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A superficial glance at Oracle’s (news, site) announcement around the release of the new Open Office 3.3 and Oracle Cloud Office might lead you to the conclusion that this is about annoying Microsoft and Google Docs.

This might be compounded by Larry Ellison’s well known ‘reservations’ about cloud computing (antipathy might be a better word). That is until you consider that the cloud-based office software market is currently US$ 3.3 billion and due to hit close to US$ 20 billion in the next ten years.

With the recent release of Open Office 3.3 and Oracle Cloud Office, which was first mooted at Oracle’s Open World this year, Oracle is spreading its wings again, in what many say is an about-face by Ellison on cloud computing.

Oracle and Cloud Computing

This probably isn't entirely accurate however, as Oracle claims that it has been in the cloud computing market for years before anyone else.

You may recall that in his keynote address at Open World in 2008, Ellison outlined what he saw as cloud computing as it was understood then, and it wasn’t complimentary.

The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do …but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish. It's insane. When is this idiocy going to stop? he asked.

However, in keynote 2010, while outlining the landscape into which the new Exalogic would be launched, he clarified that.

Cloud computing, he said, is “… a platform -- a standards-based application development and execution platform. It includes hardware and software. It is virtual and elastic and it runs a variety of apps.”

There is one significant difference though -- Ellison’s vision is of private rather than public clouds.

Cloud Office 1.0, Open Office 3.3

OK, so it’s probably not that important in that all it shows is that Oracle was heading to the cloud anyway, no matter what Ellison said at conference calls around quarterly earnings, where he tends to speak about not just competitors but also current trends.

Cloud Office 1.0. and Open Office 3.3, are two complete, open standards-based office productivity suites for the desktop, web and mobile devices.

Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Office enables users to share files on any system as it is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and modern web 2.0 publishing.

Oracle Cloud Office features word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and drawing software and is based on technology Oracle bought with the Sun deal in January -- explaining some of what it is doing with Sun in the first place.

With it, users can access web 2.0 collaboration and enterprise-integrated document tools on Windows, Mac, Linux, Web browsers and smartphones.

Oracle Cloud Office has been designed to take advantage of a flexible web-scale architecture offering elastic scaling. Customers and partners can leverage Oracle Cloud Office as an on-premise, on-demand or SaaS deployment.

Open Office 3.3 includes connectors to Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle E-Business Suite, other Oracle Applications as well as Microsoft SharePoint, to allow for fast, seamless integration into existing enterprise software stacks.

While the new additions add increased stability, compatibility and performance, Oracle also says enterprises will get all this at five times cheaper than Microsoft Office licenses.

The Cloud Office Professional Edition and OpenOffice Enterprise Edition cost US$ 90 per user, with Cloud Office Standard Edition and OpenOffice Standard Edition costing US$ 49.95 per user. Interested in more?