"$21 Million per Day"

Category: blog

Apache OpenOffice is a project within the Apache Software Foundation, a non-profit organization.  We don't charge for Apache OpenOffice; we make it available to all for free.   We don't pay developers; we rely on volunteers

People need office productivity software.  Among our users are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, public servants, and business people from all industries.  Perhaps 20 years ago it was only businesses that needed this kind of software.  In 1992 the price of a spreadsheet application alone, not even a complete suite, was $595.  Only business could afford it at that price.   But today almost everyone with a computer needs a word processor, a spreadsheet and/or a presentation editor.    Office productivity applications are used in the home, at school and in the office.

Users have downloaded Apache OpenOffice from 236 countries and territories.   The above chart shows the download density of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 per country, normalized by the number of internet users in each country (based using ITU data).  If you click on the chart you can explore it interactively using IBM's Many Eyes service (Java required).

The reach of Apache OpenOffice is global and deep.  Our 3.4. release has been downloaded over 37 million times since May 2012.

Although Apache OpenOffice is free, it still has value, and the value we produce can be estimated.

The main alternative to OpenOffice is Microsoft Office, perhaps the lower-priced "Home and Student" edition.  The latest version (2013) is sold by Microsoft on their website for a variety of prices, varying by country.  In the U.S. it is $139.99.  In Germany it is quoted at 139,00 €, which is $188.04 USD.  In Australia it is $169.00 AUD which is $174.42 USD.  In Russia it is 3499.00 Rubles, which is $116.30 USD. 

Let's take, for ease of calculation, an intermediate value of $150.00 USD for Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student.  A person who uses the free OpenOffice saves $150 over paying for Microsoft Office.

Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1 has averaged 138,928 downloads per day.  That is an average value to the public of $21 million per day.  Or $7.61 billion (7.61 thousand million) per year.  This is one estimate of the value we bring to the public.

To put that in perspective, here are annual sales figures for some familiar companies:

  • Campbell Soup Company: $7.88 Billion
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises: $7.66 Billion
  • Mastercard Inc.: $7.39 Billion
  • InfoSys: $7.23 Billion
  • Barnes & Noble: $7.16 Billion
  • OfficeMax Inc.: $7.06 Billion

We should be proud of what we've accomplished over the past decade.  This is not only a success for Apache OpenOffice in our Public Service Mission, but a demonstration of the reach and impact of open source software in general.

[Note: There are various ways to estimate value.  The commercial value of alternative goods, which we used above, is only one approach.  But it is the same approach used when estimating revenue lost to software piracy, when they assume that if users did not use software illegally they would pay for commercial licenses at the prevailing rate.   So there is some justification for using the same approach here.]