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I've given NeoOffice, the Mac port of, a workout, editing and annotating word-processing documents, printing them out, and sharing the files. It's got me wondering: Why do otherwise sane people pay for Microsoft Office? --Mitch Wagner

The tricky part is when you need to have perfectly interoperable files. My wife uses Microsoft Word for work that she does at home and needs to be able to port correctly. However, on our other machines, I use OpenOffice because it works, it's free, and it opens Microsoft documents pretty well. --Jotham

Microsoft Office, $300. OpenOffice, $0. Knowing that you can save $300 just by going open source and getting the same result? Priceless. --A Micron Employee from Manassas, Va.

I'm very interested in using OpenOffice, but every time I've tried to use it, I've found it more than $300 problematic. (It should be noted, though, that for those of us with multiple computers at home, the price can go much higher.)

1. I have to use Microsoft Office at work. I also share and collaborate on projects with people who use Office. While compatibility is pretty good, it isn't perfect.

2. Annotation is a critical part of collaborative work, and it's very problematic with OpenOffice.

3. PowerPoint translates particularly poorly.

4. OpenOffice doesn't work with Endnote. I haven't found another bibliographic approach for working with OpenOffice. I'd love to hear some suggestions. --Kurt

Why use Microsoft Office if all you need is the modern equivalent of a typewriter/filing system/pocket calculator? But if you're using PowerPoint and Excel and you're sharing files with people using Microsoft Office, forget free. The cost in time and frustration is just too great. --Fredd


So Nicholas Negroponte accuses Intel and others of pricing him out of some contracts that would have otherwise gone to his One Laptop Per Child plan. Shocked? You shouldn't be. This is a highly competitive market, after all. --Michael Singer

Negroponte probably wonders why Intel wasn't there sooner. It has a stranglehold on the market for ultracheap processors--why not market them to poor kids in distant lands? --Eli

The marketplace will figure out the best product. However, Intel's arrogant and insincere approach to the whole situation reminds me of Microsoft's fishy approach in the '90s. Intel is stealing the thunder from OLPC, which by itself is a crime for the mere reason that OLPC is a nonprofit organization.

The field isn't level! I don't think it's fair for the world to share the sharp elbow of these soulless corporate executives. --Mike

The problem here is that Intel (and any other for-profit Johnny come lately) doesn't respect the first mover that OLPC clearly is in developing this concept. No one was interested back when Negroponte needed help to get this off the ground, so he rolled his sleeves up and DIY'd it. Now that it's picking up steam, surprise! Everyone and their brother thinks they were there first and know what's best for this project.

Come on, folks--this carries the practice of being disingenuous to its loftiest heights. If Intel truly wants to join in and help the kids, then perhaps it should consider offering to work alongside Negroponte and be proud to be supportive and follow his lead on this wonderfully inspiring project. Think of this one point: With just Intel (and there will be others) as a competitor instead of a collaborator, each government must not only decide if it will participate in this program, but whom it will do business with. And the layers of red tape and confusion will only increase from there.

Please, folks, don't buy into this transparent attempt to spin the story toward Intel. Because it's all about FUD--fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And if Intel is allowed to wrest control away and turn this into a FUD issue about competition and sour grapes, it will only be a matter of time until the laptop prices will rise, new obstacles will materialize and jeopardize the project's viability, and, once again, the losers will be the underprivileged children. --James Acuña

Intel just didn't jump into this market after Negroponte. It developed its machines at the same time. The 60 Minutes story made it seem like all these other companies just happened to forget about a $10 billion market, but when they saw Negroponte doing it, they wanted a piece of the pie.

The fact is, the Intel machine is of much higher quality than Negroponte's, and that's why countries are buying it. No one wants a $175 piece of junk. I'm all for competition, and if Negroponte's real goal is having these kids get laptops (and not getting his name in the history books), then he should be, too. --Jim

It always comes down to money. Whoever can provide these laptops for the most affordable price will most likely be the winner here. --thefirstone

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