OpenOffice.org 3 Times as Good?
OpenOffice.org has opened a lot of eyes to open source. I've fiddled with it
and was surprised at how robust an essentially free application can be. My only
beef is that in an effort to be an alternative to Microsoft, it's almost Microsoft
Office. It's big, complex and not exactly fun.
Meanwhile, Office is maintaining the kind of market share that would make my
local electric company proud.
OpenOffice.org gets a lot of backing from Sun, which just
released OpenOffice.org 3. This new release includes better multi-page document
viewing, the ability to import Office 2007 files (but not export them back)
and native Mac OS X support.
What do you like and hate about OpenOffice.org? Is it too much like Office,
or not enough? Votes counted at email@example.com
-- and you don't even have to register.
Patch Tuesday Hijacked
Hackers know that Patch Tuesday is a big day, a day when IT prods feverishly
download patches and plug holes. It's also a perfect way to trick users into
clicking on what they think is legitimate security information from Microsoft,
but is instead
a Trojan horse.
Is this clever? Not really. Dangerous? You bet! You might want to warn your
end users about this one.
Hyper-V Kicking Butt and Taking
Who would've guessed that a free hypervisor aimed directly against one costing
over five grand (for a high-end edition of ESX) would quickly gain market share?
If you said IDC, you'd
be correct. This veteran research house says that Hyper-V, "when combined
with Virtual Server 2005, helped Microsoft to capture 23 percent of new license
shipments in 2Q 2008." That's great news for Microsoft execs.
So what's the good news for VMware? "Worldwide new server shipments virtualized
increased 52 percent year over year in the second quarter," IDC says. Looks
like there's plenty of business for everyone.
Mailbag: What Price Mac?
Are Apple laptops worth the price tag? Readers chime in with their thoughts:
In reality, I recognize hyperbole when I see it. Apple stuff is not all
that overpriced in the overall scheme of things. Rejoice and relax -- you
still have the lower parts of the market all to yourselves.
You stated by saying that buying a Mac instead of a PC is like buying
a Cadillac instead of a Hyundai. I think a better comparison is buying a Mac
is like buying a Toyota instead of a Ford. We all know Ford could build a
better car if it wanted to, but it doesn't want to. So if reliability and
performance are issues, you buy a Toyota, not a Ford. Same for Mac vs. PC.
Apple will never be able to afford to sell entry-level PCs. It simply
cannot generate the volumes necessary to absorb the narrow margins that Dell
and HP must maintain on entry-level products.
That's not really the question, though. OEMs like Dell and HP routinely
offer steep discounts on mid-range to high-end systems in order to attract
high-volume enterprise customers -- and they still make a profit. If Apple
DID care about IT (or perhaps if it simply understood the enterprise market),
it would understand that enterprise customers are not consumers and they will
not pay premium prices for PCs. But when they do buy, they buy in large enough
volumes to make it worth their while.
Have you ever met anyone using a Mac that wasn't passionate about their
Apple product? They don't mind paying extra for the look and feel of the Apple
products and love the interface, so why would Apple ever cut its profit margin
in hopes of attracting newbies? It already has a dedicated fan base that's
bringing up children and influencing others with their preferences.
Not for me though -- I'm hooked on Windows and prefer it even with all
the security issues and OS flaws. It's what I use at work and prefer to use
at play. Even if Apple cut its prices down to the $500 level, I'd be no more
drawn to its product line as I'm sure many others would agree. Bet many others
are worked up over this posting!
Apple obviously doesn't care about a presence in the enterprise. Most
line-of-business applications won't run on a Mac. There's little in the way
of management, no good story for remote access. Even ignoring the price difference,
there's too much functionality lost with Mac. They're fine for home users
or business users who only need an Office app, but other than that, I don't
see much of a role for them in business. For the foreseeable future, I'm a
I support PCs and am sick of the instability. If Macs are stable, the
$500 premium is worth it. But are they? Based on what evidence?
As the lowly network admin, I'm not really that worried about money per
se; the boss has to pay for it. I'm more worried about my own frustration
regarding malware, users mucking where they shouldn't and general OS instability.
If I could make a defensible claim of higher uptime, higher user productivity
and lower support, I'd be interested in making the case. For now, we are moving
to a dumb terminal configuration using Wyse terminals and Citrix.
Interesting to note that Apple once dominated computers in elementary
and high schools, but is now in second place to Dell in sales. Was Bill Gates
smart to settle his antitrust suit by giving away PCs to poorer schools? Not
only is he giving away PCs, Microsoft is providing millions of dollars in
training and technical support for teachers to learn how to effectively use
PCs. Smart move by Microsoft, but will Apple respond with affordable computers
for these low-income students?
Since I've always thought (with few exceptions) that Apple customers represent
the best of the snobby, elitist, socially unconscious "arty" crowd,
why would Steve want to stoop so low for the rest of us? Thank goodness laptops
have gone down in price. Hey, maybe someday I can replace my old clunker.
Apple taking its prices down to PC levels would destroy its business model,
since it wouldn't be the cool, limited club that it is. Its fanboys would
move on to something else if every Joe Six-Pack also owned an Apple; it wouldn't
be special anymore. The coolness is a critical part of Apple's business success...at
least for others. I'm too old to worry about coolness anymore.
Check in tomorrow for more of your letters! In the meantime, leave your comment
below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.