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 dbarney@redmondmag.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 Market Share
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.
-Bill

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.
-Alan

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.
-Marc

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!
-Jee

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 PC.
-Dave

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.
-Milton

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?
-Dan

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.
-Anonymous

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.
-Bob

Check in tomorrow for more of your letters! In the meantime, leave your comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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