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Now you can buy OpenOffice.org in CompUSA

By Joe Barr on October 12, 2004 (8:00:00 AM)

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Flexiety Software Company has begun selling OpenOffice.org for Windows in 25 CompUSA stores in three major markets: Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Texas. The $49.95 package includes one year of free quarterly updates and one year of online tech support. It is also being sold through Tiger Direct online.

Customers in those 25 stores -- sales will be expanded to all CompUSA stores by 2006 -- buy the product from ATM-like vending machines from SoftwareToGo. Once they make the selection, they take a printed receipt to a clerk at the store, and within four minutes they have a freshly burned CD or DVD containing their purchase.

NewsForge spoke to Anthony Long at Flexiety this morning to learn more about the package. Long told us that Flexiety has been selling OpenOffice.org since 2002, but not on this scale.

When asked why the company chose to challenge a Microsoft monopoly with a new offering, Long replied:

We don't see ourselves as going up against Microsoft Office, per se. What we see ourselves trying to go after is the consumer that wouldn't normally buy Microsoft Office. These are the customers who get an application like Microsoft Works on their machine and they need something more powerful, but they don't want to spend $200 to $400 dollars for a software program like that, and they really can't afford to.

So this is for your small office or home user. OpenOffice.org is better and more powerful than Microsoft Works, but not as, it's almost as highly functional as Microsoft Office. It's right in that middle ground for that consumer who wants the features and functionality of Microsoft Office but doesn't want to shell out a hundred, two hundred, three hundred dollars for it.

The online support included in the price will be provided by email and will come from Flexiety's own staff, at least at first. Long said they might farm out some of the support work if sales justify it.

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on Now you can buy OpenOffice.org in CompUSA

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But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2004 10:37 PM
Oh never mind.

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Re:But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: Edward Macnaghten on October 13, 2004 02:24 AM
Conveniance and support

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Re:But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 02:32 AM
Because they don't know any better. Ignorance costs.

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Re:But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 04:46 AM
Or because they don't have a broadband connection, or because they aren't geeks who have heard of OOo.

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Re:But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: Preston St. Pierre on October 13, 2004 09:49 PM
"Its because they don't know about it."

"Or its because they haven't heard of it!"

Thanks for the redundant reply.

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Re:But why would anyone pay...

Posted by: MisesGuy on October 13, 2004 04:24 AM
For the same reason that Sun started selling StarOffice instead of giving it away -- people see a product that's free, and assume it's crap. Put a price tag on it, and suddenly it might just be worth something.

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because

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 05:08 AM
not everybody who walks into compusa has heard of OOo.

not everybody who walks into compusa and has heard of OOo knows where to get it.

not everybody who walks into compusa and has heard of OOo and knows where to get it has a broadband connection.

not everybody who walks into compusa and has heard of OOo and knows where to get it and has a broadband connection has a CD burner.

not everybody who walks into compusa and has heard of OOo and knows where to get it and has a broadband connection and has a CD burner knows how to use it.

not everybody who walks into compusa and has heard of OOo and knows where to get it and has a broadband connection and has a CD burner and knows how to use it has the time.

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Re:because

Posted by: Preston St. Pierre on October 13, 2004 09:47 PM
You took that one way too far. No CD burner is needed for OOo.

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Just makes sense.

Posted by: dukeinlondon on October 12, 2004 11:31 PM
You'll probably get more support for these $50 than for the $200 MS Office costs you.

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It's time

Posted by: macemoneta on October 12, 2004 11:50 PM
$2 bottles of water, $50 CDs for OpenOffice. Isn't it time for cans of air? Maybe pocket packets of topsoil and grass clippings. And why are the plastic bags and receipts free? Shouldn't you have to put a quarter in a machine to get one? I guess people will buy anything, even when given the choice of getting the same thing for free. Amazing. See what decades of lead and mercury poisoning has done to the species?

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Re:It's time

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 12:07 AM
"$2 bottles of water"

Its cheap to get a "clean" and "pure" bottle of water.

"$50 CDs for OpenOffice"

5 CD actually
- 1 inside the box
- 4 ( 1 for each quater ) Upgrade cd

Unlimited e-mail support

Its cheap when you dont have to use a 50$/per hour sys admin to answer the questionsssssssssssss of miss macemoneta.

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Re:It's time

Posted by: WarPengi on October 13, 2004 06:52 AM
"Its cheap to get a "clean" and "pure" bottle of water."

Maybe in your part of the world. I understand there are many parts of the world that need bottled water for lack of a local source. In most parts of North America we have clean pure water coming from the taps and yet people still want to pay for a bottle. Don't ask me why, it is a constant source of amazement for me.

"5 CD actually
- 1 inside the box
- 4 ( 1 for each quater ) Upgrade cd"


  If you have a high speed internet connection and a cd-burner you can get it for free. People still want to pay for it that is fine. In fact I would buy a copy just to support oo.o but not at $50. That is extrememly overpriced. That is the value of an OS including OO.

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Re:It's time

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2004 10:27 PM

Maybe in your part of the world. I understand there are many parts of the world that need bottled water for lack of a local source. In most parts of North America we have clean pure water coming from the taps and yet people still want to pay for a bottle. Don't ask me why, it is a constant source of amazement for me.



<A HREF="http://www.mercola.com/2001/jun/23/chlorine.htm" title="mercola.com">http://www.mercola.com/2001/jun/23/chlorine.htm</a mercola.com>

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locally for $4.95

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 02:33 AM
I bough a oo cd from one of the largest elctronic retailers here in New Zealand for $4.95 (about US$3.0). I didnt need it (already have it), but I bought it anyway to support the concept of having oo availbale over-the-counter (and it was literally on the counter) at mainstream consumer outlets. But US$50.0 is a bit too much.

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Re:locally for $4.95

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 11:25 AM
Dick Smith Electronics? How much of that 5 bucks is supporting OOo? They also sell CDs of Mandrake Community, though I don't know how much money they give to MandrakeSoft. They sell the CDs, yet the sale assistants have no clue about Linux (printer compatibility, etc).

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Re:locally for $4.95

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 02:33 PM
Ok, point taken. But still, having OO cds on the counter of a mainstream retailer for $5 is going to do a hell of a lot to promote the acceptance of oo.


And yes the staff dont know squat about it, but they know sqaut about all the other $100++ software they sell too.

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Missing the boat

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 04:33 AM
A lot of people here seem to be completely missing the boat. It appears that you're paying for a CD plus SUPPORT. This is a very reasonable fee for those that need something like this, but don't want to spend the bucks for a MS solution.

Fifty dollars for one year of online tech support is not that much at all.

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Re:Missing the boat

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 04:38 AM
First, it sounds like they're trying to do support as cheaply as possible, so it wouldn't be surprising if it turns out to be worthless. Second, everyone here keeps saying that good samaritan support over the web is as good or better than expense pay support.

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Re:Missing the boat

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2004 07:43 PM
$50 is reasonable for support, provided it is competent support. There have already been several instances of OpenOffice.org resellers simply directing customer support issues to the OpenOffice.org mailing lists, with less than enthusiastic response from the list users.

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Re:Missing the boat

Posted by: tbcass on October 31, 2004 07:59 PM
$50 for support. I've been using software for 20 years and have never had to use software support. Anyone who needs support for software should be banned from using it. Sheer stupidity.

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Hmm

Posted by: ThoreauHD on October 13, 2004 07:12 AM
Microsoft is 100 bucks per inceident call. These folks are offering 50 bucks per year. That seems more than reasonable to me. On top of that, openoffice will not change file formats on you so you can avoid the office upgrade treadmill if you so choose.

At first glance it seems excessive, but reasding the fine print of support and value for what you own forever gives the 50 bucks much more credence.

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about time

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2004 02:04 AM
I was in compusa store once buying some supplies and I came accross a mother and college sun fretting over buying office - even the $140.00 school version.

I interrupted their conversation and suggested they go to openoffice.org and download it for free
after I explained to them what it was - they immediately put down what they were buying and left to go download it.

I think this is great we need to have more companies just getting the word out and I think most people will switch.

I haven't still came across anything Open Ofice doesn't do that I need - it is great and I hope it continues.

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Re:about time

Posted by: Sam Leathers on October 14, 2004 11:53 AM
I wish I could say the same, there is one company that sends docs to us, and when I open it in open office the formatting is off. Not to say I don't support the product. Out of all the documents I've seen that's the only one, and it has weird layers upon layers upon layers of tables in the document. It's really overkill for a signature form. I still print the form from open office, and they don't complain about it, but sometimes customers signing it note that the boxes look a little off.

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