What could Open Office do with a business model?

What could Open Office do with a business model?

Summary: You can say Microsoft has found a way to crush open source. Or you can say open source has been shown a business model it can use to crack the mass market and gain a sustainable revenue base.


Microsoft Equipt home page screen shotIt has been amusing this Independence Day reading reaction to Microsoft's Equipt announcement.

The reaction has ranged from hope to anger, depending on the author's attitude toward Microsoft.

Rather than play either note I'd like to focus on the business model and the opportunities it offers open source.

What we're looking at here is bundled SaaS. SaaS for the masses.

Security is at the heart of this announcement. This is aimed far more at McAfee and Symantec than at Open Office. Microsoft is bundling an anti-viral with office productivity at roughly the price of the first.

Second, re-sellers. Microsoft chose its Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston as the venue for this. It had good reason. Microsoft is depending on its vast re-seller network to make Equipt a money-spinner.

But what can we learn from this? A bundle which includes security as well as productivity, and a global network of re-sellers.

This could be a great opportunity for open source.

Imagine, if you will, Open Office partnering with one of the security vendors being bypassed through this announcement. Trend Micro, McAfee, Symantec, CheckPoint, even Avast! There are many vendors directly threatened with death anxious to deal.

Now, the third partner. Google? Well, any cloud will do. How about Yahoo? Or Amazon? Or Sun?

See how easy this bundle is to pull off? With open source tools? You can have a SaaS system spinning big bucks in consumer open source within a few months.

Now imagine what Open Office could do with that money? Even a taste of, say, $50/year would, multiplied millions of times, enable an immense effort in documentation and development, taking it well past Microsoft Office in capabilities.

You can say Microsoft has found a way to crush open source. Or you can say open source has been shown a business model it can use to crack the mass market and gain a sustainable revenue base.

I prefer thinking the latter.

Topics: Software, Cloud, Collaboration, Emerging Tech, Microsoft, Open Source

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  • No need for built-in AV in OOo

    Why in the world would an office tool need a "built-in" anti-virus??

    Security should be part of the original design and not just an after thought. Including an anti-virus program from the same company that created (and won't fix) the vulnerability is nothing more than an attempt fix a problem by adding a fake sense of security.

    If MS was really concerned about security, it would actually produce a quality tool that is secure from the ground up. Just like you can't build a safe house without a good foundation (then pretend it is safe by adding duck-tape and a few nails), you can't build a safe office suite by adding a cheap anti-virus package.
    • Reading impaired?

      AV is part of the Equipt _package_ - it is not "built in" to anything. You don't even have to install it.
      Confused by religion
      • What part of "you don't even have to install it" is not "built-in"??

        Sorry to ask, but how stupid are you??

        Just to educate you: "you don't even have to install it" == BUILT-IN.
        • Optional

          Dude, it's not anti-virus built into Office, it's a package install that includes both Office and the anti-virus. It's anti-virus for your WHOLE computer. And because it's optional, you "don't even have to install it". ergo...NOT built-in
  • BTW: Distributing OOo with COTS anti-virus is not a bad idea

    The key word is "distributing".

    People would be more inclined to pay for an anti-virus package if they saw value in the investment. A "free" office suite would be beneficial to the 3rd party offers and would tremendously assist in the adoption and expansion of OpenOffice.org
  • Give it up...

    Microsoft is a powerhouse and will not be denied. It is their corporate birth-right to own the desktop and DESTROY all who get in their way. My rep and I celebrated the Fourth of July in true Microsoft fashion with Zunes, Vista Media Center and Windows Media on Windows Server 2008. When my son complained there were more RJ-45 cables than people, I told him to go to his room and reflect on what it means to live in a country where Microsoft is the best company.
    Mike Cox
    • Drum roll...

      D T Schmitz
    • 9.9 - Happy 4th of July Mikey!

    • Give it up...

      I'll give that one a 3, it was rather weak Mike!
    • MSFT is GOD!

      I threw chairs at my wife and kids all through the weekend shouting at them and accusing them of disloyalty to MSFT!

      When will you hippies get it: MSFT will own the world, finally, all the businesses and all the banks and communications companies. It has to. You want it to. Admit it. Kneel. Kneel!
      • Bill "Borg" Gates: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!!!

        And Steve Darth Ballmer - "Give in ::Jedi Chair-Throwing Trick:: to the Dark, MicroShaft Side ::hoo! hoo!:: of the Farce..."
      • I detect some satire in your post

        Microsoft specializes in bloatware and tries to force upgrades to bigger bloatware. I have about 75 hot fixes on XP Professional on which MS has dropped support. When my present computer dies of natural causes my next one will be a Mac.
        • no satire intended

          When software is SaaS the hot fixes happen centrally, and you never notice them.
  • Don't worry...

    I figure that MS going to a annual licensing model on its office products is nothing but good news for OOO which is both free and unrestricted.
    John L. Ries
  • Wait until the government starts trolling for keywords

    .. and all your documents are in the cloud. Can you say CLUELESS???

    On this very site bloggers were up in arms this week that google has to turn over youtube records.

    Is anyone actually thinking this through?

    Open source was / is supposed to be about empowerment. Being empowered having by Open Office on my own PC, with my own encrypted files, and my own hard drive. No genuine advantage, no software that calls home, no corporate agenda.

    If we really want open source to purposely generate software that tethers people to a central server farm somewhere, then I'll pass.

    There is ZERO advantage to be to be forced to sign up for cloud services run by for-profit companies that just happen to be using open source software. Individuals are going to get just as screwed over as they would if Microsoft was running the service.
    • No end of entertainment

      [i]Wait until the government starts trolling for keywords and all your documents are in the cloud.[/i]

      Yup -- can't wait. I have a very fertile imagination, after all.

      As for "<b>all</b. of my documents" -- get serious. Fortunately, there's no requirement since the standalone option is always there (unlike for MS).
      Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Interesting

      Because the moment this happens, you write a plugin which instantly encrypts you're documents leaving the government probably clueless.

      Or even better, why not just start encrypting anyways, give you a much more comfy feeling
      • Government and encryption

        Are you certain that any widely available encryption is going to prevent government access? A great deal can be justified by the need to hunt for terrorists.
        Anton Philidor
        • It's good enough to stop them...


          From this article:
          According to the government, the process to unlock drive Z could take years, based on efforts to unlock similarly encrypted files in another case. Despite its best efforts, to date the government has been unable to learn the password to access drive Z.

          And it's all done with commercially available software.
      • Interesting

        Ohhh Warm and Fuzzy!!!!!