Weekend tech reading: Why would anybody buy Microsoft Office these days?

By on June 20, 2010, 1:28 PM
Why would anybody buy Microsoft Office these days (video)? The conventional wisdom is that Microsoft is jeopardizing one of its biggest cash cows, its traditional Office software, by releasing its free, browser-based Office Web Apps along with the Office 2010 suite in an attempt to fend off Google Docs and other online programs. TechFlash

AT&T randomly cancelling iPhone 4 pre-orders? The saga continues. A reader forwarded us this note he got from AT&T, simply stating that his iPhone 4 preorder had been cancelled, for no apparent reason. And he's not the only one. Updated: More cancellations, including some from Apple. Gizmodo

AMD image quality beats competition by up to 87% in HQV 2.0 The latest ATI Catalyst 10.6 drivers supposedly "strengthen the company's leadership position in image quality as measured by the HQV Benchmark, Version 2.0. AMD scored 48 percent better than the competition in discrete graphics and up to 87 percent better than the competition in integrated graphics." AMD

A newbie's take on E3 Freshly back from my first E3, I can now view my time there with rose-tinted glasses. There were entertaining press conferences, an uncountable number of playable demos, and legions of excited gamers who spent hours in long lines to get a first crack at new games and hardware. CNET

Infamous 'Red Ring of Death' replaced with 'Red Dot of Death' on new Xbox You'll never see the dreaded "Red Ring of Death" the flashing red rings that denote a system failure again if you buy the new, slimmed-down version of the Xbox 360. That said, there's always a chance you'll see a telltale "Red Dot of Death" instead. Yahoo News




User Comments: 26

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raybay said:

Anybody who uses a computer in a company, or government organization likely needs Microsoft Office to do their job.

For students and individuals, there are Open Office 3.2.1, WordPerfect, and many other packages that will read Microsoft Office files.

Where we find the greatest difficulty, is when the user needs to read and communicate with a Version of Microsoft Access. There are few compatible programs for Access that fully work as intended.

Guest said:

A too high risk for a so small saving.

Once upon a time, I had only WordPerfect on my PC. It worked fine for writing letters, but my resume, saved either in a MS Word format or in rtf, formatted so badly that practically was unreadable in MS Word that all recruiters and companies use.

gobbybobby said:

As a student I took advantage of the £30 offer for office 07 and have been Beta Testing Office 10. However scre buying it, even for £30, the days of M$ office are numbered. Office 10 offers no really good feactures and TBH I might go back to office 2000 becuase since then Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 have all been buggy in my experiance.

On the ATaT story, y would they be cancelling pre orders? maybe apple going to delay the release. But the blaim game thing. Very odd.

AS for the RRoD story. We all know y they changed it to a red dot right? Becuase then it not covered by 3 year RRoD warrenty, if the failure rate is low (and I mean below 2%) then I all for this. Personally by Xbox 360 I got xmas 2007, RRoD once, had motherboard replaced I assume to a newer better one, this was late 2008, it worked since, I prob buy/ save up and buy Slim if my current one broke.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

AMD image quality beats competition by up to 43% (discrete) 87% (IGP) in HQV 2.0 Classic PR BS...thanks for the press release.

Highly impressive that a benchmark, undertaken and "observed" by an AMD "reviewer" should score so well for AMD against it's "competitor". Obviously the AMD disclaimer needs a smaller font:

HQV 2.0 is a tool used by AMD to evaluate video playback quality. HQV 2.0 provides visual feedback for scoring by the AMD reviewer. Scores may vary based on the skill and opinion of the reviewer.

Since it certainly needs to clarify how the benchmark is applied and that both AMD and it's "competitor" [link] - this of course done independantly and not by said AMD reviewer.

I wonder if Intel know that their on-die graphics+dual core CPU is getting beaten down by an IGP+ quad core with greater memory bandwidth?

tonylukac said:

I thought the red ring of death on the xbox 360 was that the dvd-rom scratched a ring into the game media. I maybe wrong or is yahoo a yahoo?

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

RROD -or more accurately 0.75 of the RROD is hardware failure-most likely GPU. All four segments flashing I think means that the AV cable is not connected properly.

[link]

Guest said:

I'm going to comment here because if you plan to work in corporate or big/medium business, even non-profits and small business, Microsoft office is a time-saver and "THE" power user's tool. You have to think that microsoft office is an "investment", and the more you get familiar with it, the more you will be better prepared after college.

Because trust me, you will be using it dayin/day out, especially outlook, which there is no opensource comparison...period. Take advantage of technet or student program to get cheap MS software. I can't tell you how many people I had to train/retrain, because they were using openoffice/thunderbird in school, and they were not up to speed/fell behind the rest of the group in terms of being productive.

yes you can get openoffice for free, but unless you start using it for business, is when you hit into a wall because there are thousands of third party excel macros and office add-ins that save you more time. And more time saved pays for itself.

Understand that MSoffice is not an idealogy or "the man", it's simply the best tool for the job which is why is is used in business. Trust me, we tried the whole openoffice thing, it was a disaster. People were bringing in their own laptops w/office, rather than work with openoffice everyday, so we had to go back. Also msoffice can export as ODT (with sun addon)

Again, it's a tool not an idealogy.

ITguy

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

KitGuru also did an HQV comparison recently (http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/hqv-
enchmark-2-0-analysis-ati-nvidia-and-intel/), which gave similar results to what AMD is claiming.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Thanks for the link ET3D, I was onboard with dividebyzero's opinion that taking press release info from AMD on a ATI vs nVidia quailty is like letting the fox guard the hen house. The impressive test results coupled with XFX not offering any 400 series seals the deal that my next upgrade will be Radeon.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Sweet.

Pity the two-months-old site couldn't have expounded on the settings used past the All new-All dancing Cat 10.6.

I'd also wonder at the fact that kit-guru has quickly gained a rep similar to Fudzilla...unsurprising really since in two months they/he has managed to put up ten AMD card reviews and their first ever article was a puff-piece softball interview with Terry Makedon. The other side of the coin is this somehow is rated "news" -but contains nothing newsworthy, and Peter "Shamino" Tan's name apparently means "little *****" in Italian ! (as far as I'm aware "little *****" translates to piccolo fessi or piccolo idiota and could be used in a sentence thus: "lo Zardon un piccolo fessi/idiota".

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Even to Someone Who Frequently Strays Far Afield of Topic....

On the ATaT story, y would they be cancelling pre orders? maybe apple going to delay the release. But the blaim game thing. Very odd.

AS for the RRoD story. We all know y they changed it to a red dot right? Becuase then it not covered by 3 year RRoD warrenty, if the failure rate is low (and I mean below 2%) then I all for this. Personally by Xbox 360 I got xmas 2007, RRoD once, had motherboard replaced I assume to a newer better one, this was late 2008, it worked since, I prob buy/ save up and buy Slim if my current one broke.

AMD image quality beats competition by up to 43% (discrete) 87% (IGP) in HQV 2.0 Classic PR BS...thanks for the press release.

Highly impressive that a benchmark, undertaken and "observed" by an AMD "reviewer" should score so well for AMD against it's "competitor". Obviously the AMD disclaimer needs a smaller font:

Since it certainly needs to clarify how the benchmark is applied and that both AMD and it's "competitor" [link] - this of course done independantly and not by said AMD reviewer.

I wonder if Intel know that their on-die graphics+dual core CPU is getting beaten down by an IGP+ quad core with greater memory bandwidth?

I thought the red ring of death on the xbox 360 was that the dvd-rom scratched a ring into the game media. I maybe wrong or is yahoo a yahoo?

RROD -or more accurately 0.75 of the RROD is hardware failure-most likely GPU. All four segments flashing I think means that the AV cable is not connected properly.

[link]

KitGuru also did an HQV comparison recently ( [link] ), which gave similar results to what AMD is claiming.

Thanks for the link ET3D, I was onboard with dividebyzero's opinion that taking press release info from AMD on a ATI vs nVidia quailty is like letting the fox guard the hen house. The impressive test results coupled with XFX not offering any 400 series seals the deal that my next upgrade will be Radeon.

None of this makes any sense whatsoever in a thread about M$ Office.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

None of this makes any sense whatsoever in a thread about M$ Office.

How did I miss being off topic?? I must be off my game

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

I can't understand why ANYONE would use MS office these days when there are so many good and FREE alternatives out there like openoffice.org I can't even remember the last time I purchased productivity software. There has been FREE and LEGAL open source alternative programs that not only can't be beaten in price, but the features are often superior to their commercial rivals.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

tedster, anyone who's not a power user can indeed make do with free alternatives. But try to do something a little bit demanding, and the free suites fail. At home I don't have Office installed (even though I have a license), because I don't need it, and prefer other solutions for ideological reasons. At work I needed really large spreadsheets at some points, and I tried several open source spreadsheets, none of which managed to open the CSV files that MS Office could, and most handled even smaller spreadsheets much (much) more slowly than MS Office did.

I've heard similar comments from other MS Office users who've tried free office suites, be that for word processing or presentations. The free suites aren't bad, and as I said good for undemanding users, but the Microsoft solution is more polished.

Guest said:

@M$

Come on you guys, the "m$" moniker is getting REALLY old. What next, $afeway? Nike $hoes Link$y$? See what I mean? You don;t have to like Ballmer to Like Microsoft office. Just like I don;t care about Mark Hurd (HP CEO) to like HP printers. You don't have to like Stallman to like Ubuntu. Please separate the company/officers from the products.

@ Teddy

I'm a professional carpenter, If someone told me a hammer and nail is better than a professional "patented" brad nailer design, am I not given the "choice" to use what's best for my company? Especially if it saves me time and money and makes me more productive? Do I care that someone thinks that hammer/nail is best because it's "free" patent idealogy or shouldn't I use the best tool for the job that makes my life easier? I also like to mow my lawn, should I use a "free" reel mower design and spend hours mowing the frakking lawn, or is a patented multiblade electric mower much better?

Just like people have choice to use free software, there is also choice to use paid/commercial software. It's what business uses, and power users who don't want to waste time. And again, unless you used it in a business environment (I'm talking salesforce/access/quickbooks/fedex/outlook/facebook integration) you wouldn't understand it.

I just don't understand why so much zealotry in the software realm (especially what OS you use), they are just software/tools not a religion. I really don't care what you use at home, but when people hijack forums and say use "xxx" because "it's free", screw "xxx" software maker they the big man blah blah blah, I'm like huh?

Guest said:

@gobbybobby "Office 10 offers no really good features and TBH I might go back to office 2000 because since then Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 have all been buggy in my experience"

Stop trolling. And besides, why stop there, why not bust out your commodore 64 and PFS works? After all (according to you) software companies exist to make ONE version of software and should support it forever?

raybay said:

Microsoft continues to market Office because it is an incredible cash cow. It has been buggy in every issuance: Office, Office 97, Office 2000, Office 2001, Office 2002, Office 2003, Office 2007, and now Office 2010.

But the world needs a system that everybody in the loop can rely upon, whether spreadsheets, powerpoint, publisher, word processing, spread sheets, or a database.

Microsoft got there first and bought up all the patents.

Sure there is other software out there that does all these things. But no other software allows or encourages the communication from desk to desk, city to city, and country to country.

Complaining about Microsoft is a waste of time. And there are competing products out there for a low price.

I know entire companies and large church organizations who use only Office 2000 and it does everything they need, when used with the free "power update" add-on's anybody can download free from Microsoft.

Entire European and Asian countries have banned Microsoft for official use.

There should be a lot of money out there for anybody who can design a suite that does everything that Microsoft Office can do, at a much lower cost... while still communicating and translating with Microsoft products.

But nobody has done anything but ***** about Microsoft yet.

So why should Microsoft change?

I expect Google will make a big difference to Microsoft Office over the next ten years.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@M$

Come on you guys, the "m$" moniker is getting REALLY old. What next, $afeway? Nike $hoes Link$y$? See what I mean?

Good one..! In the case of Nike $hoes, that is entirely appropriate. Wasn't the news all over then for running sweatshops in China...? Oh BTW, "see what I mean", is an "oxymoron".

I just don't understand why so much zealotry in the software realm (especially what OS you use), they are just software/tools not a religion. I really don't care what you use at home, but when people hijack forums and say use "xxx" because "it's free", screw "xxx" software maker they the big man blah blah blah, I'm like huh?
You seem to be a bit too eager to accept the, "newer is better" ideology", foisted off on us by manufacturers.

There is quite a bit of truth to both sides of this story. Take for example "Adobe Photoshop Elements". For a number of years this program has been a cash cow for Adobe. But the newest version, "Photoshop Elements 8", is a bloated pig of a crash generator. Also, they have gone to offshore development, and away from a M$ data base engine, to the open source, "SQLite".

There's a lesson there, Adobe apparently can spot a "bargain" buy using"freeware" and cheap labor, yet they haven't reduced the price of the product, and have made it worse in the process. So, I propose that we start referring to them as "Adobe $oftware".

For all intents and purposes M$ Vista was the beta for "Windows 7", and yet the price was the same. So perhaps we should skip the latest version of M$ "Office" too, just to keep the company honest.

One last thought;

I'm a professional carpenter, If someone told me a hammer and nail is better than a professional "patented" brad nailer design, am I not given the "choice" to use what's best for my company? Especially if it saves me time and money and makes me more productive? Do I care that someone thinks that hammer/nail is best because it's "free" patent idealogy or shouldn't I use the best tool for the job that makes my life easier? I also like to mow my lawn, should I use a "free" reel mower design and spend hours mowing the frakking lawn, or is a patented multiblade electric mower much better?
With the prices that professional carpenters expect to be paid for their services, you better damned well come early with a nail gun. You're probably partly responsible for the demise of the housing industry. For Myself, I'm going to head out to "Harbor Freight and Salvage", and grab me one of them thar, open source Chinese nail guns, and avoid "Hilti" at all costs.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

@ M$ Office

We have Office 2003 and OpenOffice on several computers at work here, and I have actually found that a good chunk of files print better from OpenOffice. I do Large format printing, and seem to get people using Power Point to setup 24 x 36 posters and such. I have better luck converting them to a pdf to print with OpenOffice as apposed to M$ Power Point. Kinda ironic.

Guest said:

@torturedchaos

MSoffice 2003/MSoffice 2007 does not include or responsible for including a PDF printing utility. You may need to change the pdf printer driver you are using, try bullzip or cutepdf with later ghostcript runtime support. And change advanced NT printer port properties from RAW to NT EMF (YMMV) of course. Or Try using native XPS format. There's also third party software for windows to create posters from within any application, it will do it in such a way to prevent memory over-run errors. Our local printshop prints large format posters all the time without converting to powerpoint.

Maybe you should look at your configuration.

@captaincranky "harborfreight" Harbor freight Oh yeah! It's like candyland! (props brotha!)

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

I would beg to differ. I have written tons of stuff to include a book and research using OO. I cannot justify purchasing MS office or any other office suite. But to each his own. If you prefer to spend your money go right ahead.

Tedster Tedster, Techspot old timer....., said:

@ "guesty".... do you prefer childish names with people you disagree with? Come on.... lets not lower ourselves to four year old baby talk. Use Ted or Tedster (my handle).... at least I bothered to sign in. As I replied to the previous person, if you prefer to spend your money on name brand stuff when there are suitable generics then fine- that's your $. Personally i wouldn't waste or squander my own money. And in this case, I find the generic - openoffice.org - far superior to the name brand.

Guest said:

@teddy. The question isn't whether OO can do book reports, it can do many things well. The question is, why would anybody buy Microsoft office these days? And if you can't find a reason to that question, then 'obviously' you don't need it.

But saying MSoffice shouldn't exist at all is the absolute wrong answer. There is a reason why msoffice 'still' exists, and is still the most popular suite with business. Msoffice is a platform in of itself. It not only integrates with windows/mac and itself, but a ton of third party software.

Hey I know I can use newspaper "for free" instead of an umbrella, but I prefer an umbrella. Does that mean umbrellas shouldn't exist? See what i mean? (no offense).

Personally for home use, I find Softmaker office 2006 "free version" (2008 if you dig around) a MUCH better alternative than OO. It has way better cross-platform DOC/XLS compatibility, more intuitive, takes up less resources than OO, and opens up WAY faster.

http://www.softmakeroffice.com/

As for "paying", is it not an investment in your own business? Most companies pay more in coffee cups and toilet paper than the cost of a one-time or yearly subscription) to windows/msoffice. Editing repository files and configure/make/install is not something everyday people want to be doing when running a business, especially when you factor in time/money.

in business "I can't do that" or "there is no solution right now" is not going to cut it. In business, everybody wants things done yesterday, especially virtual documents or "deliverables". This is why windows/mac is popular for desktop OS. It's not that people don't know about Linux. It's that Linux desktop as it stands now, simply doesn't meet all their long-term needs.

There are no men-in-black forcing big business to go microsoft or mac. The msoffice product stands on it's own merits.

Guest said:

@tedster, forgive me I should have used your proper name. But again, OO has no outlook equivalent, so you can't really make a direct comparison (apples+oranges really).

TJGeezer said:

@captaincranky - '"see what I mean", is an "oxymoron".' In what sense is that common idiom an oxymoron? And while I'm asking, why do you put inappropriate quotation marks around the legitimate word "oxymoron"? (If you don't understand why my use of quotation marks was correct and yours was not, you might consider not issuing usage criticisms at all. Just a suggestion.)

I use MS Office because I have a legal license and it is the industry standard. In a heavily edited document, nothing gets lost or displays in misleading ways in Word, as it sometimes does in OpenOffice, for example. And I can use it when the local Mexican broadband goes down, unlike cloud-based word processors.

I use MS Office 2010 because it loads much faster in Windows 7 than Word 2007 did, and I like the way it links up to Skydrive. I like DOCX files because they're significantly smaller than DOC files.

Once I finish retiring (if I ever do) and start writing only for myself, hell, I might go back to DOS 5 and write in PC Write. I liked the way that old editor worked and I think I still have a copy of it archived somewhere. Maybe I'll haul out the old Olympia typewriter and use that. And it'll be nobody's business but my own if I do. But in the meantime, there's an industry standard called MS Office, it is a very well designed product that deserved to be made the standard, and I expect I'll continue to use it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@captaincranky - '"see what I mean", is an "oxymoron".' In what sense is that common idiom an oxymoron? And while I'm asking, why do you put inappropriate quotation marks around the legitimate word "oxymoron"? (If you don't understand why my use of quotation marks was correct and yours was not, you might consider not issuing usage criticisms at all. Just a suggestion.).
The common expression, "see what I mean", becomes an oxymoron, since (to me at least) it requires a visual indication of a stated concept. For example, you and I are standing in a field and you point to a barn. "The barn is red" says you, "see what I mean"! In this context, "see what I mean" is not an oxymoron. But without the visual aid, methinks it is.

Then there's, "see what I'm saying", which is always incontestably an oxymoron.

And please don't tell me what to post.

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