Microsoft’s upcoming office suite, Office 2010, has jus hit the nice round number of 2 million downloads, making it a fairly massive testing operation.
The word comes from ReadWriteWeb that the open beta of Microsoft’s upcoming OS has managed to attract so much attention that it’s already broken the record set by Office 2007’s open beta program, but it also poses an interesting question, asking just why Microsoft has been so successful in gaining so large a userbase. While they speculate that a lot of it is to do with people being used to Office, and it effectively having a “locked in user base,” there are some other fairly simple reasons.
The biggest is that, for all the minor headaches, the fact is that Microsoft’s Office offering, in pretty much any flavour since Office 2007, has an excellent feel to it, not to mention a mountain of features that’s been building for a very long time indeed. It might seem simple, but the fact that Office has been around as long as it has makes it a formidable opponent.
Of course, the other big issue is that, regardless of the high standard of quality among free versions, the fact is that free software is a bit of a hard sell for many businesses. If people are using Microsoft Office at work, day in day out, then they’re immeasurably more likely to go with Office for home use, if only because it’s what they’re used to. There’s a fair bit of learning in moving from one office suite to another, and people, as a rule, are resistant to change.
Of course, that’s not to say that OpenOffice.org and Google Docs are entirely without their individual charms and uses. The fact is that both OpenOffice and Google Docs offer solid packages (and “free” is a hard price point to argue with), but for many, Microsoft Office is the default choice.
That certainly helps to explain the 2 million people who were interested in getting an early look at Office 2010 for free…