Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

Coming up: beta of the new MS Office

According to Charles Cooper, Microsoft will soon release the beta of the next version of Office. he says this:

"MS Office and the holy grail The beta version of the next version of Microsoft Office will be out soon. (Click here to read CNET's interview with Office boss Jeff Raikes.) If Microsoft can make things easier for users, mazel tov. Usability remains the holy grail of the software industry, and the successful pursuit of it should only mean good things for regular folks. But I positively shudder at the prospect of some mad scientist in Redmond, Wash., dreaming up new ways to stuff even more "functionality" into the software suite when we're already choking on feature-overload as it is.

The track record there to date isn't promising. (Any surprise that there's a veritable cottage industry of tech authors writing books about powerful features nobody ever uses?) I spend most of my time inside Microsoft Word, but I don't have the foggiest notion how to use most of the bells and whistles in the application. Know something else? I don't think I'm in the minority."

No Kidding. A lot of the features in Office are truly useless. Some that aren't are buried in the seemingly endless menus and toolbars. In his article, Cooper also links to a related Interview with Jeff Raikes, Microsoft's top manager for Office. My favorite bit of the Interview is this:
"But Microsoft makes software with big footprints. Doesn't it make sense to come out with smaller versions that use just fraction of the total features now found in Office?

That's where customer education comes in--we have to do a better job on that part. When it comes to footprints, there was a point in time when I would have agreed with you. But the size of hard drives has outstripped our ability to fill them up. "

Wow. So the problem is not that they make big software. It's that we're stupid enough to demand small software. Good thing they're all for "customer education."

Incidentally, Cooper seems to be writing more and more articles with many disconnected pieces. Maybe he needs a weblog? :-)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on October 4 2002 at 9:14 PM

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