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Microsoft Office for Linux?

"Baby Bills". This is likely to happen some time, but we yet don't know

when. At the time this column was written, this hadn't happened, so this

issue may be slightly out of date when you read this, though, somehow, I

don't think it might happen in a hurry. The reason being Microsoft will

try extremely hard to not allow this to happen and this will definitely

delay the issue.

But, when it does, the Applications Software Division will be working

independently, as a separate company. It will support not only Windows,

but also all the other popular platforms, which hold revenue potential for

them. Remember, then it would also be competing with the Operating System

Division of Microsoft and other Office suites to survive on its own. If

that happens, Office for Linux will surely see the light of day.

Now, the other side of the coin! If MS Office is not released for Linux,

other Office suites will gain in popularity. Among the top four Office

suites, two are already available for Linux - Corel Office and Star

Office. There are others, too, like Applixware. These suites are not only

very good but are getting better by the day. They offer enough features to

fill the appetite of most users. In fact, some of those features are not

even there in MS Office. If they continue on their popularity uptrend, we

might never need MS Office for Linux at all!

And, even if Microsoft then decides to release its Office suite for Linux,

it will have a great deal of catching up to do in terms of market-share.

That's because, unlike Windows - where they have a lock over the operating

system and they have a monopoly - Linux is a fair playground!

Prakash Advani is the Founder and CEO of FreeOS.com. He can be contacted

at prakash@freeos.com