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Milk, Bread and Spreadsheets

"This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
Where you can buy a full office productivity suite for $100...."

OK, so maybe Willie Shakespeare didn’t write that last line when he penned "King Richard II," Act 2, Scene 1. But he could have if he had hung around until 2006. And wouldn’t that have made for better reading in high school English class?

Yes, it’s true. England will soon be home to a grocery store-brand office suite that will sell for about $100 and will compete with the Microsoft Office franchise. Go ahead and read that last sentence again. It’s entirely true. And you thought Microsoft was straying from its core competencies. Tesco, the UK retail giant (whose customers, we imagine, all look like this, or possibly like this) is going where many have gone but few have survived (right, Lotus and Corel?): right into the teeth of the Office beast.

Well, sort of. While Tesco’s cobbled-together suite will include everything but the contents of the produce section -- image-editing software and anti-virus applications are on offer alongside the classic Office-esque stuff -- it surely won’t quite have the depth of functionality that Office has. Then again, users are always saying that Office is too bloated and has too much functionality. Maybe Tesco won’t bring down the Office empire, but it might accidentally get Microsoft to thinking about lightening the contents of its own Office shopping basket a bit. Or, more likely, it’ll get chucked down the garbage disposal with the other pretenders to the Office throne.

By the way, if you don’t know Tesco, you might soon; it’s coming to America (check out the last sentence here).

Would you buy a $100 office suite? At the grocery store? Let me know at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/03/2006 at 1:19 PM


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