The Impending Death Of Microsoft Office

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1 Response

  1. Andy Foreman says:

    I liked reading your post and I do agree with virtually everything you had to say, and the facts that you pointed out are all valid. But you also missed a big "side" of the issue with Office – thats the developer side stuff.

    Now I dont mean the Stanford Magna Cum Laude graduate in Compute Science developer side – I mean the millions of average developers out there who are pretty good at things like VBA, a couple database systems, etc. The people who "do" other jobs, but need at times to program things. These folks have come to love VBA and as a consultant who serves many of them, let me assure you that some of my bigger clients are already scrambling to find an Office replacement. Why?

    Simple answers: First, VSTO. Its horrible to work with, very poorly documented, the web has some "help" out there but no where near enough, and many of those providing "help" in fact, provide nothing more than links to links, where more links eventually take you to nowhere.

    The problem is also more systemic – Microsoft LOVES complexity and for people like my clients, CPAs, Actuaries, Beneficiary managers, etc – these people HATE complexity. When Excel and Word could be driven by VBA it was a tough learning curve for lots of them, but they made it – now looking at VSTO, well, as I had one client say to me; "Why would I spend weeks to get a simple spreadsheet done, when I used to be able to do it in an hour or so?"

    Its also worth pointing out that 95% of my clients (over 100 of them) are NOT going to Office 2007 and in fact, most hate it. Its ugly, they hate the ribbon, and they hate that there was NO need to change the interface, but MS just does these things and only wakes up when it flops later (think Windows Vista). Worse, those technical enough to understand the underlying file format has changed seem to believe thats all that Office 2007 was about – allowing MS to have the XML standard by once again shoving something down the marketplaces throat and hoping they will swallow it.

    For me, as a former developer and now management consultant, I am just stunned, absolutely stunned at how Microsoft has well, screwed itself. They just dont seem to understand that small and medium businesses are out there by the thousands and they are getting tired of lousy support, horrible documentation, vacuous new "features", and endless happy-rubbing between bloggers who all turn out to be Microsoft employees or consultants. (As though their happy blogging is going to fool us all into buying MS Office no matter what it is…)

    Amazing really – back about 20 years ago Microsoft had it all – good products, well scaled, good support, and populated by people who seemed to care about end-users. Now? Bloated products that look horrible, dont work, are horribly documented, support that doesnt support, and worst of the worst – a generation of young people who seem to adore complexity where simplicity would more than do the job.

    I have often wondered if the techies in Redmond clean their fingernails with a backhoe. Sure, the rest of the world uses a simple nail file – but Redmond seems to love power and complexity…

    …of course, try cleaning your nails with a backhoe and then tell me which is more efficient…

    Simplicity or Complexity simply for the sake of being complex. Answer should be obvious, but Microsoft continues to try to turn this on its head – and I think this spells only one thing…

    The end of Microsoft’s products and soon, MS itself. I would speculate what MS will have on its tombstone, but then, a tombstone is too simple and effective for Microsoft, so I am sure they will have some 50,000 foot digital display saying "Here lies Microsoft: we never did anything the easy way".