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Orange launches 'Open Office'

The company says its home-worker service portfolio won't be confused with the open-source office-applications suite OpenOffice.org
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Orange has repackaged some of its services for flexible workers into a portfolio called "Open Office".

Users of Orange Business handsets will be able to choose from a variety of home-worker services, including home broadband, the Wi-Fi/GSM dual-mode phone system called "Unique", mobile email, the Business Everywhere datacard and some dedicated tariff schemes.

"Our research indicates that increasing levels of home and flexible working will be one of the defining business trends of this decade," said Neil Laidler, acting vice president of Orange Business Services UK. "Rather than daily commutes to a fixed place of work, employees will increasing expect to work productively from a variety of locations, whether at home or on the road."

Customers using Open Office will be offered one bill for all the services, as well as dedicated customer services support.

However, it is possible that there might be some confusion over the name chosen by Orange UK for this portfolio, as there is also a well-known open-source office-applications suite called OpenOffice.org.

The only reason that those behind the software suite do not use the name "Open Office" is the registration of that trademark in the Netherlands by an Ubuntu Linux-affiliated company. The co-founder of the Linux company, Wouter Hanegraaff, told ZDNet.co.uk that his company still occasionally falls foul of confusion generated by OpenOffice.org's internationally implemented nomenclature, but he wished Orange well with their UK-based venture.

"We think Orange has chosen a really great brand name," Hanegraaff said on Monday. "As long as it's the UK, we're not too worried. Should Orange want to extend their Open Office product to the Benelux under the same name, I'm confident that they'll contact us, as the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property has our brand nicely registered."

As for OpenOffice.org, a spokesman played down any potential confusion that might be caused by Orange's chosen portfolio branding. "OpenOffice.org doesn't have a problem with it — it's unlikely to cause confusion in the marketplace," marketing project lead John McCreesh told ZDNet.co.uk. "Our registered trademark is OpenOffice.org, and there's no hint of any orange colour in our branding."

A spokesman for Orange UK told ZDNet.co.uk that the telco's use of the name "Open Office" should not create any confusion because it did not refer to a software package, and the term was not yet a registered trademark in the UK.

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