If rumors to believe, Microsoft Office will have its own native application for Linux operating systems. The talk of Microsoft bringing its flagship office product to Linux came out from last week’s Free Open-Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM). As the rumors suggest this could happen as early as 2014.
Is MS Office needed for Linux?
MS Office has been away from Linux for good many years. It has forced users to look for other alternatives to Microsoft office in Linux. But ask any new Linux user (not the religious Linux followers) who has ever used MS Office, he is seldom satisfied with the other office products available in Linux world. The truth, which might hurt many Linux lovers, is that till date no office product has been as good as MS Office. The newly released LibreOffice 4.0 claims to be the best contender of MS Office, but it is too soon to validate its claim.
Does this rumor has substance?
Well, yes. It does seem so. Desktop Linux has user base has grown significantly in past few years. It is not the geek’s den anymore. More and more average users are opting to Linux now. Interoperability of MS Office with other Linux office products has always been a concern for many. Even if Linux office products open the .doc or .docx files etc, the formatting is never the same. MS Office now has a market in Linux and Microsoft would surely try to explore it.
The rumor got more support from the fact that Microsoft has planned mobile version of MS Office for Android and iOS. Microsoft also crafted a special version for ARM powered Windows 8 users. It all suggests that Microsoft is expanding its presence in all the platforms. Also, Android is built on Linux kernel. If Microsoft is bringing it to Android, it could also be working on its Linux version.
Will it be free like many Linux applications?