September 6

Call me crazy, but I think it’s ridiculous that Microsoft charges $499.99 for its Office Professional 2010; that’s more than what I paid for the laptop that I’m using to write this post.

If you’re content with all of the features of your current version of Microsoft Office, but would like to open and edit those new .DOCX (for Word), .PPTX (for PowerPoint), and .XLSX (for Excel), just download the 100% free “compatibility pack” from Microsoft.  Here’s the link:  The installation will take you less than a minute.

And if you’re totally fed up with Microsoft, just download and use Oracle’s 100% free OpenOffice suite.  As described at  “ 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.”

As mentioned above, OpenOffice lets you read and edit Microsoft Office files (like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel).  So you can remain fully compatible with Microsoft files you’ve previously created, or files you share with clients and colleagues.

To give OpenOffice a whirl, just visit

Perhaps a little competition will nudge Microsoft towards more reasonable pricing for its products.  I’m all for it.