Microsoft Office for Linux 'inevitable'

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Microsoft Office for Linux 'inevitable'

OSDL expects low cost Linux Office version to keep Open Office at bay.

Microsoft within the "next couple of years" will release a version of its Office productivity to run on Linux, Stuart Cohen, chief executive for the Open Source Development Labs, predicted in an interview with at the Linuxworld conference in San Francicso.

"They did it once with Apple, they will do it again with Linux," Cohen said

The OSDL consortium aims to advance Linux and open source. The organisation employs Linux founder Linus Torvalds and is funded by IT vendors including IBM, HP and Intel.

The software developer will be compelled to create a Linux version in a move to preempt the further rise of the open source Open Office productivity suite, Cohen argued.

"They'll go fight the total cost of ownership with a very inexpensive office solution. I don't think that they will open source Office, but they will make it available to run on Linux desktops."

Cohen compared the expected Linux Microsoft Office version to the would mimic Oracle's Database 10g Express Edition application that was launched last November. The software offers a free, entry level database in an effort to fight off competition from open source competitors.

The OSDL chief claimed that Microsoft is starting to soften it stance against open source.

"They are trying to cooperate. It's no longer: 'Linux is the cancer, it has no center of gravity.' Microsoft is past that. They have now acknowledged that Linux is here to stay."

The change is attitude is limited to Microsoft as a company, he stressed. Windows and Linux will remain fierce competitors.
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