It also cheered anti-Microsoft Office factions when it said it would deliver a Web version called Oracle Cloud Office. However, Oracle's brief announcements also raised a number of questions that neither the company nor OpenOffice.org wanted to answer. Here's what we know:
There are many routes Oracle can take with Cloud Office. Will it be a lightweight app that emphasizes Web-based collaboration, a la Google Docs One that relies on compatibility with its better-known sibling (MicrosoftMicrosoft Office) as its chief selling point, such as the upcoming Office Web Or one that tries to replicate the breadth of OpenOffice.org's features and go head-to-head against the similarly-broad Zoho Alles zu Microsoft auf CIO.de
Oracle chief corporate architect Ed Screven didn't say during his talk last week. But Raju Vegesna, chief evangelist at Zoho, argues that necessity will guide Oracle's strategy. "To bring that entire feature set online would take significant effort," he said. Zoho spent five years rewriting its Zoho Mail client into a Web app, despite its 350-strong corps of developers. "People underestimate the effort involved."
By comparison, Sun reportedly only employed 50 developers for OpenOffice.org. And OpenOffice.org is notorious for its large, tricky codebase, written primarily in C++ and Java. The codebase is so sprawling that one web site, the SourceForge-owned Ohloh, estimates that it would take $411 million dollars and 7,473 programmer man-years to rewrite it from scratch.