Bill Bennett


Office 2010 no, Word 2010 maybe

Do you need the new version of Microsoft Office? After reading about today’s Office 2010 launch, I doubt I will upgrade. But I may need Word 2010.

Office 2010’s new feature list fails to interest me.

It’s a long list of things I don’t need.

For example, I don’t need SharePoint integration. I can’t use SQL or the Office Communications Server.

I’ve stopped using Outlook. So anything new there passes me by.

Outlook doesn’t make sense for a single user when Gmail is so much easier.

I’d rather slash my wrists than inflict PowerPoint on anyone.

Much as I admire Excel, I barely use it. The Office 2007 version is more than enough. If I’m stuck, Google Spreadsheets can ride to my rescue.

Word 2010

Word is different. I use Word 2007 daily. I’m a journalist. My word processing needs are basic.

I don’t use mail merge or do anything fancy involving macros. I’ve never used cross-references, indexing, or end-notes.

For me, Word is a sledgehammer cracking a nut.

I certainly don’t need any more Word features.

In fact, I’d prefer fewer.

For all its allegedly user friendly face, Word is a complex mishmash of fancy new gadgets and clunky old bits which still don’t work as expected and barely work with each other.

The extra graphic handling features in Word 2010 mean nothing to me. Word’s fussy auto-formatting makes my blood boil. The safety features are also annoying.

If I need to collaborate on documents – which happens in at least two of my regular freelance jobs – I use Google Docs. It’s a lousy word-processor, but a great way to share.

Despite all this, I still may shell out for Word, simply because it is a tool of my trade. I’m comfortable working in Word. Moving to an alternative would be a small financial investment, but a huge investment in terms of training.

I’ve found over the years it pays to stay up-to-date with Word because sooner or later I run in to compatibility problems.

Which sums things up. I don’t need Office 2010. I may need Word 2010, but not yet.

No upgrade discount

All of which makes Microsoft’s decision to charge everyone full price for the software look like a dumb move. Lord knows there’s little enough incentive to upgrade, but to make users pay a premium rather than offer discounted upgrade prices will make the buying decision far easier for many users.

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