Oracle Plans To Take on Microsoft Office

With its acquisition of Sun Microsystems complete, Oracle intends to go after Microsoft's lucrative Office franchise, the company revealed yesterday. While Oracle had been quiet about its intentions for supporting Sun OpenOffice, the company disclosed plans for a forthcoming upgrade called Oracle Cloud Office during a five-hour briefing at its Redwood Shores, Calif. headquarters.

Cloud Office will support the Open Document Format (ODF) and will offer Web-based creation of documents, spreadsheets and presentations and will link to the Oracle Collaboration Suite. The company did not say when it will release Cloud Office.

"We're going to focus on enterprise customers," said Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect, speaking at yesterday's briefing. "We're going to build integrations between business intelligence and OpenOffice [and] between our content management solutions."

OpenOffice is Sun's standards-based office productivity suite and will be managed as an independent business unit, where Oracle will retain Sun's development staff and support teams. "We're going to continue to develop promote and support OpenOffice, including the community edition, he said.

Cloud Office potentially could represent a formidable challenge to Microsoft as it gets ready in the next quarter to release Office 2010. "A company with Oracle's money and clout behind it will make it interesting to watch," said Burton Group analyst Gary Creese.

"Though Sun has long supported OpenOffice, it has always somewhat struggled. Oracle has a much larger footprint, if they choose to they could probably drive a lot more customers to this new offering, but I think the jury is still absolutely out on how all these new competitors to Office will fare."

Web-based creation, editing and sharing of files is a key feature Microsoft is touting for Office 2010. That feature is a central attraction of Google Apps. IBM's Lotus group last week at Lotusphere said its Symphony suite will support Web clients this summer.

Still Creese said many enterprises remain reluctant to move away from Office for two primary reasons: concern about the sharing of file formats and a richer set of features. Nevertheless, many organizations that remain committed to Office aren't ruling out lower cost alternatives for users who don't require the high-end features in Office. "Some organizations are looking at segmenting some users who could suffice with less expensive alternatives," he said.

One area where Office 2010 will have particular appeal is in shops that intend to migrate to SharePoint 2010, Creese added. "Office 2010 is very much built as a front-end to SharePoint 2010," he said. "For others, the reason for upgrading is less compelling." However for those with Office 2003 and are faced with having to upgrade, it would make sense to move to Office 2010, he added.


About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.


  • Old Stone Wall Graphic

    Microsoft Addressing 36 Vulnerabilities in December Security Patch Release

    Microsoft on Tuesday delivered its December bundle of security patches, which affect Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, Skype for Business, SQL Server and Visual Studio.

  • Microsoft Nudging Out Classic SharePoint Blogs

    So-called "classic" blogs used by SharePoint Online subscribers are on their way toward "retirement," according to Dec. 4 Microsoft Message Center post.

  • Datacenters in Space: OrbitsEdge Partners with HPE

    A Florida-based startup is partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a deal that gives new meaning to the "edge" in edge computing.

  • Windows 10 Hyper-V vs. Windows Server Hyper-V: Which Platform for Which Workloads?

    The differences between these two Hyper-V versions are pretty significant, depending on what you plan to use them for. Here's a quick rundown of each platform, from their features to licensing quirks to intended use cases.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.