Free my office apps!

Following up on my mini-rant Sunday about Microsoft Office, is the Microsoft-Yahoo deal really about free software, or to use the buzz phrase, "zero-dollar" software?

There's more than zero in the deal, I'm sure (lots of zeros, it seems), but even if sales haven't been affected yet, Web-based and open source alternatives like Open Office are clearly gaining momentum. And if you follow the presidential primaries, you know market perception is all about the Mo.

I don't think it'll be too long before corporations get comfy with using free software. When that happens, $300 MS Office licenses are a relic for the digital archeologists.

Nicholas Carr has some thoughts far more insightful than mine.