Unlike the mid-90s there’s PLENTY of Open Source alternatives like Open Office and Libre Office, both of which I use on all three of my computers. The best part is they are 100% compatible with Microsoft Office documents and you can save documents in an Office format if you want as well. Since 2002 I’ve been asking those who buy the latest version of Microsoft Office this question: “Why pay over $150 for something knowing you can get the far more customizable Open Source versions for free?”
For those who don’t know, Open Source programs are developed with the intention that the user can use it any way they wish and they are also free to modify the program as they see fit. As a bonus they can they redistribute the modified program as a separate entity. That’s how Libre Office came about. It was developed by people who used Open Office and branched off. And it’s all 100% Legal.
Any and all updates are free as well no strings attached and the best part is in the case of Open Office and Libre Office, combined they use far less of your computer’s resources than any one of Microsoft Office’s applications. Microsoft wants consumers to pay $100 a year for MSO2013. That gets you regular updates and you can only install it on up to five machines per license. On top of that if you cancel your subscription you lose everything. They’re also going to release MSO2013 in the traditional format but that’ll cost as much as $400 and without the regular updates the subscription version offers.
Again: why pay that much for something someone else lets you do for free? Combine the above programs with Google Docs and you have no reason to do that. Not only that Open Office is 100% compatible with Microsoft’s Skydrive system (Web Version). I found out earlier today when I activated Sky Drive on my Desktop computer. Don’t get the wrong idea I do not work for Open Office or Libre Office. I’ve just been using them for ten years and have come to appreciate the more tranditonal route both programs take. They sacrifice aesthetics for functionality and it shows.
From the looks of things Office 2010 will be the last one I ever buy from Microsoft. I just see no reason to justify the price jump personally.