If anyone can scare Microsoft in a world dominated by Office, then maybe it’s Tesco. Their announcement of plans to launch their own range of budget own-brand PC software has caused much excitement. The company says the software has been ‘specifically developed for Tesco’ – but Tech Digest reckons it’s ‘based on the Ability Office software developed by Formjet based in Cambridge’ (and the link from tescosoftware.com to formjetplc.com would seem to back that up).
Regardless, I’m a bit disappointed that it isn’t OpenOffice-based. I don’t know Ability at all, but it just doesn’t come with any credible weight in the industry, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic. A Tesco endorsement for OpenOffice would have been a huge statement of intent, on an international scale, and might have given both parties some much-needed momentum. Without this, I can’t see Tesco reaching beyond the uninformed home market.
Why uninformed? Because quite simply, no matter how cheap Tesco sells this for, OpenOffice will be undercutting it by precisely 100%.