Re: As long as it is done right...but will it?
We're getting off topic here, but the trouble with Microsoft Office is that it has had such a stranglehold on the industry that even the alternatives -- like Open Office -- just ape it, faults an' all. Microsoft Word has effectively prevented any innovation or improvement for two to three decades. I want a word processor that lets me indicate the function of a section, e.g. chapter, section, sub-section, footnote, figure (picture + caption) etc. and apply a style to it, which includes not only the paragraph style but also the layout of the section. For example, a chapter would have a paragraph style for the heading and a style for the body, plus attributes that show whether the heading is above the body, at the left of it, separated by a rule, centred over a multi-column body or part of the first column...
Instead we get Word's terrible decision, taken when styles were first introduced (Word 2?) to kludge them to act as a proxy for structure, so we choose a style 'chapter heading' and apply an outline level to it, which is totally the wrong way round. We should tell Word what the structure is and styles would be applied from that. And this mess was just copied by OpenOffice despite their using an XML format that would have lent itself to proper structured documents very easily.
PedroGonzales says he goes back to Office because OO lacks features. I find that 50% of the time if I start a long document in Word I get frustrated with it and continue in LibreOffice, or if I start in LibreOffice I switch to Word. The usual cause is an inability by one program or the other to format as I want or makes doing that too long-winded. It may be LibreOffice's not including tabs in paragraph styles, so that applying a style doesn't have the desired effect without manually changing tab stops in every paragraph, or the mess Word makes of material pasted in from a web page, or ... well, you get the picture. I have tried using Lyx but the learning curve is steep. Seems to me that Microsoft has neglected the basics because it got the revenue anyway. Here, competition just isn't working.
The question is (coming back to the article's topic): is the competition in OSs sufficient to keep Microsoft on its toes? Would switching to a subscription model insulate it from the need to keep improving? Hard to say. Most users don't upgrade unless they buy a new computer anyway (and people now use computers till they drop rather than upgrading every two or three years). The big Windows 8 experiment was a response to changing hardware as much as it was the threat from Android, Apple and Linux. Microsoft keeps getting criticised for the radical departure of Windows 8, but compare it with Ubuntu, for example. It also needed to respond to tablets, mobile and touch screens and its Dash was also controversial, but it is only by experimenting that we can find the best way forward. The OS we need to learn from is XP. Microsoft ended up servicing it with patches and security updates for up to 13 years from a single purchase payment, and still people don't want to upgrade. How can that business model be sustainable? Only a rapidly expanding market can support it, with new sales subsidising existing owners. But this pyramid model is on the way out as the PC market has flattened out. Business software includes an annual maintenance fee -- but as other people on this forum show, selling that to domestic users is a tough one.