Microsoft’s latest Office suite a clunky combination of bad UI decisions and sluggish performance

Apple Store USA“Office 2010 is clunky — that’s the first word that comes to mind as I meander around the recently leaked official beta release (build 14.0.4514.1007, for those keeping score). The default color scheme is a ghastly gradient gray blur, while the new Outlook Scenic Ribbon toolbar is a disorganized mess,” Randall C. Kennedy reports for InfoWorld. “But most important, Office 2010 is slow.”

“Is Microsoft running out of ideas? Is it so desperate to keep the cash cow’s udders full that it’s resorted to simply reshuffling the Office bits every few years and calling it a new release? Based on my experiences with this and earlier builds of version 2010, I’m inclined to answer yes,” Kennedy reports.

Kennedy reports, “The idea well has finally run dry in Redmond. Maybe they can borrow a cup or two from their contemporaries down in Cupertino.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s done quite enough stealing from Apple already, thanks.

BTW, these are the people who want you to pay them way too much for their bloated, disorganized mess:

Not everyone wants a machine that’s been washed with unicorn tears. – David Webster, Microsoft’s general manager for brand marketing, commenting on Mac users, April 4, 2009.
Paying an extra $500 for a computer… $500 more to get a logo on it? – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, insinuating that the only difference between a Mac and a Windows PC is the Apple logo – March 20, 2009

While the “You’re a Fscking Idiot, Now Buy My Software” is an interesting sales tactic, its efficacy may be suspect.

We have long been 100% Microsoft-free and shall remain so ad infinitum. Do you really need Microsoft Office? Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’09 trial a try and find out for yourself.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dev” for the heads up.]

45 Comments

  1. I agree with the overall sentiment and I would stop using all of their software, but for large, complicated, linked spreadsheets Numbers can’t keep up. The speed on an 8 core MacPro with tons of memory, HD, etc. comes to a crawl in Numbers. And no, I do not want to break up the workbook. Turbocharge Numbers and I’m there.

  2. @mac-daddio. Great statement nothing is compatible with M$ Office. Not even M$ Office is compatible. The number of times I received a doc, xls or ppt that looked different on my system than on the sender system, it’s amazing.

    I’ll stay with Framemaker for documents. Shame Adobe stopped Mac support for this one.

  3. Your post illustrates what the matter is, with regard to Micosoft’s inability to write useful software, that only gets better with time.

    You, and millions like you are stuck with Office, because it is the de facto standard, even though every iteration brings a whole new set of problems.

    I’m willing to wager that if Microsoft were to scale back on Word, in order to produce a basic word processor for home consumers, it would prove to be a popular app, even among enterprise, but unfortunately we know that is not their target market.

    Their last attempt to appeal to consumers resulted in Microsoft Bob.

  4. > Do you really need Microsoft Office? Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’09 trial a try and find out for yourself.

    Unfortunately for the readers of the linked article, since it’s about Office for Windows, they’ll have to Get a Mac first, then “Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’09 trial a try.”

  5. I have the great displeasure of having to use office 2007 at work and I cannot believe how unintuitive and difficult it is to do ANYTHING in Excel or Access. The ribbon menu system is a disaster. I don’t know who EVER thought this was a good interface.

  6. The only thing that keeps MS Office going is that has become a de-facto standard in the business world where compatibility is paramount. It’s not about ease of use or efficiency, but about everyone running the same software, so we all have the same features (and faults) to make it easier to train and to support.

    re “Do you really need Microsoft Office?”

    Pages is a superior document generator for most tasks, but as I found out even the smallest formatting difference can have disastrous results when someone tries to view that document in any version of Office or vice versa. Sadly, even running Office on Windows via Parallels created issues with file corruption when they were saved to the Mac desktop and emailed vial Apple’s Mail.app (no techs could figure out why). For that reason we had to standardize our office on the most prevalent version of MS Office *on Windows PCs only* even though we’d prefer to use Pages on Macs.

  7. Personally, I think MS “shuffles the deck” every couple of years partially to make the sure the competition remains incompatible with Office and can’t become a fully competent replacement. As soon as they begin to catch up to all the little idiosyncrasies, MS changes the game again to guarantee their captive audience.

  8. Unfortunately, Office is not optional when .docx and Excel and PP files are being passed around, are the ‘standard’ at work. Because of docx, I tried Office 2008 and it was incapable (of cut/paste support of 3rd party embedded objects, etc.), sluggish and a penny-dreadful HI as only MS knows how. So it’s Orifice 2004 for now, which at least is snappy (in fact, snappier than iWork’09).

  9. Jafo, I hear you. But, I have not had a single document from MS Office that I can ever remember…certainly not within the past 5 years…that did not operate correctly from within MS Office on my Mac. I have to say that my statement is a very positive one. Because, if I had not been able to open a MSO doc on my Mac, it would have been extremely embarrassing given my vocal support in my work environement for the Mac.

    I have heard the “bloated” statement made numerous times on Mac forums. I am not a programmer. But, I do not find MS Office to be bloated. Feature laden…yes. Opens fast enough and runs smoothly. I seldom have a problem with it. Look at the feature set for Excel alone. It can handle 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns. That’s over 17 Billion cells!! Does anything on the market even come close? I could not find the number of functions Excel has. But, Numbers has a paltry 250. That is why you get an error almost every time you open a spreadsheet that did not originate in Numbers.

    Here’s my perspective. If MS had iWorks or NeoOffice and Mac had Office, this site would constantly throw it in MS’s face. The problem is: I want something BETTER than Office, NeoOffice, iWorks and Mariner Calc. Then I would be able to dump MSO. I barely use NeoOffice. But, I contributed to the development with hard cash. Where is Apple’s contribution? If they do not want to make a serious effort at providing a significantly better app than MS Office, contribute a few million to the Open Office community. Give them the task to make a 100% compatible product that provides a full-Mac feature set. Without MS Office, the Mac would be screwed. With a superior product to MS Office…a fantastic, 64 bit, eye-candy laden, feature laden, blow the doors off, easier to use, intuitive, completely compatible plus 10 times better app…then we as consumers would have something and it might even entice Corporate America to make the switch. It is the everyday, boring, work-required apps that drive computer sales. Bring a little excitement to the humdrum work world…then you have something.

  10. One last thing…I promise. If Apple will not contribute a few million ($20 mil. would be chump change for them) to the development of NeoOffice. Why don’t we? Come on…You have an extra $100 laying around gathering dust. Go to their website and contribute. Tell them what features you would like to have. Tell your Mac friends to do the same. If 50,000 contributed $100 or more each, that would be more that $5 mil. I bet that would generate some action in the Open Source community.

    FYI, I have absolutely zero connection with the Open Source community. But, if you want something done and no one seems to be doing anything except the other team, you step up and do it yourself. So, come on.. stop your bitching and do something useful!!

  11. I use iWork, as well as Neo Office, and currently, OpenOffice on my MacBook Pro. I use MS Office on my work laptop. I don’t agree that formatting errors occur 100% of the time. Most documents work fine for me. The funny thing is a co-worker of mine (running linux) used to convert .docx files for people using OpenOffice because they couldn’t figure out how to open files with Office 2003. I just had a Mac user switch from the Mac BACK to a PC, because she used Office 2008 for the Mac, while her classmates (graduate school) couldn’t open files on their Windoze PCs. I tried to help her and could open every document she sent me on my PC, Mac, and even on my iPhone, but she insisted it was a Mac issue. So she bought a PC and guess what, still problems between different versions of Office. If I need to send read-only documents, the best solution is a PDF, easy to generate natively on any Mac from the print dialog, or by using OpenOffice or NeoOffice. You can’t do that natively through Office.

  12. Mac-Daddio,

    It’s iWork, not “iWorks.”

    MDN does not promote anything in their Take, but trying out the free 30-day trial to see if iWork works for users. MDN certainly doesn’t do so daily.

    Why are you fearful of people trying iWork, Mr. Microsoft astroturfer?

  13. I used to like Word, at least, but it keeps getting slower, uglier, and I have no plans to upgrade for a long time, if ever. Sometimes 99% compatibility isn’t good enough at work, especially with the dim bulb Mac-bashers out there- so you have to standardize on Office in a cross-platform environment.

    And I wish there was a definitive alternative to Adobe, also- another slap in the face to Mac users as well as others- especially at those prices. This is progress/innovation?

  14. @ Mac-Daddio – Agree with your general assertion that Numbers is, unfortunately, feature-poor compared to Excel. Wish that wasn’t the case and hope to see significant improvements in the next release. Also hope to see Apple pursue that type of backend products that Microsoft uses to create its entrapping ecosystem.

    Now, does anyone know how to apply a border to a page in Pages such that it’s a property and not just an object added to the page? Got a call one night and after being frustrated that the user couldn’t figure it out, I stopped by a Best Buy. I was surprised that I couldn’t find it either. How would one create a multi-page document with borders?

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