Head to Head: Office 2010 vs Open Office 3.1

Installation and support

We've already outlined how easy it is to get hold of Open Office, provided you've got a web connection. Office 2010 is a slightly more involved affair, but still not very complex. You obviously need licences and as most businesses buy multi-user permits, this isn't something that's a known quantity as yet. Rolling out the suite across your PC estate should be as pain-free as it always has been provided you comply with the minimum hardware spec requirements (we've already noted that Office 2010 is lower-end hardware friendly).

If you're planning on rolling out Office 2010 as part of a standard hardware or OS upgrade anyway, you may be able to quickly and easily roll out the same image across your entire estate so you ensure users have Windows, Office and any other apps as standard. Things become a bit more complex if you try and do the same with Open Office et al.

Volume licensing when it comes to Microsoft products will generally involve a reseller or a third-party services organisation who has a good relationship with a business anyway, so should be able to offer more precise guidance on how long upgrading actually takes, in addition to ensuring licensing compliance and roll-out best practice. They key thing is to know how many licences you need as many businesses are still over buying just in case, which isn't very clever either in the current climate or when the economy is booming.

Office 2010 support

It's never nice when something goes wrong but quick and efficient support is a good tonic for the associated frustration. This is something you can expect across the board from Microsoft and its partners and the longevity of Office's service has led to a vast support network both from the manufacturer and across the web. IT departments shouldn't need a great deal of re-training to deal with the new suite and we expect existing training resources to remain useful.