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MS Office, (especially Excel and Word) is some of the best software ever developed. Excel is a fantastically powerful and flexible system and honestly, beyond basic spreadsheet/word processor use, nothing comes close to MS Office.

I was kind of hoping that OpenOffice use in Germany would be a success but really can not see how it can compete with MS Office, except on sticker price.

No, it's the most genius software product ever because it is like a drug -- it attracts newcomers with a seemingful ease, then sucks all their life juices into managing larger documents, finally lefts them with a load of experience, skills and already made docs that only work in Office and cannot be possibly replicated (Office formats and algorithms are build purely of quirks and leaking heuristics).

MS Office is fantastic software. It is very full featured.

Most people don't need nearly all of those features. Most people would be okay using Abiword. The people who need more than Abiword could be using LibreOffice.

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are very good packages, but they do still need a bit of work. I hope that they don't focus on duplicating MS Office functionality but on bug fixing and 'feel'. This will make LibreOffice "good enough" and then "better" than MS Office for most users. The esoteric stuff that MS Office does can be left to MS Office, or to other open source projects, or to LibreOffice plug-ins.

Another thing that Microsoft has is the MVP scheme. The MVPs are variable quality, but the MS Office MVPs, especially the Excel MVPs have been excellent in promoting Office and providing help and support about how to get the best out of it.

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