Open-source advocates have been wondering where OpenOffice, Sun Microsystems' office applications suite alternative, was going to land following the acquisition of the company by Oracle. Now there's news on this front.
Oracle renewed its commitment to the product on Dec. 15 when it launched two rebranded professional versions of the package: OpenOffice 3.3 for desktops and laptops, and a hosted version, Oracle Cloud Office 1.0, for mobile devices.
Each of them is available in two editions: Enterprise ($90) and Standard ($50) for on-premises editions. Pricing for cloud deployment in an enterprise is handled on a per-seat basis.
OpenOffice in any form produces both Open Document Format (ODF) and Microsoft Office documents, including word docs, spreadsheets and slide show presentations.
The free version of OpenOffice is still available for download from the open source community at OpenOffice.org and remains so under Oracle's direction as its primary sponsor.
In 2002, Sun relaunched its professional version of StarOffice for a fee, which has evolved into Oracle Open Office. Besides enterprise features such as migration tools and enterprise connectors, it also offers indemnification, easier upgrading, and consistent releases and patches.
New features Oracle has added into OpenOffice 3.3 include enterprise connectors to Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle E-Business Suite, other Oracle Applications and Microsoft Sharepoint, to enable integration into existing enterprise software deployments.
Cloud Office, previewed in September at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, enables Web-based collaboration, mobile phone and tablet document access, on-premise or on-demand deployment plus native integration with Oracle OpenOffice. It also can be resold by telcos and Internet service providers as customized deployments for home and business user bases.
The office app package competes in the marketplace most often with Microsoft Office and on the Web with GoogleDocs.
Pricing is a major differentiator. Microsoft Office 2010 is priced at $150 (home office and student), home office and business ($280) and professional ($500).
Editor's note: This story was updated to add detail on the free version of OpenOffice.