AA dumps Open Office, buys Microsoft for ‘compatibility’

Posted on: July 16, 2007 - 23:18 By: carl

Sad, but true apparently... Full Computerworld story here if you want more details. But wait! Lets just see how this stacks up...

The article indicates that "the majority of AA staff have used Open Office, with a small number also using the Microsoft product" and yet "compatibilty... within the organisation and with external parties" is an issue? I struggle to see how, if "the majority" are using OO, compatibility within the organisation is a problem... and even when compared with external parties the solution is very straight forward, you just send them an OO cd or point them at OpenOffice.org.

Then we have the perennial "Roadmap" issue. This one is trotted out regularly by vendors with a barrow to push but you notice it's always the vendor that is pushing. Chances of the little old AA of NZ getting a feature change from the vendor? Approximately nil. Following on from that we can add the thought that given "the majority" of users (90% is the generally accepted number) use "a minority" of feature (10% is the generally accepted number here) a roadmap covering more features that people don't use and further reducing the percentage people *do* use seems a bit pointless. Oh, and by the way, OO *does* have a roadmap but they call it projects.

And so to price. 500 seats with home use as a sweetener (and does the users family get to use it as well?). Current prices for MS Office 2007 range between $460 and $630 inc.GST. Lets call it an even $545 for a total of $272,500. That would go a long way to getting a "roadmap" with OpenOffice.org. And guess what... they *STILL* have a compatibility problem as there aren't that many people on MS Office 2007 yet!

And all because a company convicted in the US for monopolistic trade practices won't support an ISO approved document standard. The AA would be the first organisation to bang on about consumer rights if any car manufacturer tried to enforce similar restrictions. And they imply that they are prepared to suffer even more vendor lockin by using the products to directly maintain the websites. The mind fairly boggles at the security implications of this. I have no doubt there is more to the story than has been published but it's clearly gotten "too hard" for the person that signs the cheques.

Never mind. Open Office will still be available no matter how long it takes the AA to realise their mistake.