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Is it Time to Dump Office?

Five things to keep in mind when assessing free alternatives to Microsoft

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This story appears in the November 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Improvements in and -as-a-service (SaaS) platforms mean more alternatives to (see chart).We checked in with Guy Creese, research vice president with IT research and advisory group , and Rob Helm, managing vice president of research with Directions on Microsoft, an independent Microsoft consulting company in Kirkland, ., for some expert views on what to consider.

Environment. If you use a lot of Microsoft documents, you may be stuck, because other solutions aren't great for translating formats, Creese says. But if you use Lotus Notes, a switch to Lotus Symphony can be easy. And if your workers are mostly viewing and lightly editing via mobile phones, online SaaS solutions could be a good choice.

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