Even before Microsoft chief Bill Gates took the stage to roll out Office System 2003, his competitors were taking shots at the product while promoting their own wares.
NEW YORKEven before Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates took the stage here to announce the Tuesday morning, his competitors were casting doubt on, and criticizing, the product while promoting the virtues of their own offerings.
Sunir Kapoor, the vice president for Redmond Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp.s Collaboration Suite, said desktop productivity tools should not drive a companys enterprise information architecture and collaboration strategy.
Kapoor added that while Microsoft Office System is a collection of products and services that require separate purchases and run on different servers and systems, Oracle Collaboration Suite provides an integrated suite of products that run on a single infrastructure, each with its own data stores and administration tools.
While Microsoft plans to eventually move Exchange to a database-driven architecture, the company is several years behind the Oracle Collaboration Suite and, in the meantime, Exchange customers will continue to invest dollars to adapt to Microsofts ever-changing platform, Kapoor said.
"Microsoft has strong feature and functionality capabilities on the desktop, but an extremely fragmented approach to servers that are needed to support collaboration across the enterprise.
"Consolidation of servers, data and multiple applications improves security, reduces total cost of ownership and increases user productivity. At that end of the day, new features on the desktop will mean nothing if the information is unavailable or at risk," Kapoor said.
Peder Ulander, a director in Sun Microsystems Inc.s desktop solutions group, in Santa Clara, Calif., agreed, saying that "the seemingly constant alert-patch-cleanup cycle that Microsoft Windows and Office customers go through reduces user productivity and increases IT support costs through wasted time. The damage done to information assets further reduces ROI by increasing business risk," he said.
Suns StarOffice desktop productivity suite provides a greater return on investment that does Office 2003, he maintained. Its lower licensing costs "more than pay" for the cost of migration, he said, adding that StarOffice looks and feels a lot like Microsoft Office, with a rich graphical user interface, intuitive menuing structure and integrated applications.
See a review of Suns StarOffice 7
"For the vast majority of StarOffice users, productivity levels are indistinguishable from Microsoft Office," he said.
StarOffice also includes industry-standard XML support, while Office 2003 has a proprietary XML schema. As such, Sun customer investments in hardware and application software are protected and customers are not locked in to a single vendors ability to execute and reliably innovate, he said.
And, lastly, because StarOffice is priced per employee, customers save the time and expense of software audits to assess IT liability, he said. Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.
He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.
He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.
He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.
He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.
He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.
His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.
For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.