MS screwed up really badly with Office 2007, it forced a pointless UI on users without the usual option to use the older one. Why? Damn good question, and I have no clue as to the answer. More importantly, they put in a pointless new file format to lock out competition. This one means headaches for anyone using the new suite.
MS has historically broken the saving of older file formats, the rather pathetic 'bug' in Office 97 Word being one of the most egregious. Microsoft screws users in order to force upgrades, you are roadkill on the highway to higher margins. This time, the older file formats are more or less documented, so it it time for a change, if you don't like it, tough.
The problem for Microsoft is that Office 2007 it taking off like a lead balloon. Companies are balking at the training costs, the file format changes are about as welcome as rabid weasels on genitalia, and then there is the added costs of purchase and deployment.
The firm put out the usual "It is selling better than even we could have hoped for" PR BS, and then they shut up. I guess after the original surge of early adopter sales, things dropped off. Now the fact that they won't mention sales is much more telling than any numbers, everyone tells me sales are in the gutter.
Even the people who are getting it for 'free' with the various licensing agreements are hesitating to deploy it, the added costs are not worth it. Like I said, lead balloons and rabid weasels.
So what is the solution? It hit me a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to some Sun engineers at CeBIT, Open Office fixes all of the Office 2007 ills. It has the 'old' interface, is free in both senses of the term, and has no problems with file formats. It will read and write the old MS formats and better yet, is compliant with the governmental regulations of Massachusetts and the pending ones in Minnesota, Texas and California.
So basically the choice is yours, Office 2007 or Open Office. The latter is free, unencumbered, familiar to user and compatible. The former is brutally expensive, locks you in, exposes you to revenue enhancing audits, requires extensive expensive retraining, has file conversion headaches, and is a security nightmare.
If you sit down and evaluate the two programs on merit, you would have to be insane to go with Office 2007. Microsoft programs and the attendant problems they cause are simply not worth it anymore. Once you get off the lock in train, things only get better. µ
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