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Is Microsoft Office Adware? 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-tell-lavasoft dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Office may fall under Microsoft's own definition of adware. It links to third-party commercial add-ons, includes up-selling promos, requires cookies for certain functions, and collects technical information. While this is like a normal day on the web, should the commercial office suite be held to a different standard and possibly be considered adware? The article also notes that clicking advertising links in Office will bring up Internet Explorer, regardless of whether or not it is the default browser. We discussed Microsoft's decision to turn Works into adware a few months ago.
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Is Microsoft Office Adware?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:08PM (#22371216)
    SMOKE MARLBORO!!!
  • OOo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:11PM (#22371236) Homepage
    I think I've realized something about Microsoft: They really want us to NOT want to use Microsoft products. I finally get it -- It's not sufficient for them to own the market; in order to feel fully dominant, they must own it against our will. It's as though they think that if we wanted to use their products because they were good for us and worked in our best interest, it would not be true show of their power, for we'd be rational in wanting such products. Only if they can force their software down our throats whether we want it or not, do they have full assurance that their power is real.
    • by rdradar (1110795)

      in order to feel fully dominant, they must own it against our will. It's as though they think that if we wanted to use their products because they were good for us and worked in our best interest, it would not be true show of their power, for we'd be rational in wanting such products. Only if they can force their software down our throats whether we want it or not, do they have full assurance that their power is real.

      Money is about showing your power [showyourpower.net]. No surprise there :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by irtza (893217)
      well, I looked at the breakdown of moderation on this post. As usual, the antimicrosoft crowd modded this as insightful because I fear they truly believe that MS doesn't want us to use there software. Not a single Funny moderation? How does this happen. The saracasm in this post is radiating "mod me funny".... that would also allow the offtopic moderaters to rest easy (though they should have a field day with this post)...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)
        Because it's not a joke. Microsoft are selling out their client base to third parties while they continue to have a client base. They've got multibillion dollar back room deals, they're being paid to put everyones PC under a centralized lock and key system, and if they succeed, they'll get a percentage. It's not like it's a secret.
        • Re:OOo (Score:4, Insightful)

          by irtza (893217) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:33PM (#22373134) Homepage
          well, the problem is about how you define who MS's client base is... it certainly is not the consumers who end up buying their machines - those are just annoyances that they must deal with. Their clientbase is system builders and more recently content developers. They will cater to those making the content that moves the boxes. They are essentially no different than ASUS or any other component provider (except for their monopoly and willingness to abuse it). These companies do things according to what there clients (the computer builders) want so long as it fits there goals. The fact that these eventually move on is not there problems. if people want MS to lose there monopoly, pressure needs to be put on companies like Dell and HP to push pressure upstream for better hardware support in alternative operating systems. Right now, the lockin ability that MS provides these people is important (i.e. Dell software that ships with there systems isn't so portable thanks to measures taken by MS). This is also why they can push adware on one hand while simultaneously sell software that takes other peoples adware off your system.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by xs650 (741277)
        The best humor has a large element of truth to it. In this case, it was completely true.

        The fact that it upsets MS fanbois is a bonus.
    • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:54PM (#22371662) Journal

      I finally get it -- It's not sufficient for them to own the market; in order to feel fully dominant, they must own it against our will.
      They want ~your will~ itself. Microsoft wants to own the user. Every time the user starts a Redmond application, the application is Microsoft territory just like an embassy.

      And you had better have a passport, because on entrance you and your computer become subjects of El Presidente Señor Lanzero de Sillónes Ballmero.

      • by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:11PM (#22372338) Homepage Journal
        Almost everything Microsoft does makes a whole lot of more sense if you look at it from the standpoint that they hate their customers, but still want their money. I have never worked with products that exude more of a sense of contempt than those from Microsoft, and Vista is possibly the best example.

        • by thewils (463314) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @06:37PM (#22373682) Journal

          they hate their customers

          they hate their licensees

          There, fixed it for ya. The term "customer" leaves me with the impression that you've actually bought something and you can do want you want with it. I don't think this is how M$ sees it. Bill lets you use his s/w for a while if you behave and follow the rules.
          • Thanks for the correction.

            Actually, thinking about it, it's not even how you describe it. You give control of your computer to Microsoft, they allow you to use the computer with Windows. While their software is on it, while you might have physical possession of the computer, it is theirs to do with as they see fit, and any functionality and value you get out of it is solely at their discretion.

      • by longacre (1090157) *
        And you had better have a passport...

        You mean Live ID, right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thestudio_bob (894258)

      I'm not a Microsoft fan, never have been, but this is a prime example of what happens when you put a sales person in charge of your company. Balmer either lacks the vision of what the customer wants or is choosing to ignore it. He seems to be pimping out the company every chance he gets and I think the customers are finally starting to get turned off by what he's bringing to the table.

      Bill Gates is an uber-dork, but at least he brought some passion and vision to the company and seemed to think about the cu

  • Don't think so (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dr Kool, PhD (173800) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:13PM (#22371256) Homepage Journal
    I got a free copy of Office 2007 Pro from the "Power Together" Vista + Office giveaway. Haven't noticed any ads anywhere, it sure doesn't meet my definition of ad ware.
    • I know people who have paid $400 for it, that doesn't meet my or their definition either. No, MSO is not adware. It may 'suggest' that the user do it the MS way, and might try to pry more money out of the end user, but that does not make it adware.
    • by ahziem (661857)
      Wait until the next MSO version comes out. Then your MSO 2007 will have ads.
    • Re:Don't think so (Score:5, Informative)

      by p0tat03 (985078) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:09PM (#22371792)
      Try typing a math equation with Equation Editor (which in itself is a decently capable equation editor, if not a bit unwieldy). As soon as you close your equation, it will pop up an advertisement for MathWorks or some other bullshit "upgraded" equation editor. Seriously MS, if I thought a feature was lacking I'd seek 3rd-party plugins myself, you don't need to pimp this to me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sticks_us (150624)
        Yes, exactly. TFA actually includes a similar example (btw, who knows what kind of kickback scheme is behind this,
        but you can bet there is one). You throw in the fact that calls home with usage/tracking data, and you know what?
        We're technically talking about something very similar to adware.

        Of course, most joe-sixpack people don't care. This suggests that there's some convergence of advertising and
        application functionality in our future (see also: Google Apps)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          What joe-sixpack is going to use equations in Word? What joe-sixpack actually knows this feature exists? Those that use the fairly slow an annoying built in thing may not know there is an alternative without this. For those who actually need to use equations on a day to day basis use things like matlab and mathematica.
          • by jonbryce (703250)
            College students doing maths and science related courses? At high school level, that is pretty much everyone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by contrapunctus (907549)
        (I don't use MS Office (or Windows) anymore and I try to not use anything MS)

        I remember buying MathType in 1997 or so because I found it in Word. I was grateful as I wouldn't have known about MathType otherwise (then).

        I guess my point is that it was helpful (for both me and the third party) since it led me to find a program I used a lot from a small 3rd party.

        I hated having to find programs ($20 or $30 for something I needed to use once so I didn't do it) though that did what Office should have been able to
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cp.tar (871488)

          I remember buying MathType in 1997 or so because I found it in Word. I was grateful as I wouldn't have known about MathType otherwise (then).

          I guess my point is that it was helpful (for both me and the third party) since it led me to find a program I used a lot from a small 3rd party.

          It is no less adware just because the ads may be useful.

          I hated having to find programs ($20 or $30 for something I needed to use once so I didn't do it) though that did what Office should have been able to do (I really can't remember what now but I remember being really angry because they were simple things).

          And these ads, if they are indeed useful and not annoying (and remember, all ads in any kind of adware are useful to somebody; if nobody ever clicked them, they wouldn't exist in the first place or would die out soon), only make it easier to find that kind of functionality elsewhere, for if it were built in into Office, there would be no need for the ads.

      • Re:Don't think so (Score:4, Informative)

        by GIL_Dude (850471) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @04:14PM (#22372382) Homepage
        OK, I just tried it. I didn't get an ad or a suggestion that I try some other product. I was using Office 2007 Pro Plus and inserted the equation in Word. Maybe I have to have the "internet services" turned on? I'm sure you've seen it - I am not contradicting you there - I just am not seeing it on my copy and I would actually LIKE to see it as I am in desktop design (3rd level design with a small amount of support) and anything my customers may see, I would like to know about first. Any idea how to reproduce this?
        • by ilyag (572316)
          I think that to use the equation editor in Word 2007, you have to go to Insert->Object (or whatever place it allows you to insert things such as Excel tables, etc.), and pick Equation Editor there.

          By default, if you try to insert some math, you'll be using the new Office Math Editor, which did not exist in previous versions of Office, and probably doesn't nag for ads. The Equation Editor is the "legacy" way of inserting formulas.
      • by WARM3CH (662028)
        No it doesn't. You're probably talking about previous versions of Word but the 2007 version has its own, much improved equation editor that has nothing to do with MathWorks.
      • It has done that since at least Word 98 for Macintosh (and 97 for the PC). And it's Mathtype (the people who supply Equation Editor), not The Mathworks.

                  Brett
    • Re:Don't think so (Score:4, Informative)

      by gravis777 (123605) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @07:03PM (#22373952)
      I totally agree. Been running Office 2007 for a year and a half - I was a beta tester, like thousands of others. I was one of the first to install it after it came out, because I needed to evaluate it. We are now preparing to role it out to our users. I do not use Excel myself, but have heard some rave reviews from co-workers who like some of the new features. I use Outlook 2007, Word 2007 and Powerpoint 2007 quite often (Word and Outlook on a daily basis). NEVER had an issue. Even in Powerpoint, when I turn on the option to pull clipart off of Microsoft's website, never had a problem. Insert a video file into a Powerpoint presentation? No problem. Convert a bulleted list into Smart Art? No problem. Insert tables and formulas into Word? Setup Rss Feeds in Outlook? Etc, Etc, etc. I consider myself a Power User of Word, Outlook and Powerpoint, and have NEVER had an issue with Office 2003, 2004 for the mac, 2007, or 2008 doing anything that you mentioned. I would suggest running Spybot or AdAware and stop blaming MS for your bad surfing habits and inability to remove spyware and adware on your own system.
      • by jo42 (227475)
        I have a question for you and the thousands of other Office 2007 beta testers:

        Why didn't you tell the 'tards at Microsoft that using Word to render the HTML in Outlook was one of the stupidest things that they have ever done?
        • by thealsir (927362)
          Probably because it's not so stupid. Evil maybe, but not stupid. Many people use outlook. This ties them more into Outlook and less into other mail clients.
        • by gravis777 (123605)
          First, this is nothing new with Office 2007 - it was in Office 2003 and I am pretty sure it is in Office XP as well.

          Second, what would you prefer them to use, IE? Apparently even Microsoft understands that you do not want to use IE to render HTML in your programs.

          Of course, this begs to question why Outlook just does not have its own built in HTML renderer. My guess is to maintain visual rendering consistancy between your Office products. If an update is made to Word, you do not have to update Outlook as we
  • by pla (258480) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:15PM (#22371266) Journal
    Is Microsoft Office Adware?

    Of course not - If so, Windows Defender would block it. Which it doesn't. So no problem, right?
  • Sounds OK to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ritchie70 (860516) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:19PM (#22371318) Journal
    This is the low-end PC market. Knocking $40 off the manufacturer's build costs is probably major for them in this market. I know, Open Office, etc, but Works 7 (the last one I've seen) is actually pretty decent for what most people use, and the naive user who's buying these PCs just knows "Microsoft" for "Officey" stuff.

    I would have been glad to get a free shrink wrap Works a few years ago. My mom was sending me documents in Works Word Processor format and I had to go buy Works to read them. Trust me, teaching "Save As . . . scroll down to Word... " wasn't practical with her at the time. It was a lot less painful to just go buy Works.

    Finally, I hate to tell you, but the Works 7 Word Processor isn't actually that bad. It looks exactly like Word did a few years ago, and has all the features most people use.
    • Re:Sounds OK to me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:29PM (#22371394)
      It looks exactly like Word did a few years ago, and has all the features most people use.

      Yes, and there are a lot of people that wish Word still looked like it did a few years ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by misleb (129952)
      You did your mom a disservice by not recommending Open Office to her. And I'm not saying that because I'm an Open Source evangelist. She's going to have a heck of time exchanging documents with others. For the longest time I didn't even know MS Works still existed. I though (well, hoped and prayed) it had died like 10 years ago until I started working at a college and a faculty member came to me with a .wps file that she needed to print. I had to look it up. Then I had to tell her we didn't have any softwa
      • by Ritchie70 (860516)
        Mom moved over to Office Student-Teacher edition (she teaches) two or three years ago. When she was using Works, she wasn't exchanging documents with anyone but me, and OpenOffice, frankly, wasn't nearly as mature.
    • Perhaps the manufacture should just give a genuine itemized invoice rather than bundling and let the market decide.

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      The major problem with MS Works is that its default save file is not MS Word compatible. I'm getting sick of finding Works on computers and no easy way to mass convert the 100 or so documents so that they can either use MS Word or OO.o.
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      While it's certainly true that the Works Word Processor will do 99.9% of what most people ever need to do, it's Microsoft's marketing combined with simple psychology that has gotten people to get Office. Quite simply, if most of their friends and coworkers are using Office, they don't want to be using the "inferior" or "crippled" product. Microsoft knows that everyone in America has to keep up with the Joneses,...
  • Windows? (Score:4, Funny)

    by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:20PM (#22371322)
    Wouldn't Windows fall under adware? Looking at the checklist it seems like they all apply... Especially Vista.

    On a side note, when I click on an email address in my Windows Mail, it opens Office Outlook. No, it is not set as my default mailer :(
    • Actually I think both the home Windows and Office will turn into Adware at some point. At the moment OEMs pay something less than $50 to Microsoft to install Windows. But they can offset that by installing crapware.

      http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070525-windows-tax-is-50-according-to-dell-linux-pc-pricing.html [arstechnica.com]

      So it turns out that not including Windows saves the consumer $50 from the regular list price. This amount is not too far off from what a large OEM like Dell would pay for a volume discount for Windows Vista Home Basic (the regular OEM price is about $95). Many value PC sellers try to make up for the cost of a Windows license by bundling demo and trial versions of software such as AOL (affectionately known as "crapware"), for which they receive money from software companies looking to increase their distribution levels. Dell is no exception to this practice, although on their web site it allows customers to select the option of not including various applications.

      But that $50 leaves a gap at the bottom of the market that might be colonised by Linux. Sub $200 PCs will end up paying too high a percentage for this. Microsoft could avoid this and rake in

  • I could be wrong here (haven't used MS on my home comp for ages) but I thought that the adware problem was with MS Works, which is distict from MS office?
  • Well,the google ads on the article site point to some adware removers, maybe one of them will help...
  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:31PM (#22371418) Homepage Journal
    I read it as "Badware". My ad.
  • by stubear (130454) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#22371432)
    ...Leopard to be adware as well. My copy came with links to iDisk/.mac and trial versions of iWorks with a few files that default to opening in Pages to get you hooked. While I can get rid of iWeb and iWorks, I cannot get rid of the iDisk link in the connect to menu item. Now that I think of it, iTunes is part of this whole adware strategy as well. Then there's Quicktime. Don't have the Pro version? Apple is going to tell you what you're missing in the menus by ghosting list items and putting a "Pro" tag next to everything. Personally I find this far more deplorable then a few links in what amounts to nothing more than an interactive/context sensitive help "palette". While many rabid anti-MS geeks on Slashdot might not find these links very helpful, some typical office workers will (and I'm sure Microsoft has the user studies to back this position up, unlike the typical Slashbot that has only anecdotal evidence they like to compare to actual data).
    • by snl2587 (1177409) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:43PM (#22371548)

      So any software which contains links to its creator's webpage (or its own, if one has been created) is adware?

      You're right: based on the summary and Microsoft's description Leopard and office would fall under the category, but then again, so would nearly every piece of software I use to some degree. Who voted for this article to be featured, anyway? Just another excuse for pointless debate...

    • by klubar (591384)
      Don't forget to add almost all of the Adobe products. The splash screens contain links and almost all of the help topics are adware.

      If you really don't want adware, just unplug that RJ45 ethernet cable on the back.

      Instant...no adware!
  • Sliverlight Prompts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by artgeeq (969931) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:32PM (#22371434)
    Sure, why not? I have been using Microsoft TechNet for a while now, and I kept getting these pop-ip prompts to install something called "Silverlight" just about every time. I have to use TechNet to do my job, so I finally just relented and hit the "OK" button.

    Maybe Microsoft should come up with a new logo program: "Microsoft adware Aware"

  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#22371468) Homepage Journal
    Also uses I.E. when Firefox is the default (in win2k at least)

    It drives me nuts because my boss *always* uses that instead of clicking the FF icon which is hindering my attempts to improve the workflow.
    • by xjimhb (234034)
      Back in the NT days I found a great solution to this problem. I don't know if it will still work on XP and Vista or not, might need a little tweaking.

      1. Get a copy of the ubiquitous "Hello World" program, in any language for which you have a compiler.
      2. Compile it.
      3. Rename the resulting file "iexplore.exe".
      4. Copy it to the directory where the real iexplore.exe resides, thus nullifying any calls to Internut Exploder from anywhere.
      5. Copy the file to your boss's computer, thereby forcing him to use Firefox.
      • by statusbar (314703)
        And then the boss complains to the IT person that the computer is broken. The IT grunt can't figure it out - maybe it is a virus? Run the virus software! it didn't fix it! Hmm! Well, this computer is broken, we need to buy a new one.

        Don't laugh, I saw this kind of thing happen.

        --jeffk++
      • by Drasil (580067)
        I would have thought the BOFH would have a lower /. id :o
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by msoftsucks (604691)
        Better yet, write iexplorer.exe to call firefox.exe. That's what I do. Any attempts to call IE either through a shortcut, or from within an application (Quickbooks does the same. It's more adware than the latest Office) will cause Firefox to fire.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:37PM (#22371498)
    MS sees the handwriting on the wall.

    Warren Buffett saw it back in the early 90s when he said he wouldn't invest in Microsoft, because he didn't see a profitable business model (long term...Buffett's method).

    Desperation is driving MS to use everything they can to continue the profit line, including using acquisitions to get what they couldn't create.

    I don't have anything bad to say about MS, and use some of their products, but given their CEO's reputation and his lack of experience in any other large company, & changing FOSS world, I have this gut feel that says MS is going to have a REAL HARD time expanding its yearly sales and profits.
    • by westlake (615356) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @05:36PM (#22373158)
      MS sees the handwriting on the wall.
      Desperation is driving MS to use everything they can to continue the profit line
      I have this gut feel that says MS is going to have a REAL HARD time expanding its yearly sales and profits.

      67 cents of every new retail dollar spent on PC software goes to MS Office.

      Through end of November, U.S. retail PC software sales are up 10.3 percent year over year as measured in dollar volume, according to NPD. By comparison, Office sales are up 50.7 percent, by the same measure and in the same time frame. Office sales are so big, they make calculating broader PC software retail sales difficult. The "magnitude of Office sales relative to the rest of the PC software market is phenomenal. It's the massively huge tail wagging the dog." Retail Black Friday sales of Mac Office were up 215.8 percent year over year. While Mac Office generated blowout sales on Black Friday, Office 2007 sales growth was exceptionally good, too. Year-over-year U.S. retail Black Friday sales of Office were up 65.8 percent, as measured in dollars. The Year of Office 2007 [microsoft-watch.com]

      Microsoft's profits are up 79%:

      For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, profit rose to $4.71 billion, or 50 cents per share, from $2.63 billion, or 26 cents per share the previous year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast a profit of 46 cents per share. Revenue rose 31 percent to $16.37 billion from $12.5 billion in the year-ago quarter, ahead of the analysts' prediction of $15.95 billion in sales.

      {and, in what must be the understatement of the year]

      "It looks like a very nice report," said Sarah Friar, an analyst for Goldman Sachs. Microsoft Corp. earnings leap 79 percent [statesman.com]

      I was sorely tempted to give my response a flamebait title like "The Geek Turns Delusional."

      I won't disguise my opinion here that the Geek's increasingly frantic retreat from reality has been the Slashdot story since the posting of Microsoft's second quarter results.

      The CDW poll points to a softening of enterprise IT negative attitudes toward Vista. Familiarity, it seems, has bred content: IT departments are happier with Vista's features, particularly in the area of security, and less concerned about the hardware costs of Vista than they were a year ago. Another year will bring further declines in the relative cost of PC hardware -- and make a lot of corporate desktop hardware look even more antique. Only a major economic downturn would be likely to derail current estimates of another strong year for PC sales, so even if Vista remains tied to hardware sales it would do well, and corporate upgrades could finally kick in as old hardware is upgraded. This has been a year when Vista has had its rough edges knocked off, and the marketplace has adjusted its expectations. By Vista's next birthday it should be more differentiated and acceptable for both its consumer and business marketplaces. Assessing Windows Vista On Its First Anniversary [informationweek.com]

  • Give me a break. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:38PM (#22371512)
    An OpenOffice advocacy site talking shit about Microsoft Office? Didn't see that one coming. But I guess Slashdot just has to get their Two Minutes Hate from somewhere...

    Of course if this were a Microsoft Office advocacy site talking shit about OpenOffice we would have the FUD-Nazis screaming at the top of their lungs.

    But honestly, I can't make myself care about the hypocrisy anymore; I am tired and bored of it even more than I am tired and bored of the whole Roger Clemens thing.

    Back on-topic for a second, "adware" is not really a useful term as it encompasses a number of different things, some of which are not malicious and others which are. As long as Microsoft discloses what the software is doing then there really isn't any malicious intent.
    • by kc2keo (694222)
      I agree and I will drink to that!
    • by syousef (465911)
      An OpenOffice advocacy site talking shit about Microsoft Office?

      Talking shit as in criticizing, exaggerating, or flat out lying?

      Of course if this were a Microsoft Office advocacy site talking shit about OpenOffice we would have the FUD-Nazis screaming at the top of their lungs.

      Wouldn't how reasonable that is again depend on the truth of what was said?

      As long as Microsoft discloses what the software is doing then there really isn't any malicious intent.

      Okay what if in the EULA they said: "Microsoft Office, i
    • by hyades1 (1149581)

      I'll try to make this simple for you. WHATEVER the product, when I've bought and paid for it, it becomes my property. Mine. Period. I don't want it trying to sell me something or phone home with my personal information or chat with its buddies. I expect it to do as it's told. If Microsoft or anybody else wants to push their own agenda at me, they can try renting or leasing their product.

      Get it?

  • trolls gone wild (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xubu_caapn (1086401) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @02:49PM (#22371612)
    this is possibly the most incendiary, blatant attempt at microsoft-bashing that ive seen on slashdot. i mean... come on...
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      You obviously haven't been here very long, fanboi.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      Yes, this was pretty bad and a blatant attempt at getting hits.

      I wonder if Soulskill is Zonk's sock-puppet.
  • ..is Intuit. Each year if you upgrade your Quickbooks, Intuit spends more effect and intrusiveness trying to up sell you on features and services related to their software. It has become so infuriating that I refuse to upgrade until I have no choice at all, in hopes someone will come up with something better that is functional enough to make me happy.
  • Where's the yesnomaybe tag?
  • by kcwhitta (232438) on Sunday February 10, 2008 @03:12PM (#22371834)
    They're looking at Office 2003, when the latest version of Office is 2007. In 2007, Firefox loaded every time I went to a link, whether in Office, via an Office dialog, or through Office help.

    The article states, "it is unusual to require cookies or to use them in a desktop application", yet Office Online is the only part of Office that requires cookies. This doesn't seem that strange to me: no local features require them.

    I wasn't able to find any ads in Office 2007, but because I'm running the latest version, none will probably show up until the next version of Office is released. Showing a couple of ad links at the bottom of the help text, and only after the user goes into help, stretches the definition of Adware a bit.
  • I gotta note here that when I was installing the latest Java SDK a while back, the installer had a banner ad for OpenOffice.org. I have seen some of the described adware behavior in Office 2007 - most notably, it linked me to an official PDF converter at one point - but that was somewhat less blatant than the OOo one.
  • if Microsoft doesn't do something about these software fractions, there is no way they will ever become number one in office suites. Windows ME, Windows 2000? Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger? Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works? Rover, Clippy? People will become so confused they will evenutally just switch to Linux in frustration and disgust. Two days later they have a brain hemorrhage an die.
  • Office 2007 is basically an advertisement for the not-free Sharepoint, whatever it's called this week.

    Users can't find things that the need to do, but they do discover all of these new and wonderous features.
    • The 'basic' version of Sharepoint - Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 - is 'free', in that you only need a licensed copy of MS Windows Server 2003 to run it on, and the necessary CALs. Other than that, WSS 3.0 is a free download from the Microsoft site - oh, and its actually quite feature rich as well (yes, MOSS 2007 is more heavily rich, but hey).
  • He used the integrated search (which is very cool BTW, you can hook it to just about ANY web service that has a documented signature, so if you want it to hook into your custom intranet CMS running PHP, just publish an interface via SOAP...) to search office online. OH NO, THE OFFICE ONLINE WEBSITE HAS PAID ADS!

    What if he added google to that dropdown (it may be there by default, was on mine, but perhaps it picked up my vista search preferences?) and searched for "MLA". Would GOOGLE *GASP* have given him
  • In Microsoft Office Professional 2003's help, a search for "APA" (a popular documentation style) brings up two links labeled Microsoft Office Marketplace.

    The ads don't appear in the app itself, but these days the online support is tightly coupled with the application. It's like ads in textbooks. If MS is that desperate for revenue they have to embed ads in their online help, then they're in worse shape than I thought. It's just tacky and slightly pathetic.

    • by dave420 (699308)
      It is tacky, but I guess they want people to make the most out of their software, and if extending it with third-party tools is the way to do it, then it kind of makes sense for them to do this. And they don't need the money. Far from it.
  • Wouldn't be the first time that MS has released technical documentation and guidelines, then proceeded to ignore them. I remember reading msdn guidelines on the use of the API controlling the damn XP lower-right corner popups. It urged developers to remember that every time they use it, they are interrupting the user from another task, so they should only use it to communicate urgent system information rather than nag the crap out of them. Shortly afterwards I was asked once again by my system to "Help make

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