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Microsoft Office for Linux?

Ever since Linux has been gaining in popularity, there've been several

occasions when the issue has surfaced: is Microsoft planning an Office

version for the Linux platform?

The media has been talking a lot about the possibility at every

opportunity that they've got. A few months ago, this issue was widely

discussed when a senior executive of a Linux distribution company said

Microsoft was working on it. The topic drew media hype, while many

believed it was just another rumor. Rather than idly speculate on the

possibility, we'll look at both sides of the coin.

If Microsoft really decides to come out with Office for Linux, it will be

the best thing to happen to Linux since the Operating System has been in

existence. It isn't that there aren't other office suites for Linux. Or

that I'm a Microsoft fan! It's more of a perception issue that users have

which needs to be tackled.

Many people interested in trying out Linux often want to know if their

favorite application runs on Linux. The most popular applications are Word

and Excel, since they've become the de facto Office suites under Windows.

People are more interested in knowing if these would run under Linux. They

often ask, "Does Microsoft Office run on Linux?" Most Windows users don't

really go around fiddling with the operating system, but use it only to

run the application. They aren't as interested in learning, or using, the

underlying OS. They're happy as long as their favorite application runs!

If Microsoft Office does run on Linux, it would probably compel these

users to switch to Linux.

Does Microsoft have enough reasons to support an alternative platform?

Since the time Microsoft released Office for the Macintosh, it has now

become the de facto Office suite on the Mac platform. It also generates a

great deal of revenue for Microsoft. It makes good sense for them to

support Linux also because Linux is the fastest-growing OS and is already

making inroads into the desktop segment.

But, right now, Microsoft may even be a little worried about Linux, since

it threatens their core OS business. That's probably why they're playing

a wait-and-watch game.

Ever since Microsoft has been declared a monopoly, there've been strident

demands to separate the Applications Software Division from the Operating

System Division and spin them off as separate companies.

Or, if things get worse for Microsoft, they would be split into several