Microsoft and Office Innovation

As a thought for today, Microsoft really hasn't managed to add too many compelling features to their Office monopoly. On top of that their recent licensing games have certainly given customers an incentive to look elsewhere. At the high end Office is still the best there is. But the majority of customers are no where near the high end. There are now a large number of competing products, many available for free, that more than meet the needs of most users.

The irony is that Microsoft has traditionally killed off the majority players in any market they enter by offering a product that is 'good enough', lower priced and leverages their existing monopolies. The Office alternatives has reached the point where they have certainly nailed two out of three. Given Office's institutionalized refusal to base any of its code on Windows it doesn't even get to take advantage of the Window's monopoly beyond getting first access to new versions and getting its bugs fixed NOW. But given how mature the office market is and given the generally low rate of new features it isn't clear how much of an advantage that really is.

In the short term none of this matters, no body gets fired for buying Microsoft. But in the medium and long term the change of events spells interesting times. How long until some CIO becomes a hero by slashing the company's Office budget to near zero and the pattern is set? I realize training and support is a bigger issue but anyone who knows Office will be comfortable with the alternatives and I suspect the support for the free/low cost choices are generally better then anything Microsoft can offer.

Microsoft's lack of innovation and pricing games is exactly the sort of help its competitors need.

One thought on “Microsoft and Office Innovation”

  1. Microsoft office hasn’t added anything of substance since the office 97 suite. beyond that, just overbloated spyware that assists its host operating system of windoze with reporting back to microsoft your private data (port 80).
    a pen and notepad is a better choice.

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