Home 2 Million Downloads and Counting: Why Such Loyalty for Microsoft Office?

2 Million Downloads and Counting: Why Such Loyalty for Microsoft Office?

In the past seven weeks, more than 2 million people have downloaded the beta for Microsoft Office 2010. That’s a whopping 40,000 downloads per day. It’s a record breaking pace, surpassing the beta release for Microsoft Office 2007.

It begs the question: In the face of so many free options, why are people so loyal to Microsoft Office?

There are a few possible reasons:

Microsoft has a locked in user base. It is an enterprise standard. As the story goes, no one has ever been fired for buying Microsoft.

As one person replied to the question on Aardvark: “A lot of the free options simply aren’t suitable for corporate use. You are basically out of luck if your free-no-guarantees Google Docs spreadsheet disappears. The free products do not have the complex formulas, interconnecting tables and client data that comes with Microsoft Office.”

Another person stated on Aardvark: “That is because it is the most accepted office package. Try doing business without the capability. I had to purchase it just to be able to work at home instead of extended office hours. Now I am loading Open Office on all computers I repair and send out. I also think Google is going to do a large bite into Microsoft business.”

How long will the loyalty last?

This is where we wonder about how the events over the past few days may affect the future of Microsoft Office. Google is coming on strong with it’s Nexus One. Couple that with its big push into the enterprise and you have to wonder what Microsoft is going to do to counter Google’s undeniable momentum.

We are still waiting Windows Mobile 7. LG did let it slip at CES yesterday that Windows Mobile 7 will be available later this year. The Microsoft Office Web Apps are in beta with limited usability. The full-featured version will be available in the Spring. It will require a Sharepoint server. The free version will not require Sharepoint.

Enterprise 2.0 applications are a whole other issue. Its user interfaces are web-oriented and mobile-friendly. This new breed of applications will be increasingly enticing to Office customers.

Two million downloads is impressive but loyalty is a fickle thing. The real test is still to come.

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