I just can't read the name Josef Schmidt without thinking of the hit musical "The Book of Mormon" and "Joseph Smith" - I wonder if he's going to translate some magical golden plates from God which declare that Microsoft is the chosen one.
Back on topic - It's sad to think that this project might fail. I switched to linux on my desktop about 7 years ago and have never looked back. It's not perfect, nothing ever is, but whenever I have to deal with a big headache on any system it's always a Windows based system - Virus/Malware, Drivers, Printing, WiFi Connectivity, BSOD.... I constantly wish I could migrate some of my users onto linux desktops, but I worry that it would be rejected purely based on fear/lack of familiarity.
One of the problems I see is that the big distros such as RHEL provide antique versions of the desktop environments and applications, which often lack extremely valuable enhancements. But because it's an "Enterprise" product, companies buy it and then 'Linux' is judged badly because a distribution designed for servers has provided a poor desktop experience.
"Enterprise" in terms of Desktop software and User-Interfaces always seems to be synonymous not only with "Stable" but also with "Clunky", "Ugly" and "Outdated".
When I worked at Oracle, they offered a Linux-based desktop (using Oracle Linux - i.e. RedHat) and it was rubbish... We all used Ubuntu in my team which served our purposes way better. I've since ditched Ubuntu because of Unity and their inclusion of built-in spyware. I now use Mint for my work system and Sabayon (which is really worth a look!) for my personal machine.
On the whole Office vs Open source argument: I certainly do hit problems from day-to-day relating to word processor document compatibility but it's always documents produced on MS Word which can't be displayed correctly on LibreOffice and rarely ever the other way around. If I want to guarantee the layout of a document I publish it as a PDF, but also my colleagues with MS Office have never complained about me sending them an ODF file.
I'd be far less damning of Word and Excel if MS would simply allow its users to choose between conventional menus and the Ribbon, and give them the option to control the look-and-feel of the package. To be honest, I'd even consider running Word/Excel natively under linux were it an option (and Ribbon-free).
In my opinion, Powerpoint and anything similar just shouldn't exist. I don't use them and don't compare them.... There must be better ways of presenting and subject to an audience than parrot-fashion reading of bulletpoints supported with cheesy clipart.
Outlook is a complete non-starter for me. It's hideous to look at and not much better to use. I use Thunderbird and have been reliably accessing corporate email from sources such as Zimbra (from my previous job at Oracle, which was bloody awful!) and from Exchange via IMAP as well as my personal mail hosted on a Linux server. IMAP4 is a very old protocol but works well for most things I need - I access my email simultaneously and very reliably on my Android phone and on two different laptops.
One massive bugbear I have with Thunderbird (and/or IMAP) is the hugely unreliable moving/copying of mails between remote folders (or even remote to local) - It just seems to crap out if I select a few hundred messages and copy/move them, resulting in unpredictable results and possibly some lost emails.... And I do wish that Mail Folder delegation was a more commonly implemented feature in IMAP servers.
Microsoft's purpose in life seems to be clever/aggressive/dubious marketing of largely sub-standard products (including products which started out decent and were then bought and crippled by Microsoft).
I really hope that the pro-Linux folks in Munich get a fair hearing in this latest move and that the pro-Microsoft folks don't get away with any nasty under-hand tactics or spreading too much FUD.