I believe in something that Stephen Covey calls the “Circle of Influence.” Even though I am only one person, when I need something really important accomplished, I start with the areas of my life that I can personally change. By choice I stopped using Microsoft Office on computers I personally own in 2003. I was using MacOSX on the desktop then and with Microsoft Office. It annoyed me because its default behavior annoyed me because visited links in Power Point would not be visable in slideshow mode. There were other reasons, but I stopped using MacOSX around that time too. The tools I was using on my other computer that ran Fedora such as OpenOffice.org were far easier anyhow. I have never used Microsoft Office 2007. One time I tried to do a quick edit on someone else’s computer but I gave up on trying to use that Ribbon thing after about 5 minutes. I am a technology person and if I can not use a Microsoft product it must be seriously broken. Again, I am only one person and not a market share indicator.
I’ve asked around about office suite use. Almost everyone who had a choice in the matter is not using Microsoft Office 2007. Some have stayed put with older versions of Office. A few have moved onto OpenOffice.org, Google Docs, or Apple’s office suite called “iWork.” There are sectors in the United States, like the legal profession, who never quit using Word Perfect. Lotus Notes is still out there too. In my travels I have only found one person who prefered Microsoft Office 2007 above all other office suites. However, he admitted that he would not use Microsoft anything if he had to pay full price. Through some soft of employer-specific discount, he was using a copy he bought for $15.
Last night I attended a club meeting for general computer users. They know I am a Linux fan. I gave out copies of The OpenDisc which contains open source software for Windows, including OpenOffice.org. People were confused by my motives but joyfully accepted the gift anyhow. People were very happy that they will not have to buy a product costing hundreds of dollars just to open a document created with Microsoft Office. It makes me wonder how many people break down and buy Microsoft Office because they think they do not have a choice.
Some people only like OpenOffice.org because it can be obtained cheaply. People sell it on ebay for $9 or less. I’m OK with that. I would rather people use OpenOffice.org because it is an quality open source project that listens to user feedback. Instead I suspect that some people assume Open Office is pirated and therefore decline the option to register. That I am not OK with.
All the people who created OpenOffice.org ask from its users is some indication that people are actually using it. I too would appreciate it because I have a $20 bet to win. Without any money-oriented transaction to confirm that the license was accepted, how else will we calculate market share?
Charles-H. Schulz of the OpenOffice.org marketing team wrote a long article on the problem of counting office suite market share. Here is an except for consideration…
By this I mean that we’re having clear indications and reports that not only do people download OpenOffice.org but that they stop using Microsoft Office altogether. Of course this last trend -abandoning MS Office- is not going to be witnessed soon, for two reasons: MS Office’s market share is accounted by entreprise sales and by OEM bundling. Because Microsoft’s domination is encroached on well-known monopolistic practices, we are often put in the situation where market shares ‘ comparison ends up very much like comparing apples and bananas: The office suite market is a Microsoft Office market, with different slices owned by different pedigrees of Microsoft Office, while any outside incumbet is left at the fringe as the calculation method ignores downloads and values “entreprise sales” and OEM contracts.
It is a difficult problem but I will not give up. I will continue to pass out copies of The OpenDisc to Windows users without ever knowing if people will throw the disks in the trash. There is a possibility that people think I am trying to give them a virus because I do not use professionally pressed media. That is under consideration although it would be time consuming and expensive. I am als considering switching to DVD-RW as well, that way the new owner of the OpenDisc may choose to keep it since it has a little more value. Ideally, I would like to find a bunch of other folks who will also help distribute the OpenDisc upon professionaly pressed media.
Until we work out the details of the distribution program, I will ship anyone a free OpenDisc copy to anyone who expresses interest by responding to this post.
If we put our heads together, by June 30, 2011, Microsoft Office will not have majority market share.