CyberTech Rambler

August 30, 2006

MS Office + ODF plugin == don’t make much sense

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:53 pm

By way of Bob Sutor’s blog, I read John Gotze account on how Denmark can save a lot of money if it goes down the Open Document Format path.

Most blogs focus on the propect of saving money, but here, I want to point out a small but potentially significant point on Gotze account: That using MS Office with ODF plugin actually cost more than using MS Office natively, abeit marginally.

Initially, I am surprise by this. After some thought, I see that I was very naive on this issue. If one decided to keep any software, one must keep on updating the software in a business environment. If you want to do something extra, like using ODF instead of MS’ native OpenXML, you incurs cost overhead. Hence, it should not be surprised that using MS Office with ODF plugin actually cost more.

However, the more important point presented here is how can one justify the cost of ODF plugin with MS Office when a perfectly good alternative, from the management point of view, exists? OpenXML may not match ODF on issues which I believe are important, but unless management shares your view, it is going to be a hard sell. Thus, it looks like if you want to hang on to MSOffice, you are going to be using OpenXML.

IBM, Sun and OpenOffice.org may be beating the drum for OpenDocumentFormat now. However, I can see them providing ODF to OpenXML converters besides OpenXML to ODF converters more readily than Microsoft. Thus,   it is possible that the final outcome of this battle is OpenXML wins the race as the de facto document format, but we see the market fragmented into a few pieces. Not the best outcome, but may just be acceptable.

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