Are you always rooting for the underdog? In the world of productivity suites, you don't need to pay a lot to get the basic tools for reading, writing and arithmetic. Read the reviews to find out what's in each bundle, from the freebies to the full-featured suites.
It's no secret that Microsoft dominates the productivity suite market, but that doesn't mean it's the only way to go. Corel, Sun Microsystems, Apple, IBM, and others offer alternatives at a fraction of the price of Microsoft Office 2007. Corel WordPerfect Office X3 sports interface improvements and one-click PDF, HTML, and XML publishing. The lesser-known StarOffice 8 provides basic productivity tools and throws in a couple of extras, such as a drawing program. OpenOffice 2 is Sun's free version of StarOffice. And IBM just rolled out a free test version of its Windows- and Linux-compatible Lotus Symphony suite.
If you to take productivity tools wherever you go, then you can pick from online services including Google Spreadsheets -- now with Presentations too -- as well as the free plug-in for Microsoft Office that enables you to save ODF files.