I've often wanted to switch to Open Office, but I found that it's track record for reading/rendering (the last is the most important) of MS documents was not always 100%.
When the majority of users out there (for good or bad) are using one product and you try to use another to manipulate that information, you are going to run into some problems. If there was a standard format and a way to enforce the rendering and saving of that format, then I think we would be in much better shape. Documents would more portable across all environments. I think of image formats. How are we able to have so many different formats (jpg, gif, png, etc) and everyone seems able to open/display/modify/save these without a hitch?
Granted, a word/excel document is a little more complicated than an image, but just the same - until we have an even parity - we're stuck with one product.
Looking at Adobe file support (PDFs here) - I've tried Foxit Reader and while the program is small and fast, I found the rendering of documents to be less than ideal. The text often had the look of a fax (the lines weren't solid, the text was faint). I don't know why this would be, but no matter what version or what machine I rand Foxit on, I still had the same affect with every document I opened.
And Mr. Matthews - who ever said that there was a guarantee that you "got the best stuff"? We're talking about software here. Something that is inherently prone to bugs and could always use "just one more feature" to make it perfect. Otherwise, there'd never be a reason for upgrades or future releases.
The long and short of it is that until another company comes along and provides a file format that is usable in MS Office - that it will render properly in their product as well as Office and it works the same across multiple platforms and let's face it -is going to have to be free! We are not going to see people move. Even then, it's going to be a tough row to hoe because the MS format is so entrenched.
The new apps that use this format would have to be so killer for a MAC, PC and most likely Linux and free to make the switch. It would have to do something that Office can't. Right now so many people have Office on their systems (work systems now - not home) that surplanting that is going to be a very tough battle.
The apps would also have to work EXACTLY (or as close as possible on the MAC) as they do on every other platform so that support can easily provides help desk services to their client base.
I wish I could see another solution. I don't see how we can move away from Office at this time and frankly, I'm happy with Office - I loved Wordperfect when it was on DOS - it was the best. I also liked Quattro Pro for Windows. But with the lack of a real competitor for so long, everyone standardized on the only viable solution.