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Office 2007 Delayed Again 211

Posted by Zonk
from the clippy's-triumphant-return dept.
Tyler Too writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft Office 2007 has been delayed again, this time into early 2007. 'Based on internal testing and the beta 2 feedback around product performance, we are revising our development schedule to deliver the 2007 system release by the end of year 2006, with broad general availability in early 2007.' Tough bit of timing after this week's online preview of Office 2007."
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Office 2007 Delayed Again

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:54PM (#15632051)
    So what exactly are the improvements over the last ten years.

  • I wonder... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rilister (316428) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:12PM (#15632193)
    ... if this could be related to re-thinking that radical user-interface change that they've attached to Word. (I use a CAD program that adopted this kind of thing a few releases back and I still detest this, just like anyone with tendonitis would detest pointless extra mouse clicks.)

    Beta preview is right the time that all their big corporate accounts would feedback "for the love of God, we're not retraining every person in the darn organization just to use Word. Now CHANGE IT BACK!"
  • by akac (571059) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:19PM (#15632247) Homepage
    work....

    I very much enjoy using the ribbon. I think its a huge improvement in usability. If I wasn't using it in Parallels mostly and there was a Mac version, I'd use it definitely. I always liked Entourage, but I won't use it due to Rosetta (I only use PPC apps when I have no choice - with email I have a choice).

    So while I love Outlook 2007 and Word 2007, I don't enjoy the speed. Its definitely slower. So I hope they work on that more.
  • by ePhil_One (634771) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:26PM (#15632278) Journal
    Maybe they should just call it "Office V10",


    Except Office 2003 is Office v11, take a look in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11, the standard install path. Just like Windows XP is NT 5.1, and Server 2003 is NT 5.2. Marketing calls it what they want, the engineers keep things sane.

    So Maybe by late next year I will be running Office v12 on NT 6.0 (or will it be 5.3? Who has the Vista beta installed?)

  • by doodlebumm (915920) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:59PM (#15632498)
    I mean, really! 99% of the users wouldn't use anything that isn't in Office 2000. The only reason would be for file formats (more MS proprietary, as well and XML and OD), but still 99% of the users still wouldn't ever NEED to use them. I think a new Office version is a dead horse. Somebody shoot Steve B. and Bill G.!
  • Re:In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:01PM (#15632510)
    I just tried Open Office for the first time and I found it to run much much better than the Office POS I use at work. It seemed to be much more intuitive than Office. With Office I always have trouble doing anything more complicated than typing. The last time I was so satisfied with a word processor was with WordPerfect 5 (Dos) or WP 6 for winders.

    p.s. I am a programmer, so maybe they are building Office for normal people and I just don't know how to be normal.
  • by wintermute1974 (596184) <wintermute@berne-ai.org> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @07:52PM (#15632823) Homepage
    The parent poster would probably change his mind if he were to watch any of the presentations made by Jensen Harris [msdn.com], the man in charge of the new Office UI.

    I am a Windows 2000/Office 97 user who does not upgrade just because Microsoft decides they need to make a few extra billions with a bump in version number and some new eye candy. I assumed (without any evidence) that the new Office would be more of the same. But then I found Jensen Harris' presentation at BayCHI last December [baychi.org] to be so interesting that now I am excited about trying the new Office UI.

    Essentially, the new UI gets rid of the menu bars, button bars, side panels, clippy agents, personal menus and other cruft that slowly accumulated over the successive revisions of Microsoft Office. His argument is that a complex product needs a clear interface. And that's what the ribbon is: Everything is there, and its choices are always context sensitive.

    My own personal opinion is that the new interface is pure brilliance, and it won't be long before other companies start poorly(*) imitating its task-based approach over the traditional feature-based approach.

    Download the BayCHI slides and video. If you develop software, the new UI is definitely something to behold.

    ===
    (*) The imitations will be done poorly because most other software firms do not have the huge sample of user reports automatically created in the current version of Office. The Office UI team was able to determine the frequency of commands so that even their arrangement on the ribbon will be from most-used to least.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:12PM (#15632939)
    Anyone that wants PDF or Blogging from Word probably has that without 2007.
  • Geeze (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:34PM (#15633059)
    If you don't have anything original to say, then don't say anything at all.

    I was quite impressed with the Office 2007 beta and was surpised to learn that performance was an issue. One of the features I really like is the ability to do real-time previews of different style sets, which performed quickly. The UI is also quite streamlined and its obvious Microsoft is trying something new with UI design that no other OS can attest to.

    I just am amazed that when there is an article that talks about how slow Microsoft's product development is taking, people complain about how long it is taking. But when Microsoft was turning out Office and OS updates with only a year or two between them, people were complaining about how fast an unecesary it was for MS to come out with something new so quickly.

    The bottom line is, people don't got anything new, or original to say about Microsoft, and it gets pretty tired. I don't know if people think they are being witty or smart when they post another "insert common misperception here" comment.

    The saddest part is, how may people are using MS products every day. I mean 90% of the desktop market uses Windows, so you kind of have to wonder if Slashdot is only read and commented on by 10% of the computer market.
  • by sharkey (16670) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:13PM (#15633227)

    Essentially, the new UI gets rid of the menu bars, button bars, side panels, clippy agents, personal menus and other cruft that slowly accumulated over the successive revisions of Microsoft Office.

    Actually, it only gets rid of some (less than half) of the "menu bars, button bars, side panels, clippy agents, personal menus and other cruft". The UI is terribly inconsistent between applications: Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Acces have the "ribbon". In Outlook, some of the windows have the new "ribbon", some have the same UI as prior versions of Office. The rest of the "Office family" has the old UI.

    The "ribbon" is learnable, but it's a pain in the ass to keep jumping back and forth. Outlook is particularly painful, since it's the app I'll use the most at work, and Microsoft's UI schizophrenia is a smack in the face with every email.

  • by saridder (103936) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:30PM (#15633306) Homepage
    Agreed 10,000% percent that innovation is hard and it's the hottest topic in business today. If I knew what to add to Office, I'd already be doing a startup (and hoping to get bought). :P Seriously though, I haven't really thought about it too much.

    The big problem I'd like to solve is that I'd like to leverage the collective intelligence of my co-workers, past work/projects so that I don't have to work in a vacuum or re-invent the wheel unknowingly. How many problems or situations have I come across that have already been solved/encountered? How can technology help in this area? Given that we operate in a world with advanced search technologies, shared/networked storage, ubiquitous networks and lightning-fast processors, how can an office application tie it all together? My current office application mainly operates within the confines of my HD/PC and is very "me" centric. As I write this, who else has had this thought, what ideas have they had to solve this problem and how can I access what they wrote to borrow ideas from?

    Maybe by leveraging collaboration, better search technologies and AI to bring ideas and relevant information to the forefront that I could reference (as opposed to facts) when writing a paper or preparing a report. I'd like this text box to know what I'm thinking about or who to contact to help me develop my thoughts better, cross reference facts, etc. I'd like my office applications to become a productivity hub/portal that I could use for tasks/project management work, online collaboration, historical and real time communication and for it to respond to my voice much more naturally.

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head, but you get the picture. In the 1990's when PC's were developing, office applications took advantage of them and made us all more productive. But that was 10-15 years ago. Why is the current state of office still stuck inside my pc? Who will free it to take advantage of today's IT environment?

  • by WuphonsReach (684551) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @11:33PM (#15633855)
    Of course, that also ignores the possibility Microsoft miss their ship date and your SA expires before the new software's released - then you've just paid for nothing... sorry, 'support'.

    Quite a few companies got burned by SA in the past few years. Pretty sure BusinessWeek covered it, or at least there were mentions in the press. There was a big push back around 2001/2002 where Microsoft was encouraging everyone to switch to SA-style purchase agreements in order to evenly spread software costs across multiple years. With the advantage that when Microsoft came out with the next version, you'd automatically be able to upgrade. And, of course, Microsoft would be ensured of a predictable revenue stream.

    Our sales rep tried to push it on us. Fortunately, we ran the numbers and told them to take a hike. That and we don't run a single-OS network anyway (we use 4 different OSs on the desktops and 3 different OSs on the servers) so supporting multiple environments isn't an issue. No need to upgrade older machines lockstep with newer machines.

    4-5 years later and I'm still laughing because SA would've gained us *zip* in terms of free upgrades by the time the 3-year term ran out.
  • by ejdmoo (193585) on Friday June 30, 2006 @01:30AM (#15634310)
    The ribbon does allow for more screen real estate. It's really no thicker than office was before, having one menu and two toolbars. Plus, it'll never get thicker than that (with extra toolbars).

    The best part, though? A quick double click to any of the ribbon headers hides the whole thing. That turns it very minimalistic.
  • XML format: If I want a good XML file format, I'd sooner trust OpenOffice

    Actually, for real XML I trust neither. But since it's an XML based format for either, I can "trust" that even if the software spontaneously dies everywhere tomorrow, I can get my thesis/paper/novel into something i can keep working on. (I've noted the non-obvious benefits elsewhere.)

    XPS: why would I want that?

    Because it's not PDF, but does the same task. And unlike the bastardized MDI format from XP-2003, XPS is actually going to have a free reader out there.

    PDF: you can get decent PDF creation with free software. There are a bunch of different options. I like CutePDF

    CutePDF isn't "descent" PDF until you pay for it. Until then, it's little better than installing a ps2pdf equivalent.

    Blogging: Who in their right mind would pay hundreds of dollars for a Microsoft Word upgrade, just so they can use Word to post to their blog? There are loads of ways to post to your weblog, free options, and MS Word seems like it's more than overkill. In fact, for what most people use Word for, it's overkill.

    Nobody who cares about hundreds of dollars. But if you're getting a new PC with Office, or getting a Student edition, or getting it so you can support it, or for any number of other reasons, you'll use it.

    Word gets downplayed a lot by geeks -- especially F/OSS geeks -- because they see it as something that it isn't. It is either overkill or underkill for just about every "task" that it does... and yet, no F/OSS tool out there does everything that Word does for a writer as elegantly.

    (Wanna prove me wrong? Point me to a Win32 program that can take either .DOC or a similar equivalent, and can count the words in any arbitrary section of text, can track the changes I make at least as well as Work 2k (only the last writing session is all I really need), has an on-the-fly spellchecker, built-in or hooked-in thesaurus, some option to fix common typos, some similiar option to undo accidental typo-corrections easily, and can either export to .DOC or has a Palm OS program that can read and at least common on an RTF-style version.)

    (Oh, and OOo while OOo passes 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8, it fails pretty miserably at 2, 5, and 7.)
  • by pcause (209643) on Friday June 30, 2006 @08:24AM (#15635369)
    I have been using the beta and after even a short time I am not surprised by the delay. Lots of places where performance needs work with Outlook being the biggest.

    The focus of this release seemed to be on eye candy (the ribbon) and not on performance and ease of use. Some will say that the ribbon adds to ease of use and maybe it does. But I also find it can be cumbersome some times. If you are an occassional user of an app, it might help you use the apps and discover commands. There was a lot in these apps that epople didn't use because they couldn't find the command or figure out how to use the commands. Maybe the ribbon helps, hard to tell yet.

    Using Outlook 2007 is tough because the perfoamnce is terrible. That is saying a lot given the Outlook has always been slow. I know this is a beta, but one expects a beta 2, released just 3-4 months before the expected commercial release to be pretty close to final. There are some nice changes, but too little improvement and lacking needed extra functionality.

    Word seems OK, but on the ribbon there is space left over and they make you click the "editting" icon to get to find or replace, which are common operations. Strange choice especially since they give Find a spot on the bar in Powerpoint.

    Desktop Search 3, which is supposed to be an integrated element is incomplete and still buggy (yes, beta, but....).

    Powerpoint and Excel seem about the same.

    Lots of work in integrating with Sharepoint.

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