Would Microsoft really bring Office to Linux?

Is an expanded base of Office users worth sacrificing yet another reason to stick with Windows?

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Open Source, Linux, Microsoft

There's been a rumor floating around over the past few days that Microsoft is considering making a Linux version of its Office productivity software.

It's definitely no more than a rumor at this point, originating as it apparently did in the report of a single writer based on hearsay at the Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels last weekend.

"I was informed that Microsoft is having a 'meaningful look' at a full Linux port of Office thanks to Linux showing signs of commercial viability on the desktop," wrote Michael Larabel in a Tuesday post on Phoronix, a Linux-focused news site, citing an unnamed source.

'Rumors or speculation'

The rumor immediately took off from there, and now it's all over the Web. Could it be true?

Well, I've reached out to Microsoft, but--not surprisingly--all I got was this in an email:

"Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation." -- Microsoft Spokesperson

That's pretty much what I expected. Now that I've got it, however, let's just say I'm going to need some convincing that this rumor might really reflect reality.

Feeling the pinch?

Now, there's no denying that Linux is increasingly being viewed as commercially viable.

Perhaps most notably, Valve is now beta-testing a native Steam client for Linux, causing no end of excitement for Linux gamers everywhere and apparently inspiring similar moves by other game makers. Last year was a very big year for Linux in that respect, and some are even suggesting that Linux could be the next big gaming platform.

That's an "ouch" for Microsoft's already uncertain gaming position.

Then, too, there has been the growing number of hardware vendors coming out with PCs that offer Linux preloaded--not to mention the ever-expanding Chromebook phenomenon.

Not at all good for Windows.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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