In the past few years, I have used AppleWorks, Keynote, Open Office, Neo Office, Google Docs, and yes, Microsoft Office for my document, spreadsheet, and presentation needs. I have not been too happy with any of the options – but yesterday things changed. I downloaded the new version of Open Office (v.2.3) and I tried Google’s presentation software within their free web based office software called “Google Docs” and no longer do I miss Microsoft Office at all. I do not get stuck with weird MS Office bugs and I do not have to spend my money on their licenses. I get the ability to do online collaboration, and to use open source software without worrying if this will be “the” last version Microsoft puts out for us Mac users. The fear is gone – and innovation is everywhere. I would be worried too if I was MS.
Over the last year or so, it has very interesting to see how technology has shifted. It is extremely rare (less than 1 client per year) that wants any sort of static web site. On the office front, over the past few months, clients have been coming to me with their Google documents and spreadsheets, sharing them for collaboration instead of passing Microsoft Office documents back and forth. They want to use Base Camp for project management and are keeping more and more of their assets accessible online. They are also contacting me after they have made the decision to move to a content management system (not before) – and they know exactly what they want.
It is quite exciting to me to see users empowered by the software they use instead of what I was used to: seeing users who continue to suffer and fall behind because of the software they used. I look forward to seeing where Google goes with their office software and when people are going to start realizing that open source software is leading the way in innovation – not the big software companies (for the most part) that charge big bucks for their software. Once the users are empowered, look out!