I work (if you can call it that…) for an organisation that uses a suite of Microsoft applications. In addition to Windows XP it runs MS Office. For the ability to do this, a licensing fee, probably quite sizeable (I don’t know though) is paid to Microsoft.
Now, it was pointed out to me that an open source alternative, “Open Office” is compatible with MS Office, and has most all of the same functionality. There would have to be some retraining, however, to ensure that everyone could use it correctly.
It was put to me that my organisation could save quite substantial sums (even after the cost of retraining for its use) from changing to this alternative, and that there would be very few costs to the change.
I searched for reasons why this person was wrong:
- We work collaboratively with a lot of other organisations, and need to be using the same software. But apparently they are completely compatible.
- The support that microsoft offers means it is much safer to use MS office. I can’t recall the response, but apparently this isn’t a big deal.
- People just won’t retrain and will insist on using MS Office because it is what we know. My friend scoffed with contempt.
Why do we all pay so much to use Microsoft intellectual property? I have my suspicions why, but would like to hear from others.