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Why pay for MS Office when the alternatives are free?

Over the last few years we've seen Microsoft continue to increase its MS Office software pricing through Microsoft 365 and other licensing models - now up around $400 a year.

You could argue this is due to a lack of knowledge in the market about alternative products - some very good alternatives at very low prices - generally free!

But how good could a free product really be? One standout alternative is excellent and could be used by many startups and small businesses to reduce their costs while having no impact on productivity.

Libre Office ( is funded by The Document Foundation (a non-profit organization that promotes open-source document handling software) and was originally called OpenOffice.

It creates, saves and opens all Microsoft format documents (eg. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access etc) and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It has an interface that is very similar to MS Office and so is easy to learn how to use. The Document Foundation estimates that there are 200 million active LibreOffice users worldwide.

Libre Office is free to use although typically it is supported for a fee by IT firms like Habitat3.

For those that use MS Outlook we would also recommend the free alternative - EM Client ( It features sending and receiving email, managing calendars, tasks, contacts and notes and has very similar functionality to MS Outlook.

If you are a startup or small business looking to reduce unnecessary costs, we would recommend trying Libre Office and EM Client to replace your MS Office. Its free after all and could save you thousands of dollars over the coming years.


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