What we know about Oracle Cloud Office, OpenOffice.org

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Software, OpenOffice.org, Oracle

Vegesna is more specific. "I'm thinking 4-5 years out," he said. "Microsoft took some time [with Office Web], I think it will also be the same with Oracle."

5. What happens to OpenOffice.org?

In the short term, nothing changes. OpenOffice.org 3.0 was released 15 months ago. Downloads from the OpenOffice.org Web site have numbered 123 million copies, with tens of millions more downloaded through mirror and partner sites.

OpenOffice.org 3.2 is due for final release this month. The release schedule, which stretches out to version 3.4.1 due in March 2011, does not mention any cloud versions of OpenOffice.org.

In the long term, Oracle looks like it will maintain the tight grip on OpenOffice.org's development that Sun was heavily criticized for. That includes not spinning off OpenOffice.org into an independent foundation, as some community members called for last year.

Keeping other interested parties — both IBM and Novell have developed their own versions of OpenOffice.org — at arm's length may be a mistake, says Creese. "It would make OpenOffice.org stronger in the long run if others had more of a say in the product's direction."

6. How will OpenOffice.org fare in the enterprise market?

OpenOffice.org has had bipolar adoption: consumers and small-to-medium-size businesses on one end, and large government and educational institutions on the other.

Oracle says it's going to fill in the missing middle. "We're going to focus on enterprise customers. We're going to build integrations between business intelligence and OpenOffice, and our content-management solutions and OpenOffice," Screven said.

That's a strategy, however, that both IBM (Lotus Symphony and Lotus Notes) and Microsoft (Office and SharePoint) are already pursuing. "Oracle is joining the crowd here," Creese said.

Creese said he thinks Oracle could distinguish itself instead by making OpenOffice.org more adept at Web-based collaborative authoring.

7. What happens to StarOffice?

StarOffice was the original app that Sun open-sourced after buying it in 2000. Virtually identical to OpenOffice.org, the main difference is the price — $34.95, which gives users access to customer support.

But free is free, and as a result, OpenOffice.org is far more popular than StarOffice today.

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