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HP Drops Microsoft Word in Favor of WordPerfect 726

Posted by timothy
from the when-word-isn't-perfect dept.
nexex points to this Financial Times article, which says that HP has dropped Microsoft Word from the software lineup in the personal computers it sells to customers. From the article: "The move follows a decision last week by Dell Computer, the number two PC maker, to replace Microsoft software. Both companies said they would offer WordPerfect productivity software from Corel of Canada instead of Microsoft's Works, a scaled-down version of its top-selling Office software." Nexex writes:"I think it should be noted, MS Works does include the full version of Word."
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HP Drops Microsoft Word in Favor of WordPerfect

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  • by edrugtrader (442064) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:40PM (#4153501) Homepage
    buy are overpriced non-OS software product... or buy the scaled down version and get the full version free.

    HP, why not just go OpenOffice? Word Perfect has just as many bugs, and you'd save yourself (ultimately your consumers) a lot more money.
    • WordPerfect is great (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DragonMagic (170846) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:10PM (#4153670) Homepage
      As someone who's used OpenOffice, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works, ClarisWorks and WordPerfect, I can say from a writer and printer standpoint, WordPerfect is the best choice.

      The ability to have nearly full DTP style justification and control, as well as being a great word processor, grammar-checker and thesaurus, WordPerfect for the price is just the best choice for most people who would use Microsoft Word anyways.
    • Because there are still some pretty useful features in WP that aren't in Star/OpenOffice, like a good grammar checker (which has saved many writings of mine =3), plus the fact that WordPerfect is still pretty much the standard in some circles, like the legal/medical profession.

      It's also worth noting that some vendors, such as Sony, went to WordPerfect as their word processor a few years back. Of course, their PC marketshare isn't as big as HP or Dell's, but it's still fairly significant. Could this be the start of a trend towards WordPerfect regaining at least some of its dominance?

    • Try asking your mom/grandmother if they've heard of StarOffice or WordPerfect. That is your answer.

      WordPerfect Office is freaking $5 to OEM's. That is close enough to free (hell they may be getting it for free, that wouldn't hurt Corel either since no one is buying it anyway).

      It's all about maximizing revenue. Oh and BTW the Word in works is stripped down (less templates, clipart, etc) and there is no comparing excel, access, outlook and powerpoint (oh yeah and publisher) to MS works (oxymoron if i've ever seen one) tools. And since when does a company care about saving their customers money? they only care about saving themselves money.
  • No Star Office? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sapphire42 (178537) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:43PM (#4153518) Homepage
    I am surprised they aren't going for something more compatible with Microsoft Office like Star Office. People are used to using Office products as the 'standard', so why not give them an alternative that will operate approximately the same. Putting Word Perfect on them will just confuse the people who are used to Word, and they will be upset when their Word at work will not read what they did at home. They won't understand enough to install the converters, and even those don't work 100%. I realize that SO and Open Office aren't perfect either, but I am not sure this is the best way to go Microsoft-free for the average consumer.
    • It's not surprising at all. When Joe Consumer thinks of word processors, only two come to mind: Word and WordPerfect. It's all about branding. Saying your computer includes WordPerfect is far more valuable to Joe Consumer than saying it includes StarOffice. No matter how good StarOffice is, a lot of non-techies still remember (fondly at that) WordPerfect from the days of WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS.
    • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castles ... s ['els' in gap]> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:48PM (#4153545) Homepage Journal
      People are used to using Office products as the 'standard', so why not give them an alternative that will operate approximately the same.

      Word is MS's crown jewel, but Word got where it is today buy stealing users from WP.

      Wordperfect is *still* used in the Legal Industry far more than MS office. When I worked at the NYS DEC a few years ago, I didn't have word on my shiney Dell PC--I had wordperfect, and so did everyone else in all of EnCon.

      Though it's a mind-boggling hack, Wordperfect and MS Word can and do talk to each other. In fact, having the two of them duke it out might be just the thing that OO needs to get some real work done on it, and get to be a usable beast...

      • How do you figure it's a mind-boggling hack? File/Save As/Wordperfect ... (and vice-versa). Am I missing something?
      • Word is MS's crown jewel, but Word got where it is today buy stealing users from WP.

        Not exactly. As I remember it, it was around Windows 3.1's announcement when MS went to WordPerfect (and Lotus as well) BEGGING them to write for Windows, touting Windows' many supposed virtues as an environment.

        Neither WP nor Lotus was moved. Perhaps they saw the Windows environment, with its centralized driver data, nullified their investment in having written DOS drivers for every screen, printer and video card (WP-5.1 had a VGA preview WYSIWYG option.) Perhaps they felt betrayed by MS and Intel setting standards for Expanded Memory and then arranging Windows to make use of the (LIM-4) standard very difficult, indeed, for most users who hadn't heard of QEMM memory management. And perhaps it was WP and Lotus' own hubris. For whatever reason, both WP and Lotus' Windows products were years late and the early versions were crash-happy under Windows to boot.

        Anyway, MS virtually gave away VAR licenses for Word and, later, Office to get market share, apparently, and at WP and Lotus' expense.

        But MS did not steal users from WP; WP gave them away.

        For what it's worth, I STILL depend on WP5.1 for my writing. Good thing it runs fine under DOSEmu. Oh, and it was written in assembler!


        I have seen war. You will not like it.
      • by Leto2 (113578)
        sig: YES, I'm a Christian. Got a problem with that?

        No, not at all, I'm a Christian too... Why are you responding to a question no one asked?

    • And why do you think WordPerfect is less compatible with Microsoft Office than StarOffice is?

      I haven't used WP since version 8 for Linux, but it was more capable of reading and saving MS Word documents then than other Linux word processors. I know the other word processors have improved a lot since then, but I assume that so has WP.

      Yes, it would be nice if HP went with StarOffice, but I'm happy to see some diversity in the office software used.
    • Re:No Star Office? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac (43301)
      Um... you reveal your lack of familiarity with WordPerfect. :)

      WP now has a Word compatibility mode -- where everything looks and behaves just like Word. (I'd have to check whether that also defaults to saving in Word format, but you can always Save As regardless.) So no one has the excuse of being "confused" by a different interface. And WP installs common import/export filters (like for for Word) by default.

      Conversely, StarOffice looks and behaves more like WordStar for DOS!! Talk about a confusing interface.

  • HP is going gung-ho (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:44PM (#4153519) Homepage Journal
    HP also just became [hp.com] the first big VAR to base "business" PCs around AMD's processors. HP is busy kicking sand in the faces of the big boys. Then again with Compaq HP isn't no small player itself.

    It really is remarkable though: It seems that Microsoft was their own worst enemy, and they've pissed off so many of their large corporate partners that they have very few allies, and absolutely no one trusts them. I doubt that Microsoft is going anywhere for years to come, but these are fascinating twists that would never have been considered but a few years ago.
    • by clem.dickey (102292) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @12:22AM (#4154518)
      Disraeli once said "Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests." HP and Dell are nation size wrt revenue. I wonder what will happen when the MS Works bid comes in 5 cents less per copy, rather than 5 cents more.
  • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot.morpheussoftware@net> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:44PM (#4153522) Homepage
    I still use WP to this day, and have since v5 for DOS. Reveal codes is good!! it makes word processing closer to html editing in notepad. Total control over the document layout. I can not stand Word at all with its lack of this hugely important editing feature. Go HP!!!


    • by stubear (130454)
      Depends on what you're doing but Word can reveal field codes and non-printing codes. If you want to know about a particular block of text, click on help -> what's this -> then click on the block of text. A dialog baloon will appear informing you what's going on with the block of text. Paragraph and font formatting are both revealed in this dialog. Alternatively you could press shift-F1 to call up the what's this pointer.
      • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:24PM (#4153754) Homepage
        and when you get something like a stuck italics function where there is no character? How do you select it?

        And why do you have to go through an obtuse menu for each block of text? Why can't I see the entire document's formatting options at once?
      • by guanxi (216397)
        It's not nearly the same thing.

        I can simultaneously display the document source (the Reveal Codes) and WSYWIG in WordPerfect. I don't have to click three things and read a dialog balloon; it's displayed instantly, for everything (not depending on what I'm doing), as I type.
      • I literally just got done this evening working on a 53-page documentation project for a client. It had complex formatting with lots of Photoshop graphics, but rather than allow me to use InDesign, they insisted on Word, because it was... (drum roll) The Standard! I tried to explain that there's this thing called desktop publishing, but they wouldn't hear any of it.

        So I suffered. Man, did I suffer. I cursed Word up and down as I spent 45 minutes trying to create a two-column, wrap-around index. Word tried to be "helpful" by automagically turning my page numbering into an ordered list. Yay! It did this about 97 times, even after I thought I'd cleared all the formatting. Clear it, reformat it, hit a carriage return or a backspace, or some other innocuous key, and BAM! there goes Word, helping you out, whether you want it or not.

        I pined for WordPerfect. Oh, sure, you can reveal formatting in Word, but it's those non-text areas that jump up and MAUL YOUR ASS in Word. I hate Word with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Word is evil. It is the best example I can find of a crappy product winning out over several really good ones (WordPerfect included). WordPerfect is smooth, it's reveal formatting makes formatting simple and straightforward, rather than making you resort to endless menu selections. it's not a page layout app either, but man would my life have been easier with it.

        Oh, that reminds me! Tabs! I can't f*#$Y# stand how Word handles tabs. I mean, Jesus Christ, an app as simple as AppleWorks has more capable and far more intuitive handling of tabs. In Word, you have to actually open up a freakin' menu and delve into it in order to use numeric controls to format something you should just be able to format in the ruler bar, but can't because it's such a pain in the ass!

        And another thing...!

    • I agree. It was the feature I liked most in WP, and that I missed most in Word when my father installed Word from Office 4.2 (Windows 3.1) rather than WordPerfect for Windows, which was quite buggy for the first few versions.

      It really let you specify where each formatting would begin or end, and could be hidden if you didn't like it. And Word still doesn't have something comparable (Word is too WYSIWYG to include it now, it would mean they should've included it earlier).
    • by Malc (1751)
      "Reveal codes is good!! it makes word processing closer to html editing in notepad."

      I think comparing to DreamWeaver is more accurate for HTML editting.
    • try latex. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gimpboy (34912) <john...m...harrold@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:36PM (#4154059) Homepage
      if you want more control of your document and you like reveal codes then latex is for you. really though to make something bold it's just:
      \bold{something in bold}.

      there might be a bit of a learning curve, but it's worth it. the quality of the document is much higher than anything i've seen a word processor put out. it takes eps for figures which just rocks when printed.

      latex is free and comes with most linux distros. there's even a version for windows, search for miktex on google, but i've never used it.

      it's a bunch of macros to interface with tex, written by that uberpimp donal knuth.
  • It would seem that you can only get Word included with the 2002 edition of Works Suite, which costs twice as much as Works.

    Here are some links from newegg that seem to indicate as much:

    Works, Standard [newegg.com]
    Works Suite [newegg.com]

    ~geogeek
  • I'm curious why they don't go with StarOffice, unless they don't want to be seen as promoting Sun.

    Of course, in spite of the fact that I personally find WordPerfect to be horrendously confusing, there are some segments of the industry that are still standardized around it as a word processor. I've been told that lawyers still use WP, mostly for historical reasons. (That's what they are used to, and there are a lot of old documents and standard forms in that format.)

    • I'm curious why they don't go with StarOffice, unless they don't want to be seen as promoting Sun.

      Because, as you said, there are some people who actually know what WordPerfect is, and have used it before... in fact in my personal experience more people associate "WordPerfect" with a word processor than "Word," mainly I believe because it's been around so long and it *is* used by a lot of people. The claim by a salesperson that "StarOffice is just like Office, and can read Office documents, and is cheaper" sounds like a generic branded rip-off... even if it may not be. In fact, IMHO, it's very bad marketing to try to make the name sounds similar to a "Office", because it sounds moreso like a ripoff than if it was called, say "DocPro." Same goes for "Lindows." OK now I'm rambling.

      No thanks, I'll buy a real "Rollix" watch somewhere else.
    • I've been told that lawyers still use WP, mostly for historical reasons. (That's what they are used to, and there are a lot of old documents and standard forms in that format.)

      Partly. Partly it's inertia - a result of the fact that law firms usually have a tremendous investment in standardized templates for legal documents, and have no particular desire to reinvent the wheel by switching to Word. And partly there are solid technical reasons why legal firms stick with WP, like the amusing collisions between MS Word and Rule 32 [kentlaw.edu], which is admittedly not so funny if you've been burned by Word's misbehavior.

      And there are a host of reasons similar to that - see this article [llrx.com] for a long laundry list of common complaints about Word from legal users...

  • MS Works Suite (Score:5, Informative)

    by zerocool^ (112121) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @08:48PM (#4153553) Homepage Journal
    MS Works does *NOT* always include word. The MS Works suite, full version ($99) includes word. The pre-installed version of works on your friendly OEM Computer MAY or MAY NOT have MS Word.

    Back when I worked for Best Buy a year ago, this was a big advantage of buying a sony computer. They included the full works suite. Many (read: HP / Compaq) only included the MS Works Word Processor, MS Works Spreadsheet, etc.

    MS Works Word Processor is a very stripped version of MS Word. It has no spell check, no auto format, and is missing many key functions of Word. As far as I could tell, it's existance was only to whet people's tastebuds to get them to buy office, because after using Word, trying to use "MS Works Word Processor" is a joke.

    ~Will


    • no auto format, and is missing many key functions of Word

      Sounds great! I hate autoformat.
    • MS Works Word Processor... has no spell check

      Erm, yes, it does, and it always has.

      no auto format, and is missing many key functions of Word.

      I hate autoformat, and many of the "key features" of MS Word are not used by 99% of the people who buy it. I've sold hundreds of copies of Word over the years, and most of the buyers did nothing complicated enough to justify the expense, but they felt better knowing they had purchased Word.

      I imagine that this sheeple mentality is what sells most copies of Word to non-business users.

      I still remember, when Lotus 1-2-3 reigned, the thousands of idiots who spent $700 learning to use it, and these were frequently people who could have calculated all of their expenses on one-side of a dinner napkin. The ancestors of those idiots buy systems with 1800+ processors and 512MB of RAM (with 128MB Geforce 4 video cards) because they want to chat on ICQ, send and receive e-mail, and play Solitaire. The are "upgrading" from Pentium 3-based systems with which they could have happily performed the same tasks for the next decade.

      I guess I should be glad to take their money, but instead I feel guilty.

      Anyway, the point is that Word is a great WP, but too much for the majority of its users. If I do talk to a customer who is counting pennies and not blinded by hype, I download Abiword for them, and it usually works just fine for their needs.

  • The article is very scant on details, it's merely a statement of what happened. I'm curious as to why HP would replace a stripped down office suite (Works) with just a word processor (WordPerfect)? Perhaps they should also look at some of the available office suites like StarOffice or OpenOffice.
  • Victory... NOT! (Score:2, Informative)

    by r_j_prahad (309298)
    Have you all just come out of a coma recently? Microsoft owns about 25 percent of Corel. So MSFT won't make as much money as they could have, they still get some percentage off the top of this sale. Plus it looks good to the illiterati (aka the DOJ) who think that Corel is still a competitor to Microsoft.

    This is like cussing at Arab terrorists while you're standing at a gas pump.
  • WP Userbase (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vinn (4370) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:00PM (#4153629) Homepage Journal

    Before people go trashing on WordPerfect, let me point out some things you might not know about it:

    • They've supported Unix platforms for a hell of a long time. SCO, HP-UX, Solaris, etc.
    • They still sell a character-only interface for people who use terminals - useful in large organizations; useful for people who want to maintain compatibility with older versions.
    • The legal profession still relies on it - your lawyer uses WordPerfect and most legal forms are available in that format. And we all know, once a lawyer makes a document it never goes away.
    • At times they've had one of the best commercial apps for Unix - print spool manipulation, import/export, spellcheck, desktop publishing, etc. (Although, from release to release some things became dated.)

    And if you say it's not for you, you're right. It definitely fills an important niche that a lot of other apps can't or don't want to.

    • This is not true. (Score:5, Informative)

      by SlashChick (544252) <ericaNO@SPAMerica.biz> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:43PM (#4153846) Homepage Journal
      I feel the need to clarify on the following statement:

      "The legal profession still relies on it - your lawyer uses WordPerfect and most legal forms are available in that format."

      This is absolutely not true.

      Now, you may definitely argue that a larger proportion of the legal community relies on WordPerfect than does the general office community. However, the legal profession itself does not rely on WordPerfect.

      My father is a lawyer. I set up his law firm's computers. I've known many other lawyers and set up their law firm's networks. What you said was true 3-5 years ago, but most of them have now switched to Word.

      And as for legal forms being in WordPerfect format, with the hundreds of legal forms I have had to use, they have been in one of three formats:

      a) Hard Copy (as in, a piece of paper that you have to use a typewriter to type on)
      or, more often,
      b) PDF
      or
      c) a proprietary format that has to be used with a $5,000-$50,000 piece of crappy software.

      ALL of the government forms that a law firm needs are in PDF. Most of the other things that lawyers used to get in hard copy (for instance, the legal books that you see in their offices) are now available for a subscription fee via sites like FindLaw.com [findlaw.com]. About 50% of the forms that come through a lawyer's office are hard copy, 40% are PDF, and 10% are proprietary, and honestly, I haven't seen a WordPerfect law document in years. Most of the hard copy ones are saved directly to either Microsoft Word or PDF via Acrobat, so the number of hard copy forms will continue to decrease.

      From reading your post, it sounds like you haven't encountered WordPerfect in a couple of years, either, and are basing your opinions on what you saw a few years ago. The Internet is becoming quite integral to any lawyer these days, and as such, the number of non-Word proprietary formats for documents is decreasing rapidly (especially since there was a huge government initiative to convert everything to PDF.) Thus, your post was accurate as of a few years ago, but is no longer the case.
  • by io333 (574963) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:03PM (#4153639)
    Ask any secretary that actually TYPES for a living, especially the ones that need to do complex text formatting (e.g., legal secretaries) -- the secretaries that type 90+wpm. They *all* agree, and I mean every single last one, that nothing can *touch* word perfect for speed of text input. The function keys, which have mapped to more or less the same functions since 1985 (...earlier?), allow experienced users to do many things in less than a second that would otherwise take quite a while to do with a mouse. WP was, and is still *keyboard* based -- that means that if you know what you are doing, you can do everything in WP, very quickly, without ever taking your hands off the keyboard. I can't imagine ever having to use that horrible MSword to do anything except under threat of starvation. Of course the very best thing about WP, that I have never seen any other WP do, is that the "control codes" option always lets you see exactly why a document is behaving the way it is on screen: each formatting option is just a simple code between text brackets in a text document. There's never any question of why something looks the way it does in WP. No matter what the function, whether it be bold, or column size, or printer type, or whatever, it is just a simple code between brackets. In contrast, MSWord users are constantly baffled by a program that is trying to "assist" the user, by doing things it wasn't asked to do (and of course, cannot be undone) -- which is generally chalked up as being "just the way the program is,;" or else the users just feel like they are stupid and don't know how to use the program properly.

    MSWord exists today only because it was bundled by OEMs (originally as MSWorks, in crippled form... though the full version is still crippled...) It never could have caught on otherwise as no one that actually knew about word processors would have chosen it over WP if they actually had to pay for it.

    Oh yea, what platforms does WP work on right now? At least these:

    Amiga, every version ever made
    Linux, every version ever made
    Unix, every version ever made
    Windows, every version ever made
    Mac, every version ever made

    I'm sure there are other versions -- the above ones are just the ones that I have personally used.

    Do I know what I'm talking about? Well, I used to be a legal secretary before I started accumulating degrees. I have been tested out, several times, at 100+wpm. I was word processing on a Prime mainframe (using a text editor) before word processors (and PCs) existed.

    When making a living depends on how fast you get a document out of the printer -- which word processor you use is extremely important.

    The typing ability requirements for a legal secretary are far more stringent than any "normal" secretary. Glance in the want-ads in your local paper and you'll see what I mean. Legal secretaries are, on an almost daily basis, required to pump out GIGANTIC documents, always suddenly, always in a complete crisis situation, and always mere minutes before they must be faxed out. It is the rare law office that does not use WP, and the secretaries in the occasional law office that uses MSWord instead are extremely unhappy about it, bitch continuously, and quit constantly.
    • Yes, I'm sure if you know your way around the 15 function keys, and understand how to read the control codes then WP is lovely to use.
      I don't... I find Word easy enough to use, they keep adding features that get around my problems (e.g. format painter), and after a while, you come to understand why it's doing what it's doing... you empathise. Well, some of the time anyway.

      I guess my point is that Word is easy and friendly if you're NOT a 90wpm legal sec, but someone who does a different job but still needs to knock out the occasional half-decent document.

      Oh, and you can undo anything that word helpfully (bless it) tries to do for you. Ctrl-Z undoes first word's attempts at helpfulness, and then whatever you last did.

      Watch me disappear beneath the waves of ACs now for having actually stood up for microsoft...
      • by ACK!! (10229) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:23PM (#4154012) Journal
        Give me a break, WordPerfect is still more functional as a word processor. The interface is better and the placment for items in the menus and the toolbars are more functional.

        You don't have to know any function keys or know how to read the reveal codes. Every tester in the software development labs I met prefer the interface of the WordPerfect app itself. Many still like Excel over Quatro Pro and would be lost without NT so they are not exactly anti-Redmond. They test lots of Office apps for creating documents in their testing.

        I used WordPerfect8 in Linux and on Windows for awhile and liked it a lot. Try out a recent version and you may be surprised. If you have the chance, get a copy and use for a week when you have a few things to type up.
        ________________________________________________ _
      • someone who does a different job but still needs to knock out the occasional half-decent document.

        That's what Microsoft word is good for. Throw something at it and it will come out looking fairly respectable. But do not care about what the stuff you produce looks like. If you fight it, Word will win.
    • Of course the very best thing about WP, that I have never seen any other WP do, is that the "control codes" option always lets you see exactly why a document is behaving the way it is on screen: each formatting option is just a simple code between text brackets in a text document.

      Sorry, but you are totally wrong about this. I used to think the way you do, but that was before I was forced to change to Word. Once I switched to the Word philosophy, I realized what a horrible nasty kludge the whole "reveal codes" thing really is.

      There are two fundamental philosophies in play here:

      a) Embedded codes. Basically, all formatting is embedded in the text (WordPerfect).

      b) Styles. Paragraphs have styles, and letter strings have styles. Styles contain formatting information. Change the style, and you've changed everything that uses it. Styles can be inherited. Just about everything that you can do with formatting can be in a style (outlining, shading, TOC, columns, bullet lists, number lists).

      The reason so many WP people get frustrated with not being able to see the codes is that they don't understand styles. If you just understand that everything comes from the style, then you don't need to see the codes. The only reason you need to see the codes is because the codes can get so screwed up. With styles, you may not totally understand the interactions of the styles, but you know exactly where all the formatting comes from.

      Like I said, I sympathize with your feelings. I was dragged kicking and screaming away from reveal codes, because it appealed to me as a programmer. But there's no question that Word's "object oriented" nature is hands-down superior.

      • by AJWM (19027)
        Word's styles would make a lot more sense to users if the UI enforced their use -- that is, if every change had to be made to the style rather than just selecting some text and going clicky-clicky on the toolbar to select a font or character attribute, rather than selecting the style to apply.

        Sure, the internal result is the same, but the user doesn't see it that way, and the zillion subtle variations on "normal" style are non-obvious. Reveal-codes may not be OO, but it sure is user-friendly.

        Object-oriented is wonderful when done right -- but the user interface can make or break it. MS Word's is broken.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stirfry714 (410701) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:04PM (#4153645)
    Slashdot never ceases to amaze. Two of the biggest computer manufacturers kick Microsoft in the groin, and all most of you can say is "Why not StarOffice or OpenOffice?"

    Come on, people... (to mangle a phrase) the perfect is the enemy of the good. Sure, it ain't perfect yet (but neither are StarOffice or OpenOffice), but it's definitely GOOD.

    Let's be honest - Microsoft Office is one of the two key things that binds the vast majority of users out there to Microsoft. If nothing else (for example), Apple can't piss off MS *too badly* or else there's suddenly no new MS Office for Mac, and the Mac *instantly* becomes a much less palatable choice (logically or not).

    If Microsoft can be reduced to a bully with the top OS, it's a lot easier to handle than a bully with the top OS and the top office suite.

    Let's give credit where credit is due. It's a good first step.
    • by SimplyCosmic (15296) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:34PM (#4153797) Homepage

      More than likely it really doesn't matter what non-Microsoft word processor these companies picked to bundle with their PCs.

      We've seen it before, whether it be Word Perfect, Netscape or even Linux, these companies will offer these Microsoft alternatives only to have the Redmond company cozy up to them and offer them a sweet deal. Weeks later Microsoft products are back in their previous spots.

      Most likely many companies have begun doing these changes only as a bluff to get Microsoft to lower their licensing prices to them, rather than any actual interest in the products themselves.

      Meh.
      • ...only to have the Redmond company cozy up to them and offer them a sweet deal...


        You think it'll be the carrot? I always had MS down as a stick, stick, STICK, look i've got a carrot, but have some more STICK! kind of company.

      • We've seen it before, whether it be Word Perfect, Netscape or even Linux, these companies will offer these Microsoft alternatives only to have the Redmond company cozy up to them and offer them a sweet deal. Weeks later Microsoft products are back in their previous spots.

        Yes, good point. If I hadn't already posted in the thread (and if I had any mod points right now) I'd mod you up. :)

        I guess I can only be cynical 1435 minutes a day, and this must have caught me in my semi-optimistic few minutes...

        My hope is that things will be slightly different now that Dell and HP/Compaq are so big and can hopefully bring some *real* pressure to bear - if they put their minds to it (and we support them), maybe they'll stick it out for long enough to make a difference.
  • by coupland (160334) <dchase@hoBLUEtmail.com minus berry> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:07PM (#4153658) Journal
    This is talking about personal PCs, how many PCs do you really think HP sells through Best Buy??? There is no real stand being taken here, two companies are thumping their chests by sending press releases to the media. This is a marketing stunt to counter Microsoft Select pricing, nothing more. Don't be a party to the hype...
    • Almost all of HP's computers are sold at retail outlets. Every single HP (and Compaq) that I have seen was one bought at a local retailer. Its a huge market. Most home users buying a new computer walk into the store to look at/buy....Gateway and Dell aren't there. Who is? Compaq, HP, and Sony......thats about it.

      And HP doesn't sell all that many units in the corporate market, Dell has that cornered. Hence why HP's profit is all in the print division. And why they played hardball when Dell announced it wanted to do its own printers.
  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3xt3r (527989) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:08PM (#4153665)

    This is an interesting move and I really have to wonder what motivated it, but none the less, i think it's a good thing for the future of office suite compatibility.

    To all those of you already posting saying, "but Office is the standard...": Come on. MS Office is not the "standard", it just holds the majority of the word processing market. And its not because it was a superior product when it came out to Word Perfect, it was because it was free (or bundled with your Wintel box).

    To all those of you saying, "but what not OpenOffice?": Who cares? As long as it isn't MS office, it means competiton. Competition is always a good thing, even if its between minority market share holders. Once MS office isn't the only game in town, file formats will open up.

    If the office market becomes segmented again, we should see a common file format emerge. Then it won't matter who's using MS Office, Word Perfect, or Star/Open Office.

  • They did it the wrong way around. Word is actually a pretty decent word processor. They should have kept Word and ditched Windows!

    RMN
    ~~~
  • Price competition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MicroBerto (91055) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:14PM (#4153700)
    If this takes hold and becomes a small success, I just hope that Microsoft decides to work some smart business and just drop their prices to reasonable levels for both corporations and consumers.

    After working extensively with all of the office suites debated here, and as much as i hate to admit it, to me, Microsoft Office is still the best product (heh only if you uninstall that damned paper clip office assistant). I just think they should lower their prices and a touch of that drop can be forwarded onto Joe Consumer next time he decides to become a dude and get a dell.

  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:17PM (#4153714)
    vim?

    KFG
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Before anyone commenting on WordPerfect vis-a-vis OO/SO, s/he should spend a few hours working with experts with both suites.

    WordPerfect is so far superior, it is funny to even talk about OO in the same sentence.

    BTW, the version of WordPerfect being bundled, version 10, is actually the weakest of the three 32-bit versions (but still far better than Microsoft Word in producing "conventional" documents).

    Wait until Corel puts its acts together and bring the quality of its next version to the level of WordPerfect 8. But even WordPerfect 10 is good enough for enterprise use. If you don't believe me, go to any store that sells SONY PCs and play with the program that has been pre-installed in the VAIOs.

    We should never expect Microsoft to produce an office suite for Linux, but Corel may (Corel's CEO recently and repeatedly stated that Corel will consider a native Linux port if there is a market). Recent moves by HP, SONY, and DELL from MS Office to WordPerfect actually send a much bigger message: they may pave the way for their eventual migration to Linux desktops.

    In other words, because the profit margins are so thin, by selling Windows machines, hardware companies are only helping Microsoft. Moving to Linux not only cuts down the price (which is indeed a very minor consideration), it also allows the hardware vendors to become software distributors, i.e., allowing them to retain some control over their customers.

    However, there is one critical piece missing in the Linux puzzle game, and that is an enterprise level wordprocessor. WordPerfect will fit this need perfectly.

    I understand OpenOffice 6.0.1, and more particularly KOffice (1.2 rc1), have made significant improvements. However, nothing can replace the user experience that must be accumulated over time. WordPerfect 8 was built based on years and years of usage and tens of millions of user experience. Corel management screwed up on WordPerfect 10, but the person in charge was recently fired. And with the recent service pack, WordPerfect 10 indeed is almost as powerful and reliable as version 8.
  • It's about time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ravenseye (146453) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:35PM (#4153807)
    The company I work for chose WordPerfect back in 1995. We went to Word for a while in 1998 but upgraded back to WordPerfect when MS got into DOJ trouble again (we figured that if MS was on our payroll to develop software and they broke the law, we'd have fired them so why would we go buy their software now?). It turned out that most of the time, WordPerfect can read Word without too much difficulty. Better yet, it can save to nearly any version of Word.

    Sadly for Microsoft, Word is not nearly as adept. It can barely convert to WordPerfect 5.1. Because of this (and nearly 40,000 WordPerfect documents on our networks), using MS Word in our organization would be reckless.

    Finally, in the last three years, we've acquired 3 other companies. I converted all of them to WordPerfect Office 2000 (upgrading all locations to WordPerfect Office 2002 this week). Some users were so MS Word brainwashed that they panicked...and continue to panic even today. They believe that if it's not MS, it's not good. They also can't understand why we don't use AOL to get online! Needless to say, I don't worry too much about them. The rest of the organization wants to create word processing documents...quickly, reliably and professionally. WordPerfect does exactly that. Yes...you can share files and yes, it is more advanced than Word when it comes to complete control over formatting.

    With all this going for it, why wouldn't HP and Dell offer this software? And the more people who go home with it, the better off we all are. We've never regretted our decision and we've never been hurt by it. Kudos to these industry leaders for taking the hard, but high road.
  • by tshak (173364) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:41PM (#4153831) Homepage
    Although certain aspects of the DOJ case against MS are important, for the most part I always asserted that the market would correct itself. Apple is gaining ground thanks to the fact that they are finally making a great OS, and now MS is losing to big OEM's on their office products. As long as the competition doesn't suck, MS will not be a monopoly.
  • by Archfeld (6757) <treboreel@live.com> on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @09:54PM (#4153886) Journal
    Excel is the killer app and I've still NEVER seen a decent substitute for a complex multi-sheeted calculation rich spread sheet. I have OO, and Star Office loaded as well but neither does the job. As for a word pro I could use notepad, or heck even VI when you get right down to it. Props to them for exploring alternatives, WP suite 7.0 was quite nice but why make life harder and sacrifice that 'synergy' that Word and Excel have by replacing just one half the tool-set. Given my druthers I'd use OO and screw the Visio/Excel issues but work requires that I use such documents.
  • by leonbev (111395) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:02PM (#4153926) Journal
    I'm wondering what Corel is charging OEM's for WordPerfect Office nowadays? Considering that they are hard up for customers at the moment, I'll bet that they gave HP a sweet deal in order to get some volume sales.

    Hell, for all we know, Corel might be offering WordPerfect Office for LESS that Microsoft is charging for Works! Considering the the basic version of Works doesn't come with any of the full-featured addons like Word or Microsoft Money, this might be a good deal for both HP and consumers alike.
    • Of course Corel is charging less for PerfectOffice than MS Works. Otherwise why switch?

      That's the beauty of the whole situation. The computer industry has finally got to the point where the hardware OEMs have no choice but to start cutting costs in the one area where prices have refused to drop, software. HP and Dell have historically been too scared of Microsoft to switch to the less expensive software vendors, but now these companies don't really have much of a choice. The fight between Dell and HPaq has gotten so fierce that they no longer care what Microsoft does. Besides, if Microsoft pushes too hard both of these companies might become interested in really ramping up their Linux efforts.

    • Works: $90; WP: $20 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by _|()|\| (159991) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @11:10PM (#4154227)
      I'm wondering what Corel is charging OEM's for WordPerfect Office nowadays?

      PCs for Everyone [pcsforeveryone.com] lists the following prices (all OEM, which requires a hardware purchase):

      • WP Office 2002 Standard: $19
      • Works 2002 (incl. Word): $89
      • Office XP Small Business: $219
      • Office XP Pro: $369
      I have no idea what HP and Dell pay, but this is one data point.
  • by guanxi (216397) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:10PM (#4153958)
    I happily use WordPerfect on Windows every day, and I have my choice of apps.

    The reason: "Reveal codes", which shows you the source of the document -- the text with all the formatting codes, with all the benefits you can imagine: You can see exactly which codes are doing what and where, insert and edit codes precisely, search for codes, double-click on one to change it, etc.

    I always keep it open in a small window at the bottom, so I simultaneously get the source and the WYSIWYG. I'm not sure it appeals to the typical end user, but /. users should appreciate it.

    Also, it should be a very good low-end XML editor: It natively uses formatting tags [b]like this[/b] (open Reveal Codes and see), it's supported SGML (an HTML/XML precursor and (superset?)) for over a decade and XML for a couple years. I've never had to try, but these guys think so (or try searching Google for much more info):
    http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2000/05/31/wordpe rfect/
  • by Fat Casper (260409) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:19PM (#4153991) Homepage
    1. Relegate Microsoft to the dust heap of history.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @10:42PM (#4154087) Journal
    Do they still include Notepad? Because you know that's the only reason I buy Windows PCs. Everyone used to have Notepad but then they switched to the Boston stapler, and they were married, and if they take my Notepad away again I'll... I'll... OK...
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @11:00PM (#4154173)
    When I started college in 91 (not all that ancient times really) our computer facility used an IBM mainframe, VM/CMS. It was quite a shock for some folks who had never seen a computer before to be stuck on IBM 3270 style terminals, some were real orange screen 3278s, others were ugly greenscreen Esprits with bad 3278 emulation. Many that never worked anyway. "Where do I put my floppy?" HA! you get your A disk on the mainframe, all 1Meg of it, LESS than a floppy. There were PCs, PS/2 386s. (Can you tell our comp guys was an IBM guy? rumor is we got kickbacks from them) At first the PCs only had software that wasn't available on the Mainframe, math apps and such.

    But the main word processor was WordPerfect 4.2 for the mainframe. And this is on the block oriented 3270 terminal. You had to get used to the clunky interface and how the cursor moved funky because of the 3270isms. It could do fonts and bold, italic yes, but on printout only. Remember these are character based terminals, "print preview" essentially just showed you margins, maybe some bold, and underline. Font size chagnes? Right. Change your font? Well, print it and hope for the best. Turnaround was attrocious; big jobs (anyting over 20 pages) jobs were automatically routed to one of the "big" printers, where they printed and the operators collected them and put them in bins. So you had to wait for the bin guy to vome around every hour or so to get your work. Saving your files, also fun!!! At that time VM/CMS didn't allow hierarchical filesystems, so all your files were in the same namespace, limited to 8.3 filenames. Good luck remembering what file is what 3 years from now. If you need more than 1.2Mb storage (yeah, nobody does) you can store it offline to tapes... then if you need it, you have to request it to be restored. That might take a day.

    Slowly we changed from that. The PS/2s became more plentiful. You could actually print from them once in a while; at first you had to print to a postscript file, then ftp it to the mainframe, then print, but then we got real print servers. Pretty soon we became a real comp lab, with real apps where you could save somethng to a floppy. Now the mainframe is mothballed. Never updated it for y2k. Odd, cause Niketown uses VM/CMS, I should work there. ;)
  • Upgrade Costs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zillatron (415756) on Tuesday August 27, 2002 @11:17PM (#4154266)
    Here was the issue for me: I specifically (in 1997) shopped for a computer that came with WordPerfect installed. I Bought it. It rocked for its time.

    When I finally "upgraded" the OS from Win95 to WinME (I know I know but I was told that it was basically Win98 3rd edition... anyhow) WordPerfect would not function.
    Uninstall, reinstall.
    Nothing.

    One call to tech support later I had a solution given to me: Just pay $100 to upgrade to WordPerfect2000. This did not quite fit my budget at the time (and still doesn't) given the fact that the only added functionality I needed was the ability to work under the operating system I had bought to fix the Microsoft glitch of not recognizing AMD processors in Win95 that were faster than 300MHz.

    Needless to say I have been glad to see StarOffice evolve and ecstatic to see OpenOffice mature. If I already bought your software, please don't make me suffer just because time has moved on...

    It was fine software but I am not going back. They had their chance and blew it.

  • by ToasterTester (95180) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @12:03AM (#4154439)
    Dell and HP save money buy puting Corel on. But when was the last time someone other than a lawyer used Word Perfect, and Quattro oh yuck. So when they need to learn Word and Excel because they need to know them to get a job in the real world they will have to by MS Office.
  • by geoswan (316494) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @01:47AM (#4154749) Journal
    This point has been made a couple of times already, but I figured it needed a thread of its own. Many of the threads in this discussion have included someone saying moving from MS Word will leave you unable to read or write files shared with the rest of the world. Any word processing program written in the last twenty years should be able to read and write rich text format files (ie .rtf files). If you have to share files with collaborators, why wouldn't you be using rich text format?

    Modern word processors are bloated messes. "Creeping featurism" [google.ca] has run rampant. How many of your average users ever learn more than a very small percentage of their word processors features? How many of those features would never have been added if the word processor's company's business model wasn't built on selling their customers an upgrade to a "new, improved" model every couple of years?

  • What Full Version? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jdreed1024 (443938) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @08:14AM (#4155627)
    "I think it should be noted, MS Works does include the full version of Word."

    Um, no it doesn't. Works Suite 2002 does. MS Works 6.0, however, does not. Works Suite 2002 is a new and different program (I think it's designed to replace Office - Small Business Edition). MS Works, which is a fraction of the cost of Works Suite 2002, has always included scaled down word processor and spreadsheet - it's only recently that those two applets have started res. Trust me - I've been using Works since version 2.0 in the DOS days. It never has, and never will, include a full version of Word.

  • I try to avoid Corel (Score:3, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @10:34AM (#4156568) Homepage Journal
    They've been making some of the industry's buggiest software all their life. Corel Draw was the absolute buggiest commercial package I've ever seen.

    With that said, I'm glad to see Microsoft take one in the shorts, however small. Hmm, that works on two levels.

    I agree with the multitudes who point out that OpenOffice might be a better choice, but then again, maybe they were thinking about liability.

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