There’s many software products such as OpenOffice and Star Office that are “free” or very low cost and compete head to head with Microsoft Office and other programs. I’ve tried these open source programs and find that for most tasks they work fine, but the problem often comes when working with what other businesses use – Microsoft Office.
Import and export is not 100% perfect and could cause problems. When working with tables or other more “advanced” features (footers, headers, etc) no one wants to spend time re-formatting a document. Hence – most people use Microsoft Office, not necessarily because we like it, but it’s what others are using.
News Factor writes Open source alternatives only make sense “when workers are doing really simple stuff and don’t actually need all the functionality of a complex software suite, such as Microsoft Office, said Gartner research analyst Mark Driver.
“But all too often a lot of the more complex documents don’t convert, and there are times when 98 percent compatibility is just not good enough — so you have to be careful,” Driver told NewsFactor.