Would Microsoft actually bring Office to Linux?
Is an expanded base of Office users worth sacrificing yet another reason to stick with Windows?
PC World - There's been a rumor floating around over the past few days that Microsoft is considering making a Linux version of its Office productivity software.
It's definitely no more than a rumor at this point, originating as it apparently did in the report of a single writer based on hearsay at the Free and Open source Software Developers' European MeetingA (FOSDEM) in Brussels last weekend.
"I was informed that Microsoft is having a 'meaningful look' at a full Linux port of Office thanks to Linux showing signs of commercial viability on the desktop," wrote Michael Larabel in a Tuesday post on Phoronix, a Linux-focused news site, citing an unnamed source.
'Rumors or speculation'
The rumor immediately took off from there, and now it's all over the Web. Could it be true?
Well, I've reached out to Microsoft, but -- not surprisingly -- all I got was this in an email:
"Microsoft does not comment on rumors or speculation." -- Microsoft Spokesperson
That's pretty much what I expected. Now that I've got it, however, let's just say I'm going to need some convincing that this rumor might really reflect reality.
Feeling the pinch?
Now, there's no denying that Linux is increasingly being viewed as commercially viable.
Perhaps most notably, Valve is now beta-testing a native Steam client for Linux, causing no end of excitement for Linux gamers everywhere and apparently inspiring similar moves by other game makers. Last year was a very big year for Linux in that respect, and some are even suggesting that Linux could be the next big gaming platform.
That's an "ouch" for Microsoft's already uncertain gaming position.
Not at all good for Windows.
It's true, in short, that Microsoft is probably feeling the pinch of Linux's growing acceptance; if you can't beat 'em, as the old saying goes, you might as well join 'em. After all, Microsoft was recently a LinuxCon sponsor, among other contributions.
(Phoronix's Larabel was also the one who first picked up on Valve's plans, as far as I remember.)
Cost vs. benefit
On the other hand, Microsoft Office has always been a big cash cow for the company, and the new Office 2013 and Office 365 are still hot off the proverbial presses.
It's already the case that some users are questioning whether these new entries are worth the money, particularly in light of all the free and open alternatives out there and widely embraced by Linux users.
Microsoft also doesn't exactly have a history of embracing Linux. A "cancer," in fact, is what Steve Ballmer once called the free and open-source operating system. Even OpenOffice has felt Redmond's anti-open-source wrath.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Linux and Unix White Papers | Webcasts