Intel has thrown its weight behind an open source freebie version of Microsoft Office, not that such a move will hurt Microsoft’s cash cow product line much.
But it is an interesting sign of how the two long-time partners are getting along these days, now that Microsoft has promised to deliver a version of Windows 8 on ARM.
Intel will offer a version of LibreOffice for Windows on its Intel AppUp store. That’s an app store that carries safe, validated software for PCs using Intel CPU. Intel has also joined the non-profit foundation that makes LibreOffice, The Document Foundation. That requires a donation of $10,000 to $20,000 and, typically, engineering resources to help work on the software.
With Intel, the Foundation now has a decent roster of big-name supporters including SUSE, Red Hat and Google. It claims 146 paid members and over a thousand volunteers and contributors worldwide.
Intel says that more than 1 million consumers are using its AppUp centre, by the way. That’s a dribble compared to how many consumers own an Intel-based PC. Intel launched AppUp in September, 2010, so that’s 1 million users in about a year and a half.
LibreOffice, which recently launched its 2.5 version, says it has about 25 million users worldwide, with about 10 million of them on Windows or Macs.
LibreOffice was formed in the fall of 2010 by a spat between the engineers of OpenOffice.org, which was owned by Sun Microsystems, and Oracle after the merger.
It is one of the more popular free and open source applications in use by consumers. The Office suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation maker, drawing and formula/calculation apps. It works well, is compatible with Microsoft Office documents and the free price is hard to beat.