According to Steve Hamm, BusinessWeek, July 3rd edition (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_27/b3991412.htm ):
"It's being updated furiously, but Microsoft's once-irreplaceable program now has some viable rivals. ...
Don't expect Vijay Sonty to get any Customer of the Year awards from Microsoft Corp. The chief information officer for Florida's Broward County school system negotiated to pay only $14 per copy this year to outfit 40,000 employees with the Microsoft Office productivity suite. At retail, the bundle of the Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint lists at $399. But for Sonty, even a $14 annual subscription is still too expensive. That's why over the next three years he plans on cutting his Office purchases to 5,000. In its place, he's buying IBM Workplace, which not only includes Office-like applications for employees but also delivers online learning to the district's 274,000 students. His price: $4 per person per year."
"Over time, the software world is expected to move more to online applications. Gartner considers them a serious threat to Office just because they're so easy to use. "For consumers, I don't think you need to pay the premium to buy Microsoft Office anymore," says Credit Suisse's Maynard.
Further down the road, some techies believe productivity applications as we know them will become much less important. Instead of opening separate word processors and spreadsheets, people may tap into those functions within other applications—much as they now use a word processor within their e-mail programs. If that happens, Microsoft Office, rather than the company's customers, will look like the dinosaur."[Read More]