There is no question about it: As far as David-and-Goliath scenarios go, the scrappy open-source office applications that have taken on mighty Microsoft Office could not have picked a seemingly more invincible foe. Bill Gates' silicon empire is just about as powerful and wealthy a corporate organization as has ever existed. Next to it, outfits like OpenOffice, StarOffice and Corel Office look like ragtag guerilla fighters and, frankly, kind of puny. But it is not necessarily wise to write off the skinny kid with the sling quite yet. Though Microsoft's Office applications hold a lead in the business market that would daunt General George S. Patton, open-source office applications are doing better in the SMB (small to mid-size business) markets than experts expected. "The bottom line is that, where the market is right now, I don't see huge traction for OpenOffice or StarOffice. But, that said, I think you will see pockets where those products make sense," Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox told NewsFactor.
Wooing Mom and Pop
And those pockets are in small and mid-size businesses -- those of 1,000 employees or less -- where paying top dollar for Microsoft's very expensive productivity suite does not make much sense. In conducting research for a new report, Wilcox found that open-source productivity suites did "surprisingly well" in the mid-size business market, with the OpenOffice suite alone claiming a share of about 6 percent. Furthermore, he found that some 19 percent of small businesses ran Linux on their desktop, and a whopping 26 percent ran Linux on their servers.
News source: NewsFactor