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'Free' Oracle Plug-in for Microsoft Office

In life according to Oracle, $9000 is the new ‘free’. The enterprise software giant is now charging $90 per person for their formerly free Open Document Format (ODF) plug-in with a minimum of 100 users. The cost is for a Right to Use (RTU) license, and there is an additional charge of $19.80 for Oracle support for the plug-in.

Microsoft included support for the ODF in Office for its release of Microsoft 2007, but it only covers ODF version 1.0. The plug-in enables Office users to edit and save documents in the ODF which is used by the OpenOffice productivity suite.

Pre-Oracle acquisition, Sun Microsystems offered the plug-in at no cost to users. The use of the word ‘free’ has been long debated in describing open-source software. Oracle is using the term to describe ‘freedom’ instead of ‘free of charge’. Here’s a screenshot of the changes:


The plug-in is designed to enable interoperability between Microsoft’s platform and ODF. Oracle’s OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office competitor, is still available free of charge and is used in conjunction with ODF.

Oracle’s decision to charge Microsoft users for the plug-in could be seen as a tactic to drive Microsoft users away from Office and the pricey plug-in, to Oracle’s free OpenOffice with built-in ODF. Oracle is no stranger to success; the company made $23 billion in revenue last year. However, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out for the software giant and its pricey plug-in.