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Microsoft Businesses Software Upgrades IT

A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-business-love-change dept.
Billly Gates writes "It appears Microsoft is following Chrome's agile development model like Mozilla did. At a recent tech conference, Kurt DelBene, president of the Office division, said they have mechanisms in place to update Office on a quarterly basis. Of course to get these new wondrous features and bugfixes you have to have a subscription to Office 365. Are the customers who most prefer subscriptions (corporate) going to want new things in the enterprise every 90 days? It is frustrating to see so many of them still on IE 7, XP, and Office 2003, which hurts Windows and Office sales and holds back innovation. At the same time, the accountants notice significant savings by keeping I.T. costs down with decade/semi decade updates to their images, while I.T. only puts out fires in between. Will this bring change to that way of doing things, or will Microsoft's cloud offerings with outsourced Exchange and Sharepoint make up for it using cost savings and continually updated software in the enterprise?"
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A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days

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  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:03PM (#43057225)

    There was no agile development before Chrome or what? There's pretty much no comparison here.

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:08PM (#43057259) Journal

      While the wording is inaccurate, I think they mean purposely confusing the trend Chrome popularized of what used to be a point release or Windows Update into fully numbered new versions to help make people sneer at "last year's version".

      • by Trepidity (597)

        It's a bit more than that: it also got rid of the idea of "stable versions" with their own updates, and just pushes new versions as updates. So for example, rather than Microsoft maintaining IE7, IE8, IE9 branches, the last update to IE7 would've just been the IE8 upgrade, and applied automatically.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Which is NOT what either Enterprise or end users really want. Chrome is a new and shiny toy, and the hype will fall the moment it needs to be depended upon, just like with Apple products.

          • by Hadlock (143607)

            Pretty much. We want to move to a new version of Super Enterprise Software 5.0 which has a web browser interface (made by a Microsoft-sized company) but the vendor only supports IE9 and Firefox 16. Newer versions of than firefox 16 "may cause unintended results". We've banned firefox from the network and IE9 apparently will eat up a gig of ram on version 5.0 of this software. And nobody is exactly interested in being stuck three (soon to be four) versions behind.

            • by Ice Tiger (10883)

              And yet having a modern always to date browser on the desktop is exactly what my enterprise wants, we keep IE around for legacy apps like the one you've mentioned.

          • by Ice Tiger (10883)

            Got data to back this up as we're moving away from IE as the standard browser to using Chrome with auto update turned on. Decoupling the browser from the OS is very much a step in the right direction.

            Traditional corporate IT, especially those that worship Microsoft forget that they were once IT shops and not Microsoft shops.

    • by Isaac Remuant (1891806) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:33PM (#43057421)

      For tech writers out there, everything was invented either by Apple or Google.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Gonoff (88518)

        For tech writers out there, everything was invented either by Apple or Google.

        As a tech user, I know that nearly nothing technical was invented by Apple. (Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything but I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt,)

        They have improved some things a lot but their top activity is marketing. They have no doubts 'invented' some business models but their most active practice is to sell above average devices at premium prices and some car manufacturers have been doing that for decades,

        • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Sunday March 03, 2013 @02:57AM (#43059297)

          As a tech user, I know that nearly nothing technical was invented by Apple. (Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything but I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt,)

          They have improved some things a lot but their top activity is marketing. They have no doubts 'invented' some business models but their most active practice is to sell above average devices at premium prices and some car manufacturers have been doing that for decades,

          True - Apple doesn't do technical innovation. They do user experience innovation though. By figuring out how a user wants to do something, they practically took it over.

          Apple didn't invent the smartphone, they made it less technical and more usable (and produced one of the finest mobile browsers at the time when the only competitor was... Opera. IE was a neutered mess).

          Apple didn't invent videochat, they just made it as simple as making a phone call - just call, and if the other end's available, a button pops up. Sure you could do it with Skype, if you had the endpoints already set up (and at the time, you were limited to chatting via the PC - skype enabled TVs not being terribly available).

          Likewise with Siri - they didn't invent voice recognition/searching/etc., just a brain dead simple way to access it. Or OS X - taking the "scary" out of UNIX based OSes and overtaking traditional UNIX vendors in sales.

          As for marketing - it only gets you so far. The first sale, actually. Once people find out that you sell crap products, you're pretty much not going to be able to polish a turd much more. If Macs were all flash and no substance, they wouldn't be selling tens of millions annually. (And they didn't all start selling after Windows 8, either).

          Apple innovates by making technology, well, human. Though they do put a lot of dollars into some technical evolution - had the iPhone 4 not come out, we'd probably still be stuck with low-res screens everywhere (of course, there's also taking it a bit too far, like 1080p screens in 5", or 440+ DPI, well beyond "retina" for even the eagle eyed, but that's competition). But no, we're seeing scores of laptops without 1366x768 screens these days (no longer reserving the 1080p screens for the very rich).

          Apple doesn't care about the tech crowd. Hell, the tech crowd has had app stores longer than Apple - Valve being a notable entrant with Steam. All Apple did was figure out how to take Steam and put it on mobile - to end up with an extremely convenient way to get apps onto the device. Hell, Amazon did the same with the Kindle - there were ebook stores and ebook readers prior to the Kindle (see Sony), but damn did Amazon make the connection that if your reader could make it possible for the user to just browse and buy the book directly... just like Apple and apps, or Steam and games.

    • by CPNABEND (742114)
      No, it's marketing... Microsoft has re-named "Patch Tuesday"
  • by Narrowband (2602733) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:13PM (#43057291)
    I don't know quite what to make of this. I got used to skipping every other generation of Office, especially MS-Word, back sometime around the time of Word for Windows 2.0 (which was great) and Word for Windows 6.0 (the next version, which was not... who knows what happened to 3, 4, or 5.) But then later, Office/Word 2003 was the last good version, before they totally messed up the interface with their "ribbon bar" or whatever they called it, that made its functions impossible to find and use.

    Rumor was that Microsoft had two competing teams, and while team A was releasing one version, team B was prepping the next version. Then when team B went to release their version, team A went back to development.

    Given the later performance, though I don't know that it still holds. I just know that every time they make changes, I definitely want time to watch others' use of it and see what they are before I accept the upgrade.
    • Word for Windows v3, v4, and v5 were skipped so that v6.0 had version parity with the DOS version.

    • by antdude (79039)

      I am still using Office 2000 SR3 and OpenOffice. They work fine for me. At work, I have to use the latest versions provided by work. I hate the newer versions with ribbon GUI!

  • by JJJJust (908929) <JJJJust@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:15PM (#43057307)

    " It is frustrating to see so many of them still on IE 7, XP, and Office 2003, which hurts Windows and Office sales and holds back innovation."

    Are we supposed to feel sorry that Microsoft can't hit their sales targets? Maybe if they stopped "innovating" their UIs and overall UE, they'd find more eager and rapid corporate adoption.

    Every time they "innovate" an interface, there's internal documentation that has to be updated, new training modules have to be made, crosswalks need to be made, memo's (which inevitably nobody reads) have to be written saying: "Oh, you know that button Y that you used to be able to find here to do X? Well, now you have to do A, B, and C before you can click Y to do X. Sorry it'll now take you an extra 5 minutes to do your work."

    All that costs money and time, and I definitely don't blame businesses for not wanting to upgrade...

    • by azadrozny (576352)
      I am sure the UI is a factor, but another big obstacle to upgrade is the risk of breaking a tried and true enterprise infrastructure. Now there may not be many corporate applications that tie directly to a specific version of Office, but browsers and operating systems need to be upgraded with care to avoid problems with critical corporate systems. It is time to finally put XP and IE7 to rest, but I don't see any reason to rush an upgrade just because there has been a major release.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      Are we supposed to feel sorry that Microsoft can't hit their sales targets? Maybe if they stopped "innovating" their UIs and overall UE, they'd find more eager and rapid corporate adoption.

      OK lets test that. We just had a release of Windows 8 which was a major UI shift. During the period of the shift there was a huge opportunity for people to stock up on Windows 7 which kept the Aero interface. There was no spike in sales.

      All that costs money and time, and I definitely don't blame businesses for not w

      • by Chas (5144)

        Are we supposed to feel sorry that Microsoft can't hit their sales targets? Maybe if they stopped "innovating" their UIs and overall UE, they'd find more eager and rapid corporate adoption.

        OK lets test that. We just had a release of Windows 8 which was a major UI shift. During the period of the shift there was a huge opportunity for people to stock up on Windows 7 which kept the Aero interface. There was no spike in sales.

        You're going about it wrong.

        Would there be a SPIKE in sales? Nope. As noted, there's a general falloff in PC sales happening right now. The market is saturated with relatively powerful systems that are already gross overkill for the tasks to which they're set.

        Now, look at the flip side of this.

        Has there been a DOWNWARD spike in Win7 sales that would suggest, even peripherally, that Windows 8 is eating into those sales?

        Don't worry, I won't hold my breath until you conclude, properly, that the answer is "n

    • Horse Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:13PM (#43057623)

      Nothing says flounder like a rapid development schedule for a mature product.

      Who says there's anything left for Microsoft to do? What if the Office Suite is so near perfect that is impossible to innovate?

      And why should anyone in their right (or left) mind accept the argument that customers who don't see sufficient value in upgrading are responsible for holding the Gods of Programming from there annointed purpose of innovation?

      This smells like shear desparation driving Microsoft to tactics designed to keep their effort relevant to the news cycle, not a strategy that will spur the development of any kind of thoughtful or meaningful new functionality one might consider innovative. Otherwise we'd be hearing about the improvements and their value to customers.

      This is pathetic, both as snooze story and as a business strategy.

    • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:57PM (#43057949) Homepage Journal

      " It is frustrating to see so many of them still on IE 7, XP, and Office 2003, which hurts Windows and Office sales and holds back Microsoft profits."

      See if that makes more sense...

      Cheers,
      Dave

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      Maybe if they stopped "innovating" their UIs and overall UE, they'd find more eager and rapid corporate adoption.

      If the UI didn't change the vast majority of users wouldn't upgrade because they would look at the new version and say "Why would I pay for this? Nothing has changed." To sell, there must be visible changes.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:17PM (#43057323) Homepage

    If Microsoft can provide corporations a written guarantee that the updates won't break any of the custom programming those corporations use in their applications and documents, it'll fly. The reason corporate IT doesn't update often is they have all these business-critical things lurking, macros used in spreadsheets, document templates, custom internal applications, that must work, and they need to check that updates don't break those things before they can roll the updates out.

    You aren't going to be able to sell business on something, even if the price is lower, if it isn't going to give them anything they aren't already getting and it'll increase the costs associated with the business being down while IT fixes what the latest update broke.

    • You aren't going to be able to sell business on something, even if the price is lower, if it isn't going to give them anything they aren't already getting

      Which is exactly why most businesses aren't running Linux and Open Office on all their desktops. It's also why there are still millions of people using Windows XP and Office 2003. Contrary to Microsoft's PR department, newer versions of Windows and Office don't give users any benefits that even come close to outweighing the enormous cost of changing.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:18PM (#43057325)

    Just because someone else is doing something and they have a popular product does not mean that everything they do is a good idea. Rapid release cycles are a prime example of this as they are extremely antagonistic to enterprise / corporate environments. These environments like something called stability and they are far more interested in a predictable and bug free experience that the latest shiny new thing.

    In addition to issues of stability there are also issues of management, when you have a rapid release cycle it is a strain on your IT department as they have to devote a /lot/ more time proportionally to a given product than they otherwise would. Time means money and that means costs and a desire to switch to something that doesn't require constant babysitting.

    Time spent by staff learning what changed in /this/ cycle versus the previous one from a few months ago is time that could have been spent on other things. Employees constantly need hand holding on the latest changes and that requires a lot of time. Nobody likes that and it means that the staff that support the product start to resent the product and want it gone.

    Attention whore products are ones that irritate everyone and that is a /really/ bad thing if you want your product to stay in that environment. This is an epically stupid idea and one that needs to be relegated the dustbin of history sooner than later.

    • Rapid release cycles are a prime example of this as they are extremely antagonistic to enterprise / corporate environments. These environments like something called stability and they are far more interested in a predictable and bug free experience that the latest shiny new thing.

      Yes but... where do you put the meter? I know of entire government departments still using IE6, often stability is preferrred over everything else, even if it is the stability of the devil you know rather than actually being stable.

      • by onyxruby (118189)

        Most environments I have worked consider best practice one release cycle or service pack behind the current production release cycle. In other words with Win 8 out you run Win 7 and the previous version of Office and so on. This is done explicitly to allow time for bugs to be worked out and to allow products to mature and stabilize.

        In your case of IE 6 the most likely culprit is that they have large amounts of software that are hard coded to depend on IE 6. The cost of upgrading the in-house software to a m

    • by jbolden (176878)

      There are two types of customers that use Office:

      a) Those that use a little Office lightly.
      b) Those that use Office along with the full suite of server solutions: Lync, Dynamics, SharePoint

      b's aren't moving and a's aren't that profitable. If 80% of the a's leave and 20% become b's that's a very good trade. Microsoft is finally dropping the bottom of the user barrel, the low margin customers so they can move their ecosystem more quickly.

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:57PM (#43057945) Homepage

        Are you kidding. It's the A users that are the ones that can actually tolerate this absurdly fast release cycle. They can tolerate it because they don't really do anything. So there is far less chance that any reversion will bugger them.

        The B users are going to be f*cked up by this nonsense because they are trying to use everything and have all sorts of inter-dependencies. Reversions caused by too many versions too quickly will CLOBBER these "bread and butter" end users.

        Profitable "Enterprise" users are the ones that like to cling to old versions because the cost of an outtage is too high.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          The B users are going to be f*cked up by this nonsense because they are trying to use everything and have all sorts of inter-dependencies. Reversions caused by too many versions too quickly will CLOBBER these "bread and butter" end users.

          Maybe. They are going to have to keep their suite together. This is tricky and difficult. On the other hand they take advantage of new features. I agree the (a)'s won't be bothered as much but they aren't profitable right now.

          Profitable "Enterprise" users are the one

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:19PM (#43057339)

    Last place I worked upgraded from Office 2003 in 2011. And that was mostly because some of our clients were making snarky comments about our ancient software. The absolute last thing a corporation wants is software that is constantly changing. Every minor change throws the oldsters (generally anyone 5 years younger than me and up) into a tizzy because the rote memorization they used to "learn" the old version doesn't work any more.

    • There is nothing wrong with Office 2003. It's a utility. There are few features in the newer versions that make doing your job faster, more accurate, or cheaper.

      • There is nothing wrong with Office 2003. It's a utility. There are few features in the newer versions that make doing your job faster, more accurate, or cheaper.

        Not where I am contracting as it is a big headache!

        One of the VPs read something about the cloud and Office 365 and decided to layoff the Exchange support team and outsource it to Microsoft with outlook.com. Problem is about 500+ users in 4 continents still used Outlook 2003 when the switch went thru.

        No email or calandar functions for these users! They need a browser and about 200 called the India help desk at the same time for instructions. +5 hour wait time.

        FYI outlook 2003 does not support mapi. Very bad

        • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:14PM (#43057629)

          There is nothing wrong with Office 2003. It's a utility. There are few features in the newer versions that make doing your job faster, more accurate, or cheaper.

          Not where I am contracting as it is a big headache!

          One of the VPs read something about the cloud and Office 365 and decided to layoff the Exchange support team and outsource it to Microsoft with outlook.com. Problem is about 500+ users in 4 continents still used Outlook 2003 when the switch went thru.

          No email or calandar functions for these users! They need a browser and about 200 called the India help desk at the same time for instructions. +5 hour wait time.

          FYI outlook 2003 does not support mapi. Very bad things happened and I am working overtime trying to fix it with angry hostile users with +120 tickets a week as it is with only 2 other guys trying to manage the minimalist insourced I.T.

          Staying behind may look cheap and reasonable but tickets and support are skyrocketing and management is all sooo clueless on why is support costs and tickets going up! This software worked fine for 10 years! The social media integration, clouds, and soon HTML 5 versions of SAP, Kronos, Google Docs, Salesforce.com are going to hit those stuck on IE 7 next.

          So it is a hassle so lets plug our ears and whine I CANT HEAR YOU. Shit will hit the fine later but in a surge like at this company that decided to go cheap with the accounting department running through 3 different outsources to do I.T. Office 2003 is surely not a utility when we went to the cloud.

          Sadly, you have completely missed the point. Switching to Office 365 and "the cloud" got you nothing but trouble. And it's not the fault of your "outdated" Office 2003. Once again, someone who is in a position of power, and who doesn't belong there due to their total clulessness, made a gigantic bonehead decision.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Bill if they bought Office 365 for the enterprise (E3 / E4) that includes Outlook licenses.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Methinks you should look at the server side like: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

        There is a lot that 2003 doesn't do that the modern versions do. 2003 is more or less on par with LibreOffice.

  • Postponing costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:22PM (#43057353)

    The problem with the described model (keeping the same software version for years) is that if at some point you're forced to change, that change will be HUGE. Files become unreadable, and anything that's beyond pushing the mouse will require retraining.

    The changes in monthly updates (probably for all software used at a desk) will fit in a medium sized email.

    So by sticking to old software, often you're not saving costs, but rather postpone costs. (Assumed there is an automated rollout tool and you don't have to upgrade a few hundered PCs by sneakernet every time a new browser patch comes out)

    By the way: the lack of centralized software/update management is one of my windows pet peeves. Even the smalles file compare tool tends to clutter your system with a specialized update agent that tends to pop up in the middle of your WOW raids or whatever else causes maximum grieve for you.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      The changes in monthly updates (probably for all software used at a desk) will fit in a medium sized email.

      Most people use only a very small part of the functionality of Office, 90% is common and 10% special but what those 10% are varies from person to person. But when you add up all the changes to those 10%s and put them into an email then you have something with a very high noise-to-signal ratio for most people. Nobody will actually bother to read it, then they're doing that critical end-of-month/quarter/year thing and it doesn't work and shit hits the fan. I don't think you realize how many oddball routines e

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:24PM (#43057361)

    The summary implies it is accountants that keep IT from upgrading, but last time I checked, accounts don't control IT's budget, IT does. There is only so much money available, if IT decides to use it for development or new hardware instead of upgrading Office or Windows, why blame the accountants? Why blame anybody?

    Office used to be called a productivity suite. Since Office 2003, have the end user productivity gains associated with new versions offset the cost to upgrade and retrain? Probably not. Maybe, IT, like the accountants are looking at ROI and finding that there is much more bang for the buck elsewhere in the system than in Office.

    Just a thought.

  • by jonfr (888673) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:38PM (#43057439) Homepage

    This is planned obsolescence. As such it is a bad model as they always are. But this is no surprise at all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence [wikipedia.org]

    • by jbolden (176878)

      No it isn't planned obsolescence. Microsoft needs to start moving changes through their ecosystem much faster.

  • by morcego (260031) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:40PM (#43057451)

    which hurts Windows and Office sales and holds back innovation

    Somehow I fail to see the relation between windows/office sales and holding back innovation.

    Quite the opposite. Maybe they should innovate, getting better products, so people will buy those.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:41PM (#43057463)

    About time! In the rapidly advancing field of spreadsheets and word processing, it's good to know that at least one company is keeping pace with the speed of new ideas by updating their 25+ year old, feature-complete, developmentally mature suite of products every 90 days.

    Yeah.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      They aren't remotely feature complete. For example with spreadsheets compare: http://www.quantrix.com/ [quantrix.com] to Excel. That being said, you are kidding but the last decade has been a decade of rapid advance. Look at the tie ins with Dynamics that exist today, that sort of integrated BI/ERP was very rough around the edges even 5 years ago.

  • That's why I switched to Open Office. I need basic formatting and spell checking, similar for the spread sheets. Microsoft is desperate to stay relevant but 90% of their users have been happy for years so they are running out of reasons to upgrade.
  • MS are idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bored (40072) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:57PM (#43057529)

    Don't they know IBM is still selling mainframes? Wanna know why? Its not because they are these mythic beasts capable of running your IT needs at 100x the performance (they can't) or because they are an inexpensive solution. IBM continues to sell mainframes because its less expensive for big enterprises to rewrite software they have literally spent tens/hundreds of millions of dollars on since the 1960s. They don't have to rewrite that software because a modern mainframe can pretty much still run the same code, and users trained in the 60's,70's, etc, don't need retraining.

    For some reason MS has failed to understand that every time they update their UI, or break some portion of their applications, they upset their core user base which is now business. All the cool trendy people have moved to Apple, the hardcore geeks to linux, the gamers are on ps/xboxes/etc, and the agnostic grandmas are being converted to apple/android devices.

    The only remaining user base is the captive one. If MS continues to make it hard to upgrade, either in the form of retraining, or breaking application compatibility (requiring everyone to upgrade their entire software stack), they will soon be written into the dustbin of failed computer companies.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Look at Microsoft's sales figures. They aren't selling legacy they are selling new features, things they didn't do 10 years ago. Microsoft is making a fortune taking data warehouse business from IBM and Oracle, 10 years ago SQL Server wasn't a player. Microsoft is moving their Office people up to Dynamics, Lync, SharePoint... 10 years ago Microsoft didn't even have an ERP.

      And for the last year Microsoft has made it clear they are moving their interface out of the 1990s.

      • by bored (40072)

        Look at Microsoft's sales figures. They aren't selling legacy they are selling new features

        Thats what they think, but they are wrong. They sell new features on legacy systems. That is a successful model for MS.

        If MS weren't selling legacy, then we would all be running windows on powerpc/itanium, etc. They were selling legacy, because for over a decade they produced products where they went to great lengths to guarantee they didn't break applications. That made them a reasonable platform to invest in for sm

  • by bfwebster (90513) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:04PM (#43057569) Homepage

    Given that Offfice has (IMHO) been getting worse for several years now, the idea of quarterly updates are less than appealing. ..bruce..

  • by some old guy (674482) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:05PM (#43057575)

    No business in its collective right mind makes a major capex, on IT or anything else, until the idea is fully analyzed for ROI and risk..

    Selling an idea or project to upper management is easy. Getting anything new past the bean-keepers is hard.

    Microsoft et al fail when they cannot make a real-numbers business case for upgrade adoption, and Bob's your uncle.

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:17PM (#43057649)

    Look, office suites are way better than my first essay-writer -- wordstar in ~1986 -- which itself was wonderful. And modern office suites are better than my favourite essay-writer -- wordperfect 5 something I think -- with keyboard function key overlay and alt menu drop downs.

    But is there really a difference between office in 2013, and office in 2002? It's been ten years of crazy awesome features that just don't matter.

    Sure I use spreadsheets every day. But not for anything that I didn't do in lotus 123. And sure I use write/word every day. Again, not for anything more than I did with wordperfect.

    I really couldn't care less any more. I'm not using them to fly to the moon.

    • by RDW (41497)

      But is there really a difference between office in 2013, and office in 2002? It's been ten years of crazy awesome features that just don't matter.

      I can now use more rows in Excel, but that's about the only change I've liked since Office 2000. Lots of irritating interface changes since then, but the fundamental annoyances are never addressed - Excel's auto conversion of any text that looks vaguely like a date into date format, silently corrupting the data unless you go out of your way to format the column as text only, is my absolute favourite:

      http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/5/80 [biomedcentral.com]

  • It is frustrating to see so many of them still on IE 7, XP, and Office 2003,

    Not half as fraustrating as it the people doing it.. And why is this still happening?

    1. Microsoft spent a lot of time pushing tools that made such poor code that it will not work on modern browsers.

    2. For years they relied that there was "no alternative" to what they had persuaded professional suit wearers was the only option.

    3. Not every version of Windows is worth upgrading to.

    And so on. I am sure people here can think of lots of other reasons they have not upgraded to Office 2007 or Vista and are still

  • It could be a good move if MS used a stable standard file format, but since they always slightly breake backward compatibility, the more upgrade we get, the more mess we have.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      It could be a good move if MS used a stable standard file format, but since they always slightly breake backward compatibility, the more upgrade we get, the more mess we have.

      Oh really? So far as I know, nothing has broken backward compatibility for the Office document formats since Office 2007.

      Sure, they have introduced new features into newer versions of Office. Older versions of Office that didn't include those features won't recognize them. But that doesn't prevent the documents from opening in the earlier version -- you just get an error message. But if you create a document in Office 2013 that only uses features that were present in Office 2007, it will open just fine in O

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        Oh really? So far as I know, nothing has broken backward compatibility for the Office document formats since Office 2007.

        If you have people using different versions of Office, you can always open the document from your peers, but you get myriad small issues. The document never looks exactly the same.

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          If you have people using different versions of Office, you can always open the document from your peers, but you get myriad small issues. The document never looks exactly the same.

          I wouldn't say that's always the case. And is it a problem with the file format or with the software? If web pages don't look right in Internet Explorer, is that HTML's fault? How about if an HTML5 web page doesn't look right in Firefox 2.0? I wouldn't say a program "breaks" compatibility with a file format change unless the new files can't be opened by the older software. If the old software can open the file, but it looks just a little off, I wouldn't call that breakage.

  • Vendor lock-in (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abelb (1365345) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:45PM (#43057861)
    Microsoft wants everyone on the planet to pay it every month for the right to use a computer. Who wouldn't, really? Microsoft has proven it cannot be trusted maintaining interoperability with formal or other standards or even previous versions of their own software. Why would you trust that every update to Office 365 will be in your best interest when Microsoft has proven time and again that they'll make major changes just to shift the goal posts on competitors trying to interoperate with them? If a large majority of people get on board with this it will put Microsoft in an incredible position of power to keep them locked in and competitors locked out.
  • Every company is getting way too fucking greedy, forcing upgrading when it's *really* not necessary (who needs anything since Office 2000?), general computing is going the way of the dodo in favor of Apple-esque walled gardens, every laptop has turned into a glorified VCR with shit-for-keyboards, every awesome technological development is shut down for bullshit legal reasons because paper pushing middleman jackass wouldn't get his cut for doing something useless and obviated by technology...

    Remember when te

    • by Maow (620678)

      Every company is getting way too fucking greedy, forcing upgrading when it's *really* not necessary (who needs anything since Office 2000?), general computing is going the way of the dodo in favor of Apple-esque walled gardens, every laptop has turned into a glorified VCR with shit-for-keyboards, every awesome technological development is shut down for bullshit legal reasons because paper pushing middleman jackass wouldn't get his cut for doing something useless and obviated by technology...

      Remember when tech companies used to do things because they were genuinely useful?

      Fuck this whole damn planet, we can't get to Mars soon enough and establish a technocracy ruled by logic, science and reason.

      Yeah, OK, that rant was a little off topic, so I'll balance it out by signing off with, fuck you Microsoft with your bullshit greed-based business models.

      I agree with (most of?) your point(s), but that technocracy? Most humans wouldn't be eligible (yeah, I know, that's the point), and the rest would eventually disqualify themselves too, I'm afraid to say.

      It'd end up a fairly barren location once everyone was exiled for failing to maintain logic, science, and reason.

      *sigh*, this thought about utopia has been brought to you by "human frailty".

  • by Radical Moderate (563286) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @10:14PM (#43058043)
    ....This Is a Phenomenally Stupid Idea chorus. You want to make Enterprise happy?
    1. Release a new version no less every two years, three years even better
    2. Backwards compatibility? Yes please, unless there's a good reason otherwise
    3. Don't juggle all the menus just to give a few hundred programmers busy work
    4. Don't randomly change keyboard shortcuts just for the hell of it. Sure maybe the old ones made no sense. Neither will the new ones, and millions of us have already memorized the old ones.

    Sure, we got spoiled by XP's ridiculous longevity, and you still managed to bork Vista. Please, don't saddle yourself and us with arbitrary release targets.
  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @10:32PM (#43058145)
    In word processing, spreadsheet, database, email, etc? There have been very few features since Office 97 I even use. Newer templates and fonts, maybe. The only office product that can seriously expand would be Visio. You can always use more shapes. What else would they add? Rearrange the commands for the 40th time? Add lol to spellcheck? One thing the could reintroduce: scanner support.
  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @10:36PM (#43058175)
    Microsoft Office 2013¼
  • Hopefully they'll go for incremental and benign changes to the UI instead of massive change-for-the-sake-of-change that seems to be hurting all my customers.
  • Twenty years ago MS had a good wordprocessor.

    I had much less hassle back in the floppy disk era; WordStar and WordPerfect, even Word v5. Took me 10 minutes to format a book. Now I have to spend hours stripping crap out of the files to get clean logically organised text before I can do anything with it.

    Since then they've added gigabytes of features, and made it harder and harder to use correctly.

    I deal with documents made by a lot of people, smart people, professors, managers, engineers. Not one has ever

  • by devent (1627873) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:07AM (#43060889) Homepage

    What are you expect of "innovation" in a word processor?
    Word processors were pretty much feature complete 20 years ego.
    Just look at Latex, the basic functions were finalized in 1978.

    The only "innovation" is new and unnecessary changes in the user interface and new document formats.
    With Odf we should have now an international format for documents and Pdf for exchange of finished documents.

    Except the new document formats like Odf and OOXML, why should anyone buy in a 90 days release cycle of a Word Processor?

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