Just this morning I read an article online which listed Five Products Apple Should Stop Making. Two of the products are Apple’s Pages word processor and Numbers spreadsheet.
Obviously, the writer is an uninformed idiot because he thinks the only word processing or document creation on the Mac is accomplished by Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Do you know anyone who owns a Mac and uses Google Docs? And Mac users are leaving Microsoft Office in droves as the fear of compatibility wears off.
The article failed to point out that Apple’s strategy of having iWork apps for iPad, iPhone, and Mac seems pretty solid, otherwise the company remains dependent upon Microsoft (never a good thing).
Still, if you want to ditch Office for Mac, and don’t want to pony up the few dollars it costs for the iWork suite, there are alternatives that are perfect for a home setup or an office mixed with Windows PCs and Macs.
Enter OpenOffice. It’s a free, cross platform suite of apps that look and work remarkably similar to Microsoft Office.
For example, Writer is the open source equivalent of Microsoft Word. Calc is like Excel, but free. Impress is similar to PowerPoint. Draw is a drawing app. Base is a database app. And Math lets you create mathematical equations from a graphic interface.
Does that sound like Microsoft Office?
OpenOffice goes back to the early days of Microsoft Office as an open source package of apps that could run on all major platforms and help reduce the need to pay the Windows maker even more money for basic apps.
Does this look familiar?
The thing to understand about Microsoft Office is that even Office is not fully compatible with all recent versions of the Office apps.
Once you realize that basic document creation and management can be handled easily for free, Mac or Windows, then the idea of an ongoing, well supported, mature and stable suite of apps to replace Office rings a bell.
Free, comprehensive, stable, regularly updated by the open source community. What’s not to like?