It looks like a lot of people are in agreement that Office Live is no more than an addition to Microsoft Desktop Office (or at least so badly named that average Joe Business Owner wont understand much difference anyway). One question thats popping up all over the show is ‘But we all have to use Microsoft Office anyway so what’s the problem?’. The problem is that we don’t.
Alternative One – for the desktop: Open Office
This is an alternative to using Microsoft Office at all. It provides much the same user experience and is only missing a few bits and pieces. We have been using Open Office for years until recently making part switch to Writely. Open Office now has a really slick marketing campaign that they parade outside Microsoft headquarters:
Alternative 2 – web based: Thinkfree
"Is now avaliable in an online version that virtually mirrors the capabilities of retail software"
Includes free online storage and the promise of more to come. We are looking seriously at Thinkfree now.
Obviously, if you only require bits of the Office suite, and can benefit from web absed applications, we also have:
Alternative 3 – word processing: Writely
The web word processor. We love it!
Alternative 4: gOffice
For letters, presentations, memos and simple reports. "High quality printable PDF output that rivals output from Adobe InDesign. Beautiful letterhead designs – work anywhere – easy to use – faster than local software. Write proposals, letters, homework, reports, memos, cover letters and more…"
Alternative 5 -web based spreadsheets: Num Sum
"Keep your records, lists and spreadsheets in one place online. Easily slice, dice and share with others."
As this seems to be a popular topic, take a look at this extended list of Best of Breed Web Office Products