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All productivity suites are not named Microsoft Office. Many of these alternative programs do things Microsoft Office can’t, and some have been around longer. All cost less than Redmond’s offering, especially multiple options that are free, thanks to the open source movement.
What these other solutions lack is market share. Microsoft Office controlled 92 percent of the market in 2014, according to Gartner Inc. analyst Hai Hong Swinehart. Alternative office suites compete on price or add features Microsoft Office lacks, such as mobility support.
Google Apps (formerly Google Docs) may be the most popular alternative due to its price and features. It’s completely cloud based; has a lower cost per user, per month, than Office 365; includes mobile support; and has better collaboration support. “Google says they want to cover 80 to 90 percent of what Microsoft Office does,” says TJ Keitt, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. Since 80 percent of Office users barely utilize 20 percent of Office features, Google may have the right idea.
Be sure to test alternative suites carefully, cautions Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Michael Silver. “People don’t look for better than Microsoft Office, they look for cheaper. Almost every product has some level of infidelity,” when compared to Office. Plus many organizations won’t support a second office suite just to lower their software spend.
We’ve investigated some of the more popular solutions in the market for you to check out.
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