Microsoft posts video of customers bashing OpenOffice

If the world didn't need reminding of the ongoing battle of Microsoft Office vs OpenOffice, the software giant reaffirmed that this month by posting a video on YouTube of Microsoft customers complaining about OpenOffice.

Entitled "a few perspectives on OpenOffice", the video details 15 customers who switched to Office after using OpenOffice. The video uses a variety of quotes that hint at lower productivity, poor interoperability and general frustration with Openoffice. Interestingly, Ars Technica note that a lot of the quotes are from case studies and press articles that the software maker has published over the past four years. As these aren't recent quotes it's entirely possible that those experiences are no longer accurate.

The timing is impeccable. OpenOffice is currently one of the best office suites available for Linux users and provides good compatibility with Microsoft documents. Until recently, the main developer of OpenOffice was Sun Microsystems which Star Office was based upon. Since the acquisition of Sun by Oracle earlier this year the product's future has been in limbo. In late September, The Document Foundation sized control of the OpenOffice suite and gave it a temporary name of "LibreOffice" to declare its independence from Oracle. Oracle still holds the rights to the OpenOffice brand and it's unlikely that the company will release those.

Still, we enjoy a bit of competitive bashing just like the next man. Check out the video below.

Update: A few readers have pointed out that Microsoft has removed the video from its YouTube channel. We have reached out to Microsoft spokespeople for clarification.

Update 2: The video is now back online.

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107 Comments

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There really isn't a reason to use OpenOffice from a student perspective as everything is tailored for Word or Excel or whatever. I had people try to give presentations in class that they made in OpenOffice that just look terrible and almost unusable when shown on a classroom computer running PowerPoint. Plus Office is made super cheap (or even free from your school) for all students anyway.

Chrono951 said,
There really isn't a reason to use OpenOffice or Office from a student perspective as everything is tailored for LaTeX.

Fixed that for you.

I always thought it was classy of Microsoft to not stoop to bashing competitors (at least in ads). This is certainly borderline, but it is, in my experience, legitimate.

warwagon said,
Microsoft would not make this video if open office wasn't effecting their sales.
Or they want to stop it before they start.

A lot of businesses (as demonstrated in the video) think since OpenOffice is free, the trade-off will be worth it. It's not, most of the time. So they are just doing the public a favor and showing the issues businesses who have tried switching have had, and ended up coming back to Microsoft Office after wasting valuable time and money (and a supposedly free suite).

You can agree or disagree with most of the point but there is one point that you cant agree:
USER INTERFACE
The video says that "lack of openoffice skills" and people more familiar with MS office interface. The problem is that openoffice is more similar to MS OFFICE 2003 than MS Office 2007 to MS Office 2003 so there they are losing a point

npierri said,
You can agree or disagree with most of the point but there is one point that you cant agree:
USER INTERFACE
The video says that "lack of openoffice skills" and people more familiar with MS office interface. The problem is that openoffice is more similar to MS OFFICE 2003 than MS Office 2007 to MS Office 2003 so there they are losing a point

so you are comparing it to a 7 year old program?

So they're saying, that OOO sucks, because its not really compatible with microsofts own closed formats. Aha, i see. Really gay move from microsoft's side. What will happen if they release .doc and .docx code, for example? I bet the compatibility will jump higher surprisingly fast.

Val Thе Awеsome said,
So they're saying, that OOO sucks, because its not really compatible with microsofts own closed formats. Aha, i see. Really gay move from microsoft's side. What will happen if they release .doc and .docx code, for example? I bet the compatibility will jump higher surprisingly fast.

LOL - as I mentioned up the thread though I doubt if they released the APIs it'd make any difference as MSFT had enough problems with doc formatting when sharing in versions between 9x to 2k3 (when I started using word for CVs etc) so if they can't do a good job when have the secret recipe...

All blah blah blah..
They don't want to listen anymore.. thats why "Adding comments has been disabled for this video."
Ha ha ha ha.. :-D

These are my standards:
Writer / Word : LaTeX -> PDF , text streams
Impress / Powerpoint : LaTeX -> PDF
Calc / Excel : (when really needed) Gnumeric, because unlike the previous programs mentioned it is accurate

I am happy.

tiagosilva29 said,
These are my standards:
Writer / Word : LaTeX -> PDF , text streams
Impress / Powerpoint : LaTeX -> PDF
Calc / Excel : (when really needed) Gnumeric, because unlike the previous programs mentioned it is accurate

I am happy.

Well, you avatar says a lot about your software preferences.

PS - I've used Latex, and it is horrible to use, only crappy cnpq to force you to use it...

sviola said,

Well, you avatar says a lot about your software preferences.

PS - I've used Latex, and it is horrible to use, only crappy cnpq to force you to use it...

I liked LaTeX - I did my first paper at Uni in word and I can say I completely hate equation editor.
LaTeX was a million times faster and predictable, plus you get to learn the proper names for punctuation symbols.

But clearly not everyone is writing papers in theoretical physics

OpenOffice is dead, well kinda... Since Oracle bought Sun that the project has been stale.

The open community picked it up giving a different name, LibreOffice and hopefully a new direction in terms of futures and evolution.

My company tried switching to OpenOffice...about 6 weeks later we got an Office license agreement with SA. OpenOffice simply doesn't compare to MS Office.

Felix_ said,
Open office sucks plain and simple.
Office 2007 and 2010 have been an absolute dream to work with.

2007 has been the first version worth moving to since 97, the rest in between have been cash cows for MSFT.

I like 10 as it starts faster than 7 but has the features of 7 also we can take excel 64 bit for bloaty PnL sheets. Makes the traders' sheets run nice even if I am sad about the placement of the support options.

Makes me laugh though that they still can't get tables right in Office, as soon as one of those table's edges gets out of alignment in Word you're fooked.
And also all the fun we had with v95-2003 not showing the same chuffing document formatting when you opened it in a different release of, er, MSFT Office...
Bunch of useless cants.

Not tried OO in ages so can't give any comments on that.

Would be better if these was more competition then MSFT might make an effort, like they have only just started to do with IE.
But, given that everyone is balls deep in excel addins etc which would need rewriting from the ground up, we're all stuck on the MSFT office gravy train.

Perhaps my next 14yrs of office will make me happier...

ElGuido said,

Would be better if these was more competition then MSFT might make an effort, like they have only just started to do with IE.

Well, eventough neither OO.o, Lotus Symphony and Google Docs are on par with MS Office, they did a great improvement from Office 2003 to 2007 and 2010. The latter are imcomparably better to work with than any previous version (the ribbon interface may be a shift in usage at the begining, but after you leran it, it really speeds up the work).

sviola said,

Well, even though neither OO.o, Lotus Symphony and Google Docs are on par with MS Office, they did a great improvement from Office 2003 to 2007 and 2010. The latter are incomparably better to work with than any previous version (the ribbon interface may be a shift in usage at the beginning, but after you learn it, it really speeds up the work).

Good point, 2k3 -> 7 is a big jump, 10 just removes the stupid big button and gives you 64bit

ElGuido said,

Good point, 2k3 -> 7 is a big jump, 10 just removes the stupid big button and gives you 64bit

While I do agree, it would be worth going from 2003 -> 2010, that would be worth the money, since you aren't going from 2007 -> 2010 which is less of a jump.

Open Office may not be a superior product, but watching Microsoft going viral in mentioning the Open Office product in an ad, would most obviously suggest that this freeware is hurting sales considerably. Most people would not pay hundreds for something that they could easily obtain freely, unless it were compulsory. Its called good common sense. Corporations like uniformity and high professional standards, so in an effort to maintain high standards they are willing to pay a little more. Some towns, cities, schools districts may not have a comparable IT budget of a large corporation, and may choose Google's cloud or Open Office. This is what worries Microsoft, the very prospect of any competitors products being accepted in the mainstream. It causes a slow, but gradual erosion of their market share. (Look at the iPhone Vrs Android scenario.) Then Microsoft or any other company must do what is necessary in a free market economy...they must vigorously compete to keep both you and I as customers. This is a healthy development for the market and the consumer both.

You get what you pay for. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone except the hyper-defensive Open Office fans or anti-Microsoft trolls.

I'm not going to bother reading the comments. I can safely assume there are plenty of people talking about how good OO is, and bagging MS because that's the troll thing to do. And you're not cool unless you hate MS... or something like that.

I tried OO. And it is seriously the worst software suite I have ever used. I was using WordPad over Writer, purely because of system resources.

Move off Java. Build a decent platform, and then get back to me with a decent product that works well.

MS Office will always be the top suite. It is the best. It is the most widely used.

People whinging about standards... well... Office was around before anyone started to give a **** about "standards" and "open software".

Seriously. The open crowd need to get off their high horse. MS doesn't need to be open. It's proprietary software, and you pay for what you get. A bloody good suite of products. Denying that is just retarded.

There is NO battle.
OpenOffice is a joke. It can't render a table correctly, let alone show a summation formula accuratly.

It is called LibreOffice now, i.e. OpenOffice with a different logo.

Udedenkz said,
There is NO battle.
OpenOffice is a joke. It can't render a table correctly, let alone show a summation formula accuratly.

It is called LibreOffice now, i.e. OpenOffice with a different logo.

You can dip a dog turd in chocolate, but it is still a dog turd dipped in chocolate.

Microsoft had the right idea when they priced a Home and Student edition at $99. That's gotta be painful to OpenOffice.org.

When it comes to business... lets face it: Employees are not hired by employers because they cost money... Employees are hired by employers because they MAKE money for the employer. A few $100 for the most advanced PRODUCTIVITY suite shouldn't be a place to cut costs and increase profits. Same goes with Windows vs Linux and even the $900 best buy special vs the $1500 business class laptop. Sorry..I worked in Linux for years and it has its advantages, but if an employee knows how to use Windows don't intentionally cripple them.

Shadrack said,
Microsoft had the right idea when they priced a Home and Student edition at $99. That's gotta be painful to OpenOffice.org.

When it comes to business... lets face it: Employees are not hired by employers because they cost money... Employees are hired by employers because they MAKE money for the employer. A few $100 for the most advanced PRODUCTIVITY suite shouldn't be a place to cut costs and increase profits. Same goes with Windows vs Linux and even the $900 best buy special vs the $1500 business class laptop. Sorry..I worked in Linux for years and it has its advantages, but if an employee knows how to use Windows don't intentionally cripple them.

I agree... Microsoft really just needs to make Office cheaper. $99 for Home and Student is great, however, the upper versions skyrocket in price. Same with Windows.

Microsoft could beat open source as a whole by lowering their software prices somewhat to be more affordable.

I would love to run/use Windows Server for web hosting. Just too expensive.

LOL. I can't believe there are still people out there that try to trash MS Office. Get used to it, trolls, it's the best, no matter what you think about MS, or Windows, or whatever. There's no other product like this. OpenOffice is just a poor attempt at stealing Office users from MS. And a failed one. Get real. I know Office is not free, but it's well worth the money.

I am fair advocate of open office but I don't use it myself because open office is what office 95 was. No improvement in GUI. Fonts looks crappy and everything about it looks crappy. However, I would like to see open office successful but they need to do lots of improvements.

In a work environment, you can't have anything but the best for the job. OpenOffice is not bad, but when you're exchanging files with someone (read: everyone) that uses MS Office, you're just setting yourself up for trouble by not following suit.

I expected a massive flamewar in this article's comments from looking at the title. But the opinion seems to be unanimous: OpenOffice sucks...

Although I really do not have much experience with either >.>

It doesn't suck per sé, it does a good job for a free product. But if you could get either of them free, you'd more than likely be better off choosing Office every time.

Recon415 said,
I expected a massive flamewar in this article's comments from looking at the title. But the opinion seems to be unanimous: OpenOffice sucks...

Although I really do not have much experience with either >.>

OpenOffice sucks so bad, that I'd rather use Google Docs or Office Web Apps.

I would say OpenOffice has it's good points and it's bad points. If I had to select between
MS-Office or OpenOffice at work. I would select MS-Office over OpenOffice.

I would like to see new version of MS-Office released for home users with Word, Excel and Outlook.
An sell it at a good price to .. something around $59 or $69 dollars ...

GenBlood said,
I would say OpenOffice has it's good points and it's bad points. If I had to select between
MS-Office or OpenOffice at work. I would select MS-Office over OpenOffice.

I would like to see new version of MS-Office released for home users with Word, Excel and Outlook.
An sell it at a good price to .. something around $59 or $69 dollars ...


Don't think that will ever happen - Outlook is the one thing that increases the price a lot. And by the way: You don't want OneNote?

GenBlood said,
I would say OpenOffice has it's good points and it's bad points. If I had to select between
MS-Office or OpenOffice at work. I would select MS-Office over OpenOffice.

I would like to see new version of MS-Office released for home users with Word, Excel and Outlook.
An sell it at a good price to .. something around $59 or $69 dollars ...

Dont know what it costs in US$ but Home and Student is around that in the UK, includes Word and Excel and then download Windows Live Mail 2011 which is everything that a home user would need from Outlook - plus you get to install it on three machines.

Xeron said,

Dont know what it costs in US$ but Home and Student is around that in the UK, includes Word and Excel and then download Windows Live Mail 2011 which is everything that a home user would need from Outlook - plus you get to install it on three machines.


I did the same thing, don't need Outlook...

GenBlood said,
I would say OpenOffice has it's good points and it's bad points. If I had to select between
MS-Office or OpenOffice at work. I would select MS-Office over OpenOffice.

I would like to see new version of MS-Office released for home users with Word, Excel and Outlook.
An sell it at a good price to .. something around $59 or $69 dollars ...

if you're a home user, there's no big reason to need outlook. the only big advantage it has over software like live mail or thunderbird is that it can access exchange servers. which, as a home user, you probably don't have.

wookietv said,

if you're a home user, there's no big reason to need outlook. the only big advantage it has over software like live mail or thunderbird is that it can access exchange servers. which, as a home user, you probably don't have.

Actually, Outlook has better IMAP support than WLM (which is very important if you have a GMail/GoogleMail account, as IMAP is the standard). The big advantage that WLM has over Outlook (for home use) is better support for Hotmail/MSN Mail accounts. (Outlook has a better junk-mail filtering system than WLM as well.) If IMAP and/or junk-mail filtering is important (especially if you are a home user), Outlook trumps WLM, despite the additional expense.

I use OO in Linux, and used to use it in *Windows* (because of Office 2007's issues with PDF export, which 2010, especially x64, solved rather nicely, thank you very much); however, having to rely on a third-party application for mail bites, even as a home user.

Hmm, I'm no fan of Apple (short of owning a couple iPods), but when they released commercials pointing out flaws in Windows a lot of people on here flocked to crucify them.

Now, MS releases a video of "shortcomings" of OpenOffice and it's quieter than a mouse in church. Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?

ozzy76 said,
Hmm, I'm no fan of Apple (short of owning a couple iPods), but when they released commercials pointing out flaws in Windows a lot of people on here flocked to crucify them.

Now, MS releases a video of "shortcomings" of OpenOffice and it's quieter than a mouse in church. Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?

Because Apple advertises a load of bullcrap. What Microsoft is showing here is actually true.

ozzy76 said,
Hmm, I'm no fan of Apple (short of owning a couple iPods), but when they released commercials pointing out flaws in Windows a lot of people on here flocked to crucify them.

Now, MS releases a video of "shortcomings" of OpenOffice and it's quieter than a mouse in church. Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?


Because OpenOffice is short on fanboys. I mean, I use it, I like it, but I wouldn't say it's better or the best, because it's not.

ozzy76 said,
Hmm, I'm no fan of Apple (short of owning a couple iPods), but when they released commercials pointing out flaws in Windows a lot of people on here flocked to crucify them.

Now, MS releases a video of "shortcomings" of OpenOffice and it's quieter than a mouse in church. Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?

Most of Apple's Ads were based on outright lies, such as that Mac cannot get viruses. This video provides factual information and stories that have come directly from OO.org users.

ozzy76 said,
Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?

Cuz Microsoft make valid and true points... (Reffering to this ad specificly)

Apple do not.. (Regarding Mac's dont get virus's etc)

GayWolf said,
Cuz MS fanbois love to read this type of FUD?

"blatant - without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious; "blatant disregard of the law"; "a blatant appeal to vanity"; "a blazing indiscretion" - princeton.edu

ozzy76 said,
Hmm, I'm no fan of Apple (short of owning a couple iPods), but when they released commercials pointing out flaws in Windows a lot of people on here flocked to crucify them.

Now, MS releases a video of "shortcomings" of OpenOffice and it's quieter than a mouse in church. Can anyone explain why it was wrong of Apple to bash competition but MS now gets a free pass?

Because the only valid point Apple attacked was UAC in Vista. The rest of Apple's claims attacked Windows XP as if it were Windows 9x.

I tried OO and chose Office because I could get it for free. OO is not bad for someone that has a budget and needs an Office suite. I hate the negative ads, though.

are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS

zeta_immersion said,
are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS

+1.
They are using the same tactics for Android, with "free" costs more. LOL at desperate MS, they really need people's money at any cost, and don't mind to blatantly tell lies to get it. Greedy little MS trolls.

zeta_immersion said,
are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS
That's nice for you. But this is about businesses... There is a LOT (did I mention a LOT?) of stuff OpenOffice still cannot do that Office can.

Why should people have to lower their expectations? If OpenOffice is going to say it is as good as Microsoft Office, then it needs to be as good as Microsoft Office. See how that's supposed to work?

That's not exactly true I just entered a license key because Office was on my computer already, and Office downloaded and installed the rest, asking me nothing else. But of course, it was on my PC already, hehe.

This is from a buisness/institution perspective. If that was not immediately, obviously clear. Issues like these arise all the time.

GayWolf said,

+1.
They are using the same tactics for Android, with "free" costs more. LOL at desperate MS, they really need people's money at any cost, and don't mind to blatantly tell lies to get it. Greedy little MS trolls.

Android is expensive for companies like HTC, they need to pay Microsoft and soon Oracle for a "free" OS...also they need to update the OS themselves and they need to give support for the users...if you use MS software, anything is included.

The same thing happens with OOo in companies. Also at home OOo (if you talk about text editing and presentations) can not give you the same level to perfection and quality.

GayWolf said,

+1.
They are using the same tactics for Android, with "free" costs more. LOL at desperate MS, they really need people's money at any cost, and don't mind to blatantly tell lies to get it. Greedy little MS trolls.

Android is expensive for companies like HTC, they need to pay Microsoft and soon Oracle for a "free" OS...also they need to update the OS themselves and they need to give support for the users...if you use MS software, anything is included.

The same thing happens with OOo in companies. Also at home OOo (if you talk about text editing and presentations) can not give you the same level to perfection and quality.

bluefisch200 said,

Android is expensive for companies like HTC, they need to pay Microsoft and soon Oracle for a "free" OS...also they need to update the OS themselves and they need to give support for the users...if you use MS software, anything is included.

The same thing happens with OOo in companies. Also at home OOo (if you talk about text editing and presentations) can not give you the same level to perfection and quality.

What are you talking about? HTC makes sense for windows mobile too, how is android not cheaper for them?

zeta_immersion said,
are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS
I've had clients try out Open Office before and I'd have to agree with nearly everyone else here and state it just doesn't work the same. I had one client that tried to do OO installs for the interns and people doing low level work and even THEY had trouble too! These were people who simply had to open and print a document. The alignment was off, text looked different, etc. Installed Office '07 on the same machines and everything was perfect. We tried different print drivers, different fonts, permissions, etc. OO just didn't cut it.

I agree, but if soft companies would support standards this would not be an issue. You cannot blame OO for what MS got people hooked and is closed source.

Again, if people are in business and are doing high end stuff, then Office is for them, but it does not mean under any circumstances OO does not/cannot do it. It is free none the less and if some egghead takes the time and gets payed to write all the Office "options" for OO then OO would be fantastic and free with unicorn floating on your screen.

zeta_immersion said,
I agree, but if soft companies would support standards this would not be an issue. You cannot blame OO for what MS got people hooked and is closed source.

Office's OpenXML *is* a standard. If OOo claims they can do what Office can do, then they must support it perfectly.

bluefisch200 said,

Android is expensive for companies like HTC, they need to pay Microsoft and soon Oracle for a "free" OS...also they need to update the OS themselves and they need to give support for the users...if you use MS software, anything is included.

WP7...there is no need for sense on WP7, but i don't talk about Sense, i talk about driver development and compiling and OTA-update servers...
The same thing happens with OOo in companies. Also at home OOo (if you talk about text editing and presentations) can not give you the same level to perfection and quality.

zeta_immersion said,
are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS

Indeed, I've had more problems with random new lines appearing after numbering between .doc and .docx formats than anything else.

However, it can always be argued that you get what you pay for in this case.

zeta_immersion said,
I agree, but if soft companies would support standards this would not be an issue. You cannot blame OO for what MS got people hooked and is closed source.

Again, if people are in business and are doing high end stuff, then Office is for them, but it does not mean under any circumstances OO does not/cannot do it. It is free none the less and if some egghead takes the time and gets payed to write all the Office "options" for OO then OO would be fantastic and free with unicorn floating on your screen.

If someone would get paid to develop OO.o, probably the one that pays will charge for the software.

zeta_immersion said,
are you kidding me ... I never had a problem with Oo, even opening Office documents.
I can see the macros problem but then again, people need to be open minded about their small minded Office suite. More so, I fail to see what Oo cannot do from a student's perspective, install is as easy as Office in windows .... this is a load of BS

you are not a business

Mr aldo said,
Well, it isn't like Microsoft is lying.

Right you are... We upgraded a clients systems to 2008 and started them on OpenOffice to avoid the $10k worth of office licencing...

2 Months down the track we got a signed order for Office 2010. Depending on the use of the application... It can be more costly than office...

It's probably the first time I see something from MS about OpenSource that is almost 100% true.

OpenOffice may be free, but the total cost of support is higher than with MS Office. Simple as that.

Was it just me or did all those voices sound like they were computer generated. It might be to cover up real peoples voices or just me but just sounded that way to me. I still agree with them though.

dogmai79 said,
Was it just me or did all those voices sound like they were computer generated. It might be to cover up real peoples voices or just me but just sounded that way to me. I still agree with them though.

Erm, they are written testimonies read out by other people / voice actors

I can believe it; I tried OpenOffice and have to say that it just isn't the quality of product that Microsoft Office is. In a work environment, MS Office is the way to go.

devHead said,
have to say that it just isn't the quality of product that Microsoft Office is.

OpenOffice is free. And most of the time it does the job.

Captain555 said,

OpenOffice is free. And most of the time it does the job.


yea so does notepad... but if you want any kind of quality MS Office is basically your only option, and of course iWork in a mac environment

Well, these are all valid points from a buisness' perspective - not so much from a home user's perspective but then I take it this video isn't aimed at them anyway.

Also... "sized control" (sp)?