Yesterday, I participated in the local JUG’s discussion of the Sun acquisition by Oracle. Somewhat to my surprise, the general opinion was dismissive of OpenOffice’s future at Oracle. I haven’t spent much prior thought on this, but to me, OpenOffice seems to fit much better with Oracle than with Sun, at least on a strategic level. The reasoning is quite simple: OpenOffice can help Oracle’s application business.
On the top floor of Business Software applications, there are no viable open source offerings, there is only SAP and then, somewhere, Oracle. OpenOffice, in contrast, while far from perfect, is a fine contender for office productivity software. The complexity of an office productivity suite is much smaller than that of a serious business application suite. Thus, in many organizations, OpenOffice is a real option. In particular, the public sector comes to mind.
Under Sun, OpenOffice integration with business applications was sorely lacking. If I was running Oracle’s application business, I’d make sure these days are over, and that OpenOffice integrates well with its applications offering. There are many organizations whose feature checklist for business applications includes OpenOffice integration. In a head-to-head competitive sales situation between Oracle and SAP, this will be a box only the Oracle sales rep can check off.