I’ve done a lot of griping recently about Windows 8 and how it makes me want to gouge out my eyes with a searing hot needle. While I could go on and on about all the appalling things I’ve discovered with Windows 8, I thought I’d divert my attention to another, potentially more devastating matter: The next incarnation of Microsoft Office.
The next version of Microsoft Office — which includes the popular productivity programs Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others — is being called Office 15 in the press. It’s not really the fifteenth version of Office, because Microsoft jumped numbers from 2 to 6 back in the 1990s to keep pace with competitors’ numbering.
Yes, once upon a time, Microsoft Office had competition. Hard to believe.
What’s Being Guessed
They’re going to call it Office 2013. That doesn’t have a smooth ring to it, and it features the ominous number “13.”
It’s going to use the Metro interface, or at least try to. My guess is that the program icons will fit in on the Metro Start screen, but otherwise the programs will run similar to the way they do now.
Apparently the Ribbon interface is staying, though the tabs will be minimized. Say, isn’t that how the old menus used to look? Whatever.
There will be more integration with online document storage, the Microsoft “SkyDrive,” which is similar to Google Docs.
There will be an online version of Office called Office 365, which Microsoft eventually intends to replace the standalone Office software. Yes, that means a subscription service instead of paying outright for a license. (Folks, I’ve guessed that’s what Bill Gates has wanted for years.)
What I Fear
Office will be designed with the Tablet in mind.
(Sorry — I had to run outside and vomit.)
Tablets are not productivity devices. I’m sure some dipwad somewhere wants to type his company reports on his iPad instead of using a full-screen computer and keyboard. Damn him. Only 20-somethings using Mommy and Daddy’s money can afford to live the myth of the iPad lifestyle you see in the ads.
Honestly, most 20-somethings I know work their butts off and they use a laptop — not an iPad — when they write their killer screenplay at Starbucks.
If Microsoft recajiggers Office to be “Tablet-friendly” then Office is as doomed as Windows 8. No one will upgrade. Bootleg copies of Office 2010 will go for big bucks on eBay. Or maybe people will finally adopt OpenOffice as an alternative?
I just hope that they leave Office alone, especially Word and Excel. Office’s producitivy apps have become established paradigms for an entire generation of our workforce. To change them now would just be the second stupidest decision in corporate History . . . right after Windows 8.