October 12, 2004

Now you can buy OpenOffice.org in CompUSA

Author: Joe Barr

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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