One in four large firms wants to replace Microsoft Office

27 Jan 2010

One in four firms with more than 1,000 employees are seeking to replace Microsoft Office with alternative, free software. Meanwhile, Adobe faces an even bigger threat to its market condition with 40pc of CIOs looking to replace it with free stuff.

Research commissioned by Global Graphics, a developer of e-document and printing software, found that around half of large organisations will begin using free software across the organisation in 2010.

The trend is partly driven by shrinking IT budgets; with two-thirds of IT chiefs saying their budget is the same – or less – than in 2009.

The findings are based on interviews with 400 chief information officers (CIOs) from organisations with more than 1,000 employees across the US (300 CIOs) and the UK (100 CIOs).

The move means that office workers could be seeing some of their favourite applications on their work PC, such as MSN for instant messaging, Skype and even Facebook.

“Free software is a critical part of large organisations’ IT strategies,” says Gary Fry, chief executive of Global Graphics.

“Large organisations are perfectly prepared to use free software where possible, and upgrade to a full paid-for version of the product where it makes sense for them.”

It is not just the cost of buying software that is putting firms off Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat.

“Organisations invest millions on training their employees how to use business software.

“Yet employees are using Facebook, Myspace, iPhones and digitalising their music without any training at all.

“By making business software as easy to use as consumer technology, employees are more efficient and less frustrated while companies benefit from lower training costs and higher productivity,” argues Fry.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years