Is Anyone Going To Buy Microsoft Office 2010?

This week Microsoft announced versions and pricing for Office 2010, slated to be released in June. But the big question is… will anyone buy it?

Interest in new versions of Office has waned over the years. Office 2007 disappointed businesses and consumers alike by replacing tried-and-true menus with the Ribbon Toolbar, a feature I have yet to hear anyone say they actually like.

Microsoft Office 2007 Ribbon Toolbar

Microsoft Office 2007 Ribbon Toolbar

Microsoft also changed the default Office file formats in version 2007, forcing users to scramble for compatibility filters in order to open .docx, .xlsx and .pptx files. Combined with the fact that most of Office 2007’s new features required a Windows Server environment, and you’ve got a recipe for Office ennui.

Perhaps we’ve hit a plateau in the number of features that can be included in a productivity suite like Office. How many more bells and whistles do we need? Unless Office 2010 offers some serious benefits, I don’t think many people are going to be interested. If you want to see what it offers, you can visit the Microsoft Office 2010 web site. Personally I don’t see anything that has me falling out of my chair.

And that creates another problem: security. As we’ve seen, the older a program is, the more likely its weaknesses can be exploited by viruses and other threats. For example, users of Office 2000 are compelled to upgrade, not because they need a bigger feature set, but because Microsoft no longer fixes security problems with old software versions. It becomes a non-choice: Upgrade, or have your computers rendered unusable by viruses.

The Web-based version of Office 2010 might get more takers, if only because of the popularity of Google Docs. But, as I’ve said before, I’m not so sure I’d trust my data to the cloud (e.g. the Internet).

Are you planning to evaluate Microsoft Office 2010? Do you intend to stick with your current version of Office, or are you using one of the free alternatives like OpenOffice? What do you think the success of Office 2010 will be?

Comments

  1. Keith Collins says:

    Triona,

    As an attorney, I am very concerned about not just about cloud reliability, but also about the confidentiality and integrity of data in the cloud.

    I, like many, continue working with Office 2003 and XP Professional. Other than in terms of security and manufacturer support, the only real positive in Office 2007 that matters to me is the more stable Outlook without 2003’s memory limitations for stored, non-archived email.

    The memory-hogging graphics and relearning needed from Office 2003 for 2007 or 2010 are major negatives. I am in no rush to upgrade to 2007 or 2008. However, because IE8 performs so poorly with websites requiring interactive information (many sophisticated websites believe cookies are turned off, even when on, because of IE8’S limitations, limiting web functionality), I recently installed Firefox.

    The only reason I am not switching from Outlook 2003 to Thunderbird for email is compatibility of certain add-ins and transitional concerns. I am using Workshare Professional and Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 add-ins with Outlook, and Acrobat Pro 9 with IE8. What insights can you offer about things like automatic elimination of meta-data when sending emails with file attachments?

    Is it practical to upgrade Outlook to 2007 or 2010 and stay with Office Pro 2003 for everything else in the 2003 Office suite? What would be the pros and cons of that?

    From what I’ve heard and read, it sounds as though Windows 7 is a stabler and improved OS. Therefore, the next computer I replace will probably have Windows 7 factory-installed. However, it is likely I will seriously consider remaining with 2003 Office Professional, moving to Open Office, returning to Wordperfect, or adopting another non-cloud approach.

  2. Hi Keith, thanks for your remarks. I am also worried about confidentiality in the cloud. As for meta-data, that’s another big issue. There is software to prevent confidential data from leaving your secure network, but it often isn’t affordable for small businesses. I expect that as usual, solutions to these problems will first appear on the enterprise level and take a while to trickle down to small businesses. In the meantime we have to fend for ourselves.

    Multiple versions of Office can run on a single system, but it’s not an ideal solution because then you have legacy bits of the programs mingling with newer bits and that doesn’t always work well. You also have to make sure you get the security updates for all versions, and you could run into a situation where there’s a vulnerability that can be fixed in the new version but not the old one.

    Windows 7 is far more stable than Vista. I think many people are in the same boat you are, trying to decide the best way to go. If Microsoft wants Office 2010 to be a success they are going to have to demonstrate concrete benefits that outweigh the negatives for small businesses as well as enterprises.

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