LibreOffice, the OpenOffice fork, is a very popular open-source office suite. But, while it has great support from Linux distributors, like openSUSE and Ubuntu, LibreOffice has never had a major corporate backer on the Windows side... until now. Intel is now offering LibreOffice to Windows users via its AppUp application store. I wonder how Microsoft feels about this.
According to The Document Foundation (TDF), the newly incorporated group behind LibreOffice, "LibreOffice for Windows from SUSE is available in Intel AppUp Center as a special, five-language version featuring English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. As a validated Intel AppUp Center app, LibreOffice for Windows from SUSE features a new, smooth, silent installation flow and improved un-installation cleanup." This version of LibreOffice for Windows is now available from the Intel AppUp store.
Of course, LibreOffice has long been available on Windows, as well as Linux and Mac OS X. What's different about this is that Intel, Microsoft's long time ally, is now actively supporting Microsoft Office's most active rival. Certainly, on the cloud, Google Docs is Office's biggest enemy but on the good old PC desktop, LibreOffice is Microsoft's Office main competition.
Nor, is Intel just enabling LibreOffice to be downloaded from its site. No, Intel is actively working on improving the LibreOffice code base. In a statement, Dawn Foster, open source community lead, at Intel said, "I have been using LibreOffice from day one for presentations at conferences and for data analysis. Our engineers have worked with the LibreOffice codebase to optimize it for Intel hardware. Adding it to the AppUp Center is an obvious extension, and will provide an exciting feature for all Ultrabook users."
Intel has also joined The Document Foundation. That means Intel is also financially supporting this rival to Microsoft Office.
Needless to say TDF is happy. "We are thrilled to add Intel to our existing roster of supporters", said Florian Effenberger, a TDF board member in a statement, "TDF is first and foremost a vendor neutral project committed to excellence in the office suite space, but we greatly value the support and advice we gain from organizations such as SUSE, Red Hat, Google, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Software in the Public Interest (SPI)."
Curiously enough, SUSE, a Linux company, with long-time ties to Microsoft, took the technical lead in delivering this Windows version of LibreOffice.
I, for one, find it very interesting that two Microsoft allies, Intel and SUSE, are promoting a program that's targeted straight at Microsoft's cash cow: Microsoft Office. Perhaps Intel feels slighted as Microsoft puts its attention on Windows 8 on ARM? Might it be that Intel wants users getting exciting about Windows 7-powerd Ultrabooks instead of Windows 8 ARM-powered tablets? Maybe SUSE, which used to partner closely with Microsoft on Linux and Windows network integration, feels neglected? I don't know. I do know Microsoft can't be happy.