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OpenOffice five times as popular as Google Docs

Just 1% use Google Docs; 51% prefer MS Office

Free office suite OpenOffice.org is five time more popular than Google Docs, says new research.

The ClickStream findings may arouse some skepticism. The company's CEO, Cameron Turner, formerly worked at Microsoft doing similar market research on Microsoft Office and its competitors. Turner said ClickStream was not paid by Microsoft to conduct this study.

He added that ClickStream does paid research projects for a number of software vendors, including Microsoft and a major competitor, Adobe. It also monitors the use of Mac and Linux software.

According to ClickStream's findings, Google Docs was even less popular than Corel's WordPerfect suite.

Version 12 of WordPerfect alone was used by three percent of users, according to ClickStream's panel, which includes users recruited through cash and prizes, making it the third most popular productivity application behind OpenOffice.org. Adding up versions 9 through 13 of WordPerfect gave it a total usage of six percent, though ClickStream said the likelihood of overlap meant that its actual share was still lower than that of OpenOffice.org.

ClickStream's figures for OpenOffice.org include usage of StarOffice, a near-identical version that is sold for $70 (£47) and officially supported by Sun Microsystems.

Google began distributing StarOffice via its free Google Pack download service in August 2007. But it recently pulled StarOffice from Google Pack, suggesting that Google is starting to feel competitive with OpenOffice.org.

Not so, says Google. "We are constantly evaluating which products to include in Google Pack to make it more valuable to users. At this time the agreement to distribute StarOffice through Google Pack has expired, and we have decided with Sun not to renew the agreement," a spokesman said.

Other free Microsoft word processers are actually far more popular than OpenOffice.org or Google Docs. Notepad was used by 48 percent of those surveyed by ClickStream, though more sparingly than OpenOffice.org. WordPad, meanwhile, was used by 21 percent of apparently thrifty users.

Fewer than 1 percent of users used Zoho Office, while none of ClickStream's sample used ThinkFree or WriteBoard.

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