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Web apps have the right price — Free

June 16, 2010 - Art Smith

Microsoft updated their popular Office suite of software recently. The popular set of programs includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and One Note. The new software began selling yesterday.

The big package carries with it a fairly large price tag with the cost ranging from $79 to $399 depending on if you are a student or a business. It is estimated that there are a billion computers running Office worldwide.

For years the package has been the industry standard  to produce documents need for daily work in offices in the United States and else where. It has made Microsoft billions of dollars. Increasingly it is getting competition from the web in the form of free and sometimes very mobile documents.

Many businesses have started using a set of program produced by OpenOffice.org. The open office set of programs will do, in most cases, exactly the same thing that Microsoft programs will do, and it will do it for free. Six companies and more than 450,000 people from around the world have collaborated on the project. The six programs that make up the OpenOffice.org package has been downloaded more than 100 million times, runs on 6 different computer platforms and is available in 80 languages. The programs are completely free and can be used by anyone, without restrictions, for any purpose.

Another free option is Google docs. Google docs. Google docs are Web based, which means you can work on them from any computer that you can get web access from. Very convenient if you work on multiple computers, the set of applications available are very similar to both the OpenOffice.org and Office applications. In addition to being free and mobile, Google docs have the added advantage of making it very easy, by sharing, for the same document to be worked on by many individuals. It is estimated that 20 million people use Google docs.

Both the free options allow a user to both open and save a file in the Microsoft Office formats.

Even Microsoft is getting into the “free” act. With the launch of Office 2010, there is also a free web version.

Free software, lower cost computers, and more options to connect to the web has allowed more and more people take of advantage of the productivity that is available by using these very powerful programs.

 
 

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