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Office Delayed, Too 463

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-quite-ready dept.
turnitover writes "And you thought calling it 'Office 2007' was just to make it seem all future-like -- but according to eWEEK.com's Mary Jo Foley, turns out calling it is truth in advertising: Office 2007 won't ship until 2007. What does this mean for Microsoft and its reputation as a company that can eventually ship software? What will this mean for office managers who have to plan upgrades and budgets? Will this make anyone look at OpenOffice.org?"
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Office Delayed, Too

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  • I looked.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday March 24, 2006 @05:46AM (#14986633) Homepage

    Will this make anyone look at OpenOffice.org?

    Microsoft Office was at it's best with Office 97. OpenOffice might not have all the features of Microsoft Office but I don't care because I'll never use them. Moreover, nobody is going to take away the download for OpenOffice 2 and decide we need a shiny new version. I also resent being called a dinosaur by Microsoft for using one of their old products that I found to be reliable.

    I looked, I made the switch and there is no going back.

    Simon.

  • At our office (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Friday March 24, 2006 @05:48AM (#14986642) Journal
    Will this make anyone look at OpenOffice.org?

    Unfortunately, at our office we don't really look at that right now.

    BUT... We barely even look at Office 2003 either. The only useful part about that one is that I think Outlook 2003 has vastly improved design against worms and spam.

    I mean... Come on. What features do people need from Office 2007!?

    The new UI requiring massive relearning and costs for our middle aged crowd, means it has to have almost revolutionary new features as well, beyond the UI, for an upgrade to be worth the effort.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2006 @06:10AM (#14986703)
    But I am sure you enjoy that fact that Microsoft Office loads quite faster than Openoffice.org. This feature, I am sure, you appreciate. Right?

    This is a big advantage. IMHO this is what OOo should be focusing on more. Anyhow, the point shouldn't be which one is faster, but the features/price factor. OOo wins big on this one and alot of people could just switch over without missing any features at all. The problem I think with OOo adoption is more that it is competing with Office pirated edition more than it is competing with legal copies of Office. If Office comes preloaded, sadly, little will take the time to switch over...
  • Re:i assume (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Friday March 24, 2006 @06:27AM (#14986738) Homepage
    Office 2004 is the latest Mac version, MS seems to alternate between PC and Mac rather than releasing both at the same time, which results in interesting feature leapfrogging.
  • Collaboration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by batkiwi (137781) on Friday March 24, 2006 @06:30AM (#14986744)
    Where are OpenOffice's collaboration features which rival the office system?

    Now, this entire setup requires eating the dogfood, drinking the poison, going the full hog, whatever, BUT, with office 12 + sharepoint V3 + LCS:

    1. I am assigned a new project. I open our intranet, go to the projects site, and instantly create a new site with about 4 clicks.
    2. I add my fellow team members to said site.
    3. I write a design document and add it to a document library.
    4. "Jim" loads up said document and looks at it. He has a question. There, IN OFFICE, is a sidebar showing that I'm online, and that I wrote the document. He clicks on me to chat in realtime about the document.
    4a. Jim raises some good points, which I can't answer, so with 2 clicks he opens a discussion group about said document.
    4b. Through 10 versions (tracked), and many discussions, the team comes to a final decision. We close the document discussion site and merge our changes back into the base document on the project site.
    5. We start into the project. Frank now has to go onsite, with no internet access for 3 weeks. He takes his notes document off of sharepoint and saves it locally (this is what requires V3).
    5a. Frank comes back 3 weeks later, plugs in, and is asked if he wants to resync with the project site. He does, and we see his updates.
    6. 9 months later, the project finishes. Admins click it into read-only mode, so that we have our documents, chats, discussions, lists, etc, but cannot change them.
    7. 6 months later the site is backed up and purged off of live storage.

    Throughout this experience we can collaborate on documents through LCS + sharepoint + office12, take things offline, click-create project sites, etc.

    Tell me an opensource solution which matches this as seamlessly.

    I'm all for openoffice, and run linux at home, but office12 is something special. Is it worth the price? Possibly not. Are the entire front + back office system's features matched ANYWHERE? No.

    Yes, you can run *nuke + jabber + openoffice + openxcange +..... but do they work together? Can I set up a *nuke site which links into jabber and openexchange and openoffice, so that I can see inside a document whether the creator and other relevant people are online, and have versioned discussions with them?
  • by Tim C (15259) on Friday March 24, 2006 @06:35AM (#14986762)
    It'll mean that they won't happen until it's out, and money will be saved that can be spent somewhere else.

    Businesses don't upgrade just so they can use the latest and greatest; my company (a large multi-national) is still perfectly happy with its Office 2000 site licence. It sees no reason to upgrade, and why would it? The licence is still valid, and the products do what is required of them. I'm sure we'll upgrade eventually, but we wouldn't go to OpenOffice (or a previous version of MS Office) just because Office 2007 was a bit late; we'd simply wait.
  • Re:Wait a sec! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Friday March 24, 2006 @06:47AM (#14986794) Journal
    Not until there is reported improvement in load times.

    Interesting astroturf attempt you have going there. Open Office Write 2.0 starts in about 3 seconds on my P/M 1.4Ghz laptop. MS Word is possibly a half a second faster.

    Opening a 1.6MB .doc file in Word took about 2 seconds, while OOo took about 7 seconds to import the same file. Once the file had been converted to Open Document, load times were indistinguishable.

  • Re:Answers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Friday March 24, 2006 @07:04AM (#14986833) Homepage Journal
    What does this mean for Microsoft and its reputation as a company that can eventually ship software?

    Not much, they'll still have a reputation for eventually shipping, as they always have done


    However it will make them think over using software assurance(=subscription) or not since the value of software assurance decreases if MS does not release new versions. It might be cheaper just to buy a single version and upgrade every 2 or 3 new versions instead of having the latest one that is not in time for the current subsription.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2006 @07:16AM (#14986864)
    So why don't Apple help out in the porting effort? Linux companies like Novell help gnomify the program to behave better on the gnome desktop. OS X is a small proprietary technology and it's understandable it's hard to keep a port without funding.
  • by jesterzog (189797) on Friday March 24, 2006 @07:20AM (#14986876) Homepage Journal

    OpenOffice might not have all the features of Microsoft Office but I don't care because I'll never use them. Moreover, nobody is going to take away the download for OpenOffice 2 and decide we need a shiny new version.

    That said, what are the chances of OpenOffice.Org actually improving radically? As much as I admire the people who put effort into improving it, the project gives me the impression of something like Netscape 4, which was like the engine of Netscape 3 with lots of band-aid features stuck over its face that made it act slower, inconsistent with itself, unstable, and generally buggy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels like there's so much legacy code and design in OpenOffice that it's difficult to implement important changes. In essence, and I'd be happy to be proved wrong, it seems like a big ancient application built on legacy design that's only going downhill and will inevitably be overtaken by others if it hasn't been already.

    I've been put off OpenOffice for some time now because it won't (cleanly) compile as a native 64 bit application. I was looking forward to the 2.0 release because I'd been led to believe that the incompatibilities were being ironed out specifically for that release, and then it would compile as a 64 bit application, but on release that unfortunately wasn't the case. Searching further, I discovered that the OpenOffice code was apparently still so messy from the Sun days that it simply hadn't been feasible to port to a 64 bit app in any reliable way, and probably wouldn't be for a long time to come.

    If OpenOffice had nice and easy-to-maintain code, I would have thought that a 64-bit build would have been as easy as a recompile -- perhaps with a couple of unforseen bug-fixes here and there. The problem is that something as basic as native 64-bit compilation is yet another thing that was never in the original design brief, and trying to patch it in later is a horrible task. I'm not an OpenOffice.Org developer, so if someone knows otherwise about this I'm keen to know.

    OpenOffice is convenient to have right now because it provides an 80% replacement for a lot of what MS Office does. Many people looking to switch might be able to use it as a drop-in replacement if their requirements aren't too complex. It's still a mammoth and heavily complex system with considerably dead weight, though, and unfortunately it's not particularly bug free.

    Personally, I've found it much easier to go with the more light-weight open source office apps, which aren't trying to be mammoth applications. Lately I've been using the likes of AbiWord, KWord, Gnumeric, and so on, and I've found them to be much more responsive, integrated with my system, and generally more stable than either OpenOffice or MS Office would be. (Actually I can't test MS Office on my system because it's not Windows, so I'm comparing it with MS Office on a typical Windows system.)

    The lighter-weight open source apps don't do as much as OpenOffice or MS Office, but they do enough to keep me satisfied. Unfortunately this isn't an option for most people who are locked into Microsoft Office for things like specialised code and plugins and various desktop integration stuff, but then neither is OpenOffice. eg. Supporting something like OpenOffice at my current work is completely out of the question, simply because it won't integrate with our document management systems, despite ODMA (Open Document Management API) being an open API that's existed for ages and is supported by the bulk of DMS products. (MS Office doesn't cleanly support ODMA either, but it's popular enough that it gets special attention from the DMS vendors.)

  • Re:Collaboration (Score:2, Interesting)

    by asylumx (881307) on Friday March 24, 2006 @07:35AM (#14986903)
    You are absolutely right, the corporation I work for uses a similar approach and it works very well for us since we have roughly 30 locations worldwide and there are multiple projects that span more than one of those locations. You can't use the "voice over voice" mentioned in an earlier reply to walk up to somebody in australia and talk about an issue. Not only are they half a world away, but their work hours are exactly the opposite of yours.

    Having something that is extremely intuitive (like opening the document and having the info already in front of you) is very important as well especially when you have hundreds of employees at any given location who are certainly NOT IT professionals, but need to use the software. You don't want to spend weeks or months showing them how to use it, you want to be able to assume they know how to use a computer and you want your software to be easy enough that training is a moot question.

    It always amazes me how if OpenOffice or the like has to delay their releases to fix bugs, they are literally applauded... but when it's MS that is trying to get it right, instantly they have everyone pissed at them.
  • Re:Failures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kalidasa (577403) on Friday March 24, 2006 @08:14AM (#14986990) Journal
    Not rumored, there's a Treo (PalmOne) that runs Windows PocketPC. This points out perfectly the terrible state of PalmOS 5 (PalmSource, or whatever the name of that company that bought them is). Why nobody is using PalmOS 6, I don't know; I imagine there is some good reason though.
  • by Lussarn (105276) on Friday March 24, 2006 @08:15AM (#14986993)
    Apple should port GTK and part of the gnome libraries to OS X, with native looks and feel. It's so totaly 90's to have to program every software title for every imaginable platform when there are mature open source libraries that would be nice if they got some tweaking. Kind of what Apple did with carbon.

    Coocoa may be nice but it is a vendor lock-in, which for many of us is important to avoid if possible.
  • by cswiger2005 (905744) <cswiger@mac.com> on Friday March 24, 2006 @08:41AM (#14987068) Homepage
    Excel, as it happens, is the best software ever written for the mass market. Don't belive me? Well, give counterexamples.

    I don't entirely disagree with you-- Excel is probably the best written part of the Office suite, and it is used so widely because it does provide very useful, well-implemented functionality, but I can still think of counterexamples:

    Lotus Improv
    Quantrix

  • Re:I looked.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wordsmith (183749) on Friday March 24, 2006 @09:17AM (#14987172) Homepage
    Give me Word 5.1a for the Mac any day. It got words on a page in a neat and presentable format, and did pretty much nothing else. It was perfect.
  • dare I say it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by misfit815 (875442) on Friday March 24, 2006 @10:10AM (#14987417)
    Please prove me wrong on this one (cringe). I'm familiar with Office 2003, and Office XP, and Office 2000, and Office 97, and Office 95, and, hell, what was it called then - just Office? Anyway, I've *seen* OpenOffice.org. I've loaded it, toyed around with it, but not put it fully into use. From what I can tell, though, it probably does about 90% of what Office does (in terms of actual normal everyday usage, not number of features). And it's free.

    Now, there's some (especially within this twisted /. community) that'll toot the horn of OSS and say what a grand thing it is, and how information wants to be free, and all that crap. Don't get me wrong, I'm a self-described information communist.

    But that doesn't win over the masses. The little detail about being free. Yeah, that's what will win over the masses.

    So why aren't people switching? There's a few reasons, but I think one of the major ones at this point is the vast collection of Word templates, Excel spreadsheets, Access databases, etc. that are in existence. I'm even a culprit. I give my time to a family business, and at one time rolled up my first, last, and only Access-based application several years ago for them. The problem is that they're still using it.

    So, one of these days, I'll convert it to something nicer, and they'll never buy another Office license again.

    That, IMHO, is the next phase of adoption - all those people who have a vested interest in legacy stuff that has become (by accident more than design) a critical part of their infrastructure. As that stuff gets replaced, the door is open for OpenOffice.org.

    To use another example, I've spent the majority of the last 8 years in various manufacturing facilities. You would not believe the number of Excel spreadsheets that are a critical part of their production process. And these aren't bank rec's - they're several megs of nasty, crudely-hacked VBA code. The story's always the same - Joe Manufacturing Engineer puts together a little spreadsheet to calculate something that makes his job easier. Then his coworker asks for a little extra feature. Then they add in another. Pretty soon, he's learning VBA the hard way with no prior programming experience. Three years later, his entire job is to maintain this beast of a spreadsheet.

    Anyway, the point (if there is one) is this. OpenOffice.org is gonna make it through the next wave of adoption (which is gonna be a big wave) by being free and by the replacement of all these legacy 'pseudo-apps'. The free part's a given. What happens to all those pseudo-apps is anyone's guess, I think. They may very well get replaced by Microsoft stuff and we'll still be having this conversation two years from now when we're waiting on Office 2011 (yes, I did the math).

    J
  • Re:I looked.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 24, 2006 @01:59PM (#14989279) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'm still using Office '97 Pro. It freaks out on non-primary displays (pull-down menus pop up on the primary display no matter where the app is) but other than that it's still a champ, it's tiny compared to any successor, it works as well as Office ever has for the most part, and it's way way WAY faster than any version that came after. You don't notice until your system is loaded (because computers are so fast now) but when you're swapping and such, you can tell that O97 is faster than anything later.

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