Microsoft must really be feeling some pressure from OpenOffice, because it recently published a YouTube video that spreads a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the free open-source word processor.
Using case studies and press releases that have previously been published on Microsoft’s website, the video quotes OpenOffice users who had problems with compatibility, performance and tech support. The overall gist is that OpenOffice may be free, but it isn’t worth the trouble.
The testimonials lean heavily towards enterprise users, which may be a wise move — installing new software across lots of computers is daunting enough with popular programs, let alone unfamiliar alternatives — but the handful of consumer-facing arguments Microsoft tries to make are inherently flimsy. Formatting problems? Long load times? I haven’t personally experienced these issues with OpenOffice, but you needn’t take my word for it. Try the software and see for yourself. If you can go the free route without any of the alarms Microsoft is sounding, more power to you.
I also found it funny that, despite trumpeting Office 2010, the video doesn’t really make a case for upgrading from an older version. In fact, one of the testimonials talks about how great Office 2007 is in comparison to OpenOffice. I suppose Microsoft ultimately gains by keeping users on its side, but the huge installed base of Office 2007 is still Microsoft’s worst enemy. And with Google actively pursuing enterprise Office users, OpenOffice may not be the next-biggest threat.
(Side note: If you’re not breaking it down for a blog post, the video itself seems pretty well-executed, with crisp visuals and strong messages. Whoever put this together is probably better off where Microsoft really needs the talent — on the Windows Phone 7 marketing team.)