has also been quarreling back and forth with Google over functionality in Google Apps. Office 2010 includes several oriented features as well as Office Web Apps, browser based versions of the suite.

Microsoft's Office cash cows has more hungry wolves circling it than ever before, and so we're likely to see Microsoft broadcast more fear, uncertainty and doubt to underscore its claim that companies just can't live without it.