@whs Really? Am I missing something? Is that all the power of MS Office, fading from one grayscale picture to another in full color? I think you can do that with LibreOffice Impress for sure.
Things that one must take into account:
1. Most people don't use Microsoft Office at full capacity. And I mean, for Word for instance, using master documents, cross-references, paragraph styles, captions, fields, tables of contents, list of figures and tables, the new equation editor (which is one of the bests ones I've seen), margins, tab stops, sections, different header and footer in each page, and so on. People usually get lost inserting pictures and using tables, commonly in an incorrect way (in front of text, misaligned, and all of that) and they end up with semi-decent documents. That's my experience.
2. For writing very simple documents, a letter, an essay for homework, a CV, etc. Microsoft Word and LibreOffice Writer (and AbiWord and others) are almost the same.
3. LibreOffice Writer can handle more complex documents, too, only you have to learn how to use it well. This is no different from Word, except that most people do edit complex documents with no idea on how Word works (not using paragraph styles for instance).
4. LibreOffice can open/save DOC and DOCX documents, but don't expect full compatibility. You need some collaboration with people using Word to ensure nothing will break, again, for simple documents you should have no problem. I think Word 2010 is not able to open the most current ODT format, but if you stick to LibreOffice, it is the best format you can use. RTF is a very common format also. And of course you can export to PDF as well, for others to read your document.
Please note I think Microsoft Office 2010 is great software, and I know Word quite a bit. But for most people LibreOffice will suffice. This is for Word and Writer, but can be applied to the other utilities in these office suites.
My recommendation is to get a copy of LibreOffice and try it (since it is free), and if you think it is not enough for you then but Microsoft Office.