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Ok, the point i was making about Firefox was exactly as you stated.  "Free" was 
not used as a usp.  Firefox was sold on it's quality.  

Our product is also a better quality product than the one produced by those 
wonderful people at Richmond so why use a usp that has counted against us in my 
country, and the USA?  Since it is a contra-intuitive concept i think it is 
vital that we are aware that using the concept of "free" as a usp will cut us 
out of significant markets in a fairly permanent way.  

Being Libre and free are things we can be rightly proud of BUT it just confuses 
people that have not already 'bought into' OpenSource.  At best it makes it much 
harder for those of us that want to make inroads into those corporate desktops.

However, feel free to ignore me and lets see if we can manage another 0% growth 
in those markets in another 10 years.
'Regards' from

From: Italo Vignoli <>
Sent: Sun, 2 January, 2011 15:28:15
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-marketing] Free & Libre are bad "selling points"

Sorry, I am not used to be "hard" in mailing lists, but I would like to stop 
this thread as it is quite useless, for the reasons I have already tried to 
express in a more polite way in other messages and I will reiterate - for the 
last time - in this answer.

On 1/2/11 3:43 PM, Tom Davies wrote:

The assumption in this list appears to be that "free" is the only "unique
selling point" (=USP) that LibreOffice has and that it will generate 

No, the assumption is that we are going to use extremely sophisticated marketing 
strategies that are going to be shared in private - as I do not want to give any 
advantage to Microsoft, especially in US - and will grow the awareness of 

Of course, there will be many USPs, one of them being the concept of "free 

However, i think 10years of OpenOffice using that USP has resulted in
MicroSquish dominating the market.  This proves that the USP of being free has
NOT been favourable.

I have already requested in another message to avoid using useless "funny" way 
to call Microsoft. I reiterate the request. Please stop using any term different 
from Microsoft and MS Office.

The usage of these terms qualifies any individual as an unwelcome member of this 

If 10 years worth of real-life data is not enough then i doubt a market survey
will make much difference.

Data in Europe tell that OOo has gone from nowhere to 20% market share, thanks 
to the communities that have promoted the software and made it a success.

In US, Sun has just been a marketing disaster, as in Europe (but in Europe 
communities have done Sun's job, a lot better than Sun).

Analysts confirm that OOo has grown from nowhere to 20% market share in Europe, 
and to 15% worldwide. US are the weakest market for OOo.

In that same time-frame Firefox grew by a very much larger percentage to the
point where it has now overtaken Internet Explorer within the same time-frame.
Firefox did have the advantage that people though IE was free and therefore 
relatively happy to accept that IE might not be high quality.

You are totally wrong, and it looks like you understanding of marketing - at 
least free software marketing - is limited. The reasons behind the success of 
Firefox have nothing to do with "free", and the demise of IE has nothing to do 
with "free" (being the two free a different story).

Firefox is a good product, IE is a nightmare, to the point that even MS has not 
been able to sustain it in a successful way.

Ubuntu has also grown in a similar  time-frame to the point that in almost any
newsagents you will see at least 1 magazine mentioning it or even carrying a
full article about it.  Where are the articles about OpenOffice?

In Italy, there is an average of 300+ articles each month about OOo. In other 
European geographies the number is lower but significant. In the US, thanks to 
Sun, the average is 0.

-- Italo Vignoli - The Document Foundation
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Skype: italovignoli - GTalk:

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