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Microsoft Businesses Software Upgrades IT

A New Version of MS Office Every 90 Days 292

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 TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> 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 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.
  • by JJJJust ( 908929 ) <JJJJust AT gmail DOT com> 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 girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:01PM (#43057547)

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

    The only reason why Microsoft Office sells is because that's what people are used to. If you've ever attempted to retrain your workforce to use a new technology, you'll realize that those costs dwarf anything that can be saved in the short-term by switching to a lower per-unit cost solution.

    That's the only thing keeping Microsoft Office alive, really: Retraining costs. If you could build a clone of Office that looked like it and had everything in the same place, and was cheaper, that would be the end of Office in a second. Which is precisely why copyright law was extended to software: User interface makes up a smaller percentage of code than the stuff that goes on behind it, often by a considerable margin. If you could just "Xerox" the interface, you'd side-step the re-training costs.

    Companies would be forced to compete based on feature set, reliability, and cost, instead of looks.

    Ah, copyright... protecting innovation. Yup. Mmm-hmm. Has nothing to do with "our customers would bail like a sinking ship on fire with shit raining from above" if not for these "look and feel" laws. See also: China. They don't have a problem with copying interfaces... and as a result, things there sell for pennies on the dollar to comparable products here.

  • 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.
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,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 ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Sunday March 03, 2013 @03:01AM (#43059313) Journal

    Driverless cars, Street View, Person Finder, Sky Maps et al, Fusion Tables/Trends etc, Goggles, Glass etc.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN