LDS Church switches to Open Office

I am the financial clerk in my local LDS Ward. Last month they applied an update to our Ward's computer, which included Open Office. Our computer used to have Microsoft Works, but that has been removed and we now have Open Office. This works great for me, because I use Open Office at home, so I can now take Open Office format spreadsheets to the church and use them in their native format. :)

I find this decision to switch interesting. I suppose I should specify that I don't know if the Church has made this switch world-wide, but it would seem likely. I looked up some statistics on the Church, and there are 31,194 Wards, Branches, Stakes, Missions, and Districts. Most, if not all of these units have a local computer that they use to keep track of members, finances, and organize the unit. For argument's sake, let's say that 30,000 of them have a computer. I don't know how much the Church would pay for MS Works, but lets say Microsoft charges them $50 a copy. So the church would have to pay $1,500,000 to have a copy of Works on each Local unit's computer. Even if it's only $25/copy, you're looking at $750,000. Either way, that's a LOT of Money!

Now, I think the Church can afford that, but it's difficult to look at a price tag like that when you know that Open Office is free. Another thing to consider is that MS Works doesn't always work well with MS Office file formats (or other office suite files, for that matter), so compatibility argument against using a non-Microsoft office suite doesn't really work well if you are using Works.

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