Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/8525
Back in the day (say, five years ago), tech pundits would posit every other day that to really cut the cord with Microsoft, Apple needed to provide its own alternative to the Office suite. Now, in the Amazing Future, we find that this process has already begun.
People are daring to dream bigger, though. With the advent of OpenOffice.org, often trumpeted as an Office-killer, not to mention the resurgence of Apple as a brand and Mac as a platform, we are beginning to see a new message emerge out here in punditland: maybe it’s not enough to just cut the cord. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to go on the attack.
While I enjoy the imagery of black-turtleneck-wearing commandos, looking like silhouettes in iPod ads, descending on Redmond as liberators, somehow I can’t believe that’s going to happen.
As for the other side of that vision, I don’t think Apple as a company particularly needs OpenOffice.org. They already have re-done versions of two of the big three Office apps: Pages, the word processor, and Keynote, the presentation app. Throw together a spreadsheet and get Mail and iCal updated to modern standards (not to mention doubleplusgood Exchange support), and your office suite is already there. Which isn’t to say that Pages, for example, has all of Word’s capabilities yet. Some might look on that as a good thing. ;) But it’s a start.
But here’s what I think is the real core issue here: Apple as a company might not need OO.o, but Mac as a platform sure does. Like biodiversity in an ecosystem, software diversity in an operating system is both a measure of its health and a much nicer place to live in. It can go way beyond competition being a good thing — cooperation can be a good thing, too, not to mention cohabitation.
And who knows — as Macintosh resurges, a certain company in Redmond might just come knocking on the door in Cupertino again, instead of the other way around.
So what do you think? Should Apple cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war? Or is it enough to keep the diversity coming?