Open Source Wave Threatens Microsoft Desktop Dominance

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A new wave of freely available Open Source business software is experiencing rapid adoption by business users. With hundreds of thousands of downloads to date, Open Source solutions like NetOffice and SugarSuite are beginning to tread on territory traditionally occupied by Microsoft products such as Project and Outlook.

Much has been made of the potential of Linux to upset Microsoft’s dominance of operating systems. Little attention however has been given to rapidly evolving Open Source software applications which may someday threaten products like Microsoft Office. A new wave of freely available Open Source business applications is already experiencing rapid adoption amongst small and medium sized businesses. Open Source solutions like NetOffice and SugarSuite offer much of the functionality available in Office products like Microsoft Project and Outlook, but with the added benefit of web-based deployments that allow groups or departments to easily share information. Unlike Outlook and Project, NetOffice and SugarSuite store information in centralized databases as opposed to desktop file systems, allowing users to easily share data.

“SugarSuite is really a killer Open Source app that greatly extends the capabilities of applications like Outlook” says Jeff Minich, VP of Business Development at iRadeon.com. “It doesn’t directly compete with Outlook, rather it does a number of things Outlook should do on its own but doesn’t.” “Things like shared calendaring, contact databases, and email archives are essential in team work environments. Unfortunately with Outlook these capabilities aren’t supported without a complicated and expensive deployment of Microsoft Exchange and Windows Server” says Minich.

The Open Source community has helped fill the gap for small businesses with free and easily deployable solutions like SugarSuite. SugarSuite’s contact management capabilities are only the beginning; the application also provides a number of customer relationship management features usually only found in high end enterprise software applications like Microsoft CRM and Seibel CRM. The latest version of Sugar even includes a ‘Projects’ module with scheduling and task management features similar to those found in Microsoft Project. NetOffice, another Open Source application, also offers a number of features found in Microsoft Project with the added benefit of web-based deployment. Unlike the standard version of Microsoft Project which restricts project information to a single desktop, NetOffice users can manage their entire project teams via a shared web portal.

With over 100,000 downloads in less than a year, applications like SugarSuite and NetOffice are fast becoming part of the software mainstream. With Open Source applications, small businesses don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for software license fees. They can deploy the software in minutes on their own servers for free or use a Managed Application Service provider like iRadeon.com to deploy and manage the software through the web. iRadeon.com provides businesses with turnkey deployment of popular Open Source applications for just pennies per day per user, far less than the cost of their commercial alternatives.

“Open Source is fast moving beyond the Operating System and on to traditional desktop user territory via these web-based applications. As more and more people move to browser-based software the need for products like Office, and even Windows, itself becomes marginalized” Minich says. “It’s a fundamental shift in how software gets distributed and it's a shift that, over time, poses a direct threat to Microsoft’s preeminent position in desktop applications.”

About iRadeon

iRadeon is pioneering the delivery of on-demand Open Source business applications. The company was founded in 1999 to help small and medium sized businesses improve their competitive capabilities through the use of web-based technologies. iRadeon is headquartered in Roseville, CA, near Sacramento. For more information please visit http://www.iradeon.com, or call 1-866-247-3211.

Microsoft(TM), Office(TM), Windows(TM), and Exchange(TM), Project(TM), Outlook(TM) are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

SugarSuite(TM) is a registered trademark of SugarCRM

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Jeff Minich
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