OpenOffice more of a challenge than Google Docs

Speaking recently at a Gartner conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cited Google Docs’ “primitive capabilities”, claiming they “get more competition from OpenOffice and StarOffice, frankly.” He elaborated on his comments making the point that “You can’t even put a footnote in a document!” and claiming that “People don’t use it. People try Google Apps, they don’t use it.”

During the exposition in Orlando, he also made comments about the much-rumoured upcoming “cloud OS” from Microsoft, but declined to elaborate further – simply stating more news will be upcoming at PDC, Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. Microsoft have since announced Windows Azure, a cloud-based computing service.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft Office sales rose 20% in the last quarter, but sales will have to be much higher to reach Microsoft’s alleged target of $10 billion (£6.4 billion) in Office revenue by 2010. Meanwhile, the latest release of OpenOffice gained over 5 million downloads in its first two weeks of availability, initially crashing its download servers. This is considered an underestimate, however, due to a large number of Linux users updating from alternative sources and the server downtime.

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