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Firms consider alternatives to Office

Arif Mohamed

A fifth of organisations are looking at alternatives to Microsoft's Office suite, although most expect to ­migrate to the recently-released ­Office 2007 in a few years, according to Forrester Research.

In a survey of 118 European and US enterprises, the analyst firm found that "more than a few" commercial and public sector organisations were piloting alternatives Microsoft Office, such as Open­office.org 2.0 and Sun Microsystems' Staroffice 8, in small teams.

Others were experimenting with Google's office productivity services, Google Apps for Your Domain and Google Docs & Spreadsheets, with small, remote, and highly collaborative teams, said Kyle McNabb, principal analyst at Forrester. Firms have also begun to look into using IBM's Workplace Managed Client as an alternative to Microsoft Office.

"Organisations are driven by a desire to find lower-cost alternatives for ad hoc, infrequent Microsoft Office users," said McNabb.

Most of those surveyed used Office 2003, followed by Office XP and Office 2000. Many enterprises had only completed upgrades to Office 2003 within the past 18 months.

However, McNabb pointed out that Office 2007 represented a substantial investment by Microsoft to improve end-user productivity and usability, and that most firms expect to migrate to it within three to five years.

Integration at the heart of Office 2007

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