Earlier in the week I declared The Death of the Personal Database on the Mac. A few readers were not quite ready to accept my prognosis for database apps and found a few which still exist, but let’s be honest. When was the last time anyone created a database from scratch? Those apps are dinosaurs.
That said, here’s another dinosaur and it’s about dead, too. Microsoft Office. The Windows maker’s cash cow has run into a wall whereby fewer and fewer people want to pay for what they get free.
Free? Free Office? Yes.
Even Microsoft has been forced to giveaway Office on low end devices and it’s nearly free through subscriptions to Office 365. Why? Nobody wants to pay for a suite of Office-like apps when comparable versions are available for free. Even Apple’s iWork, as close as a Mac can get to a home-grown Office suite, is free on every iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s even free online with an iCloud account.
There’s little question that Microsoft Office is the most feature complete of the many office suites. My favorite free competitor, other than Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, is LibreOffice which almost matches everything Microsoft does but is completely free and runs where Microsoft’s Office does not.
If you or your office or business are stuck in the last century and still paying Microsoft for Office, LibreOffice should be considered. It comes with comparable apps; Writer for Word, Calc for Excel, Impress for PowerPoint, plus Draw and Base to make it a full featured suite of Office-like apps.
Did I mention that LibreOffice is free?
My own view of what Microsoft is doing in the age of mobile devices is a game of Chicken. The company has almost no presence among mobile devices, ceding marketshare to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Most of Microsoft’s mobile apps are free, including Office, and the game of Chicken is about whether Microsoft can gain enough new subscriptions to online services faster than it loses revenue and profits as both Windows and Office decline in the market.
It’s tough to compete against free. Apple does it well against Android, but, as usual, Apple is the exception to the rules.