There is no denying that Microsoft Office is one of the most widely used suite of office programs currently. Microsoft has attempted to tailor Office to individual needs by offering many variations such as Home and Student, Standard, and Professional or you can buy individual programs rather than the whole suite. What happens though if you’re sitting on your home pc and you need to create a document or a spreadsheet but can’t afford Microsoft’s often high price tag for its office software? Believe it or not there are actually free Office alternatives available that are very useful. Though to give credit where credit is due Microsoft’s Office can’t be beat for businesses because of its feature set and compatibility. These options are better suited for personal use not business use.
The first option is OpenOffice.org. It was originally developed by Sun Microsystems and in 2010 Sun was acquired by Oracle who has now donated the software to the Apache Software Foundation. OpenOffice.org is a full software suite which offers a word processor application called Writer, a spreadsheet program called Calc, a presentation application called Impress as well as several other applications. When Sun made the decision to donate OpenOffice.org to Apache some of the developers broke away and formed The Document Foundation. This group has created LibreOffice. This is the second option available to those looking for an Office alternative. Since LibreOffice is developed by many of the same people who managed and developed OpenOffice.org it has many similarities such as the names of all the applications as well as the look and feel. Both of these pieces of software allow you to save using Microsoft’s format which makes it so you can open these files using Microsoft’s products. In my own experiences with both LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org when opening files created by them in a Microsoft product sometimes changes occur mostly in the layout of the document.
The final option which actually does have some business use as well is Google Docs. With Google Docs you don’t need to download any extra software all you need is a web browser. All of your files are also saved in the cloud so if anything happens to your computer you don’t need to worry about lost files. Another great feature is that Google allows you to collaborate with other people who are also signed up so multiple people can make changes to the same document.
So here are three great alternatives to Microsoft Office that are worth checking out for home use. If you’re looking for a business use alternative and want to find out more about what Google apps can do for you then please feel free to contact us and we can discuss the options with you.
The Microsoft Office 365 team reportedly created a spoof video (below) that pokes fun at Gmail for team-building purposes at the annual Microsoft GlobalExchange sales conference. Now "Gmail Man," featuring an unctuous, cloying mail carrier who looks through people's correspondence to identify "keywords" for advertising opportunities, could just go viral.
Apparently, one of 12,000 or so Global Exchange attendees managed to smuggle out a copy of "Gmail Man" to ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley after it was screened during opening ceremonies on July 20.
"Have you been reading my mail?" asks one flustered office worker when the Gmail Man bursts in and asks about her "burning" and "itching." "Just skimming," he replies, "for certain keywords."
Microsoft's point: Google scans Gmail correspondence as part of its ad-matching system—something privacy-minded emailers may not be too happy about.
First of all, it is pretty creepy that the ads you get while inside of GMail are from the words you type into your emails. Let that sink in a moment.
Google knows what you're typing into your emails!
I myself use multiple email accounts from various services and GMail seems to work the best for personal use. When using for professional user an Exchange server linked with all of the Microsoft services is pretty peachy as well. The second MS starts serving up ads is the day I sign up for Apple's email services!
Microsoft spokespeople have been coy about when the Office 365 cloud service will launch, saying only that it will come out later in 2011. But CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed that it will launch in June.
Speaking in Delhi, India, to an industry group last week, Ballmer said, "We're pushing hard in the productivity space. We'll launch our Office 365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud. That launches in the month of June."
The cloud service will replace the current Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and include access to Exchange, SharePoint, the Lync unified communications suite, and both desktop and Web-based versions of Office tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office 365 beta has attracted more than 100,000 customers, and was recently expanded to become a public beta available to anyone.
Whoa, now. It seems like Microsoft is finally ready to get the good folks that their Office products to learn how the Cloud can help them. Don't be afraid of the Cloud, gang. We use it every day. I'm using the Cloud to write this post. Ahhh!!
I don't know about you, but I prefer to write documents via web browser, or to a lesser extent, a service that syncs automatically with Dropbox in order to store my files safely. Using Word is great and all, but if that HDD explodes while you're writing the best blog post ever, it's as good as toast. Apps like PlainText and Elements save while you're typing to the Dropbox folder of your choice. Late or not, Microsoft seems to be getting the idea with this instant-save business. The less the user has to worry about backing things up, the better.
A few months ago, Microsoft first introduced a service that we think delivers the best of the cloud, working with the Office applications people already know and trust. It's called Office 365, and it brings together all of the familiar and powerful Microsoft productivity tools in a single cloud service. Today, we’re announcing a public beta of Office 365, enabling people in 38 markets to utilize Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync as a cloud service.
Cloud computing is gaining mindshare fast. Companies of all sizes are using the cloud to deliver the latest applications and services, and they're seeing how cloud services can give them a competitive advantage while minimizing routine maintenance like patching, updating, and upgrading, and the upfront costs of traditional on-premises infrastructure. Cloud services can combine that convenience and affordability with powerful functionality and ease of use.
It's here! Well, not for me. I signed up and was promptly told that I'd have to wait 2-4 weeks to gain access to the public beta. For now I guess I'll just have to make due with Google's terrible formatting decisions when exporting to Word format.
Google Apps aside, this is great move for Microsoft. Techie people online are drifting towards web apps that store their information on far away servers and services such as Dropbox and Google, and similar moves can't be that far away for Enterprise. I myself like to keep all my writing in Dropbox so I can access wherever I go. There are even specific apps that use your Dropbox credentials so you can edit on your smartphone.
It seems like 365 is a step in the right direction, but I often wonder about the speediness of web apps and their upgrade. For instance, many users are still using Office 2003. Maybe because they can't afford to update, but also because it's what they know. Why upgrade?
Google Apps encounters issues for that exact reason. It's a web app, and therefore can be updated at the drop of a hat. If a user prefers Google Docs ver. X but Google updates to a new version, there is no going back for that user. The same will be said for Office 365. MS will be able to update small items when they choose, and not have to do in cycles of 3-5 years like native applications. Will those effect enterprise users going into the Cloud? Time will tell, but if you have any questions about implementation of Microsofts services for your own clients, let us know.