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Companies Using MS Word "Out of Habit," Says Forrester

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the mostly-mythical-training-costs dept.

Software 367

An anonymous reader writes "A Forrester Research report has found that companies use Microsoft Word for word processing out of habit rather than necessity and are beginning to consider other alternatives as the Web has changed the way people create and share documents. The report, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: The Microsoft Word Love Story," by analyst Sheri McLeish, suggests that businesses may still be using Word because it is familiar to users or because they have a legacy investment in the application, not because it is the best option." Microsoft surely knows that some other options are creeping slowly into the view of even the most Word-centric users, though. User I dream about smoking writes "Microsoft is testing new capabilities for Office Live Workspace, its online adjunct to Microsoft Office, that will make it a closer rival to online application suites such as Google Docs. Microsoft will start beta testing an updated version of Live Workspace later this year that allows users to create and edit new documents online."

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367 comments

It's true! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26415707)

I first post out of habit, not because I have anything to add.

They run open office in Federal Prison (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26415711)

Dear Slashdot,

My name is Mike and I am serving the first week of a 10 year sentence in Federal Prison for severe SEC violations. I am very scared and I didn't know what else to do. I guess I have 5 good minutes to type this cry out for help until Tyrone and the crew come for me and give me what they call "Mandatory Showertime". I mean I have been exposed to more male cock in the first 3 days here than I have ever cared to know in my first 30 years of life. I guess it was some sort of sick joke that they gave me a big black cell mate named Tyrese who also part of Tyrones crew. As such he has first dibs on me or as he says "first dick in me". The nigger has beaten me senseless the first day here as he seems to get a real kick out of it and has repeatedly raped me and that's not even the worst of it. I never knew a man could cum 7 times in a row and with that I hadn't been able to get any sleep in the past day or so. The first time I met Tyrone was at our first shower time. Tyrese had "persuaded" me to go into the shower room and that's when I met the whole crew. There must have been 19 prison niggers in there and when the guards pulled out, thats when I was given a gangraping that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Could you imagine 19 giant black cocks repeatedly ass raping and mouth fucking you? I think not, and don't think these guys went in one at a time. I swear it must have been 3 in my ass and 2 in my mouth at one point. I was in tears hearing Tyrone laughing at me saying "This be your life now cracka, you our bitch now". I still have the sharpie mark on my ass that says "Tyrone's ho". Uh oh it looks like it's mandatory shower time again. I think I am going to hang myself when Tyrese is out raping another white prisoner. Thanks for listening.

Googles playbook (5, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415723)

Google took a page right out of Microsoft's playbook by buying a company who was already working on web based doc writers, effectively beating Microsoft to the game.

Personally I wouldn't trust important documents to stay on the web server. What happens when google goes belly up and starts shutting down their web servers? The bigger a company gets, the bigger they fall.

Re:Googles playbook (4, Insightful)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415791)

On the other end of the spectrum, I don't trust other companies to protect my data. At least when data is stolen off servers I control I know who is to blame.

Re:Googles playbook (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415875)

At least when data is stolen off servers I control I know who is to blame.

Employees who leave their workstations unattended and unlocked, or are too lax with their passwords? I doubt the weak link is often the actual administrator in charge of virtual security..

Re:Googles playbook (4, Insightful)

deemen (1316945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415991)

I doubt the weak link is often the actual administrator in charge of virtual security..

Surely not, but the fact that Google is now hosting business services [google.com] , they are quickly becoming the information sink of the universe. They have a history of easily folding to law enforcement, which makes me uneasy about hosting corporate stuff online. I just don't like all the big brother business, and while I use GMail for personal stuff, I wouldn't start trusting Google with sensitive documents, memos etc.

Web based tools have another huge problem. You're at Google's mercy for upgrades, feature changes etc. Does anyone remember the crap they started with the iGoogle sidebar [informationweek.com] ? That sort of stuff quickly discourages corporate clients.

Re:Googles playbook (4, Interesting)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416055)

Have to agree! It surprises me given that Google do (or did) sell application servers for search, they didn't do the same with their Apps suite; I'm sure loads of corporates would be happy to purchase their own box with support.

Re:Googles playbook (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416121)

I just don't like all the big brother business, and while I use GMail for personal stuff, I wouldn't start trusting Google with sensitive documents, memos etc.

I can easily imagine a scenario whereby corporate spies gather proprietary information from a competitor using Google or other ASP through abusing the system by bribing appropriate law enforcement personnnel, courts, etc.

Re:Googles playbook (5, Informative)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416353)

Which is different from bribing the disgruntled sys-admin at the company, how?
In many cases even a underpaid, undervalued, overworked EDS 1st line worker can have access to very sensitive data on the customers servers and PC's. I certainly did back in the days when I worked/slaved for them.

Re:Googles playbook (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416447)

I can see the query:

insite:competitor.com "business_plan.doc" "business_forecast.com"

Re:Googles playbook (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26415889)

Attention Java haters

What is the deal with you smug sons of bitches hating on the mere mention of Java? Did Java rape your parents when you were a kid? Everytime I hear a story or a comment about Java, it always involves some elitist asshole who probably codes in perl because they can't hack it in C++, complaining about how "Java is slow lolz". If any one of you have actually played around with Java seriously than you would see that Java isn't slow and it is used for serious programming. Not everyone wants to write applications, especially business grade stuff, and have to spend more time and more code, trying to get it to work on many specific platforms.

I'll be the first to admit that Java doesn't belong anywhere but my point is, best tool for the job. Now a lot of you will say the same thing but swear on the K&R handbook that C is the only language you will ever need. Java is great for writing servers and, when done right, doing pretty nice GUI applications. It is probably too high level to do any real serious 3D games at the current state of hardware but I can't honestly say one way or another. Java also comes with a rich set of APIs for you to do anything, and that's not including the ones provided by Sun.

On an additional sidenote, I also love how Mr Taco will insert a little snide remark about Java being slow and shitty while he allows his Slashdot website to corrode from the inside out with this hideous javascript. I think Mr Taco needs to fire CowboyNeal instead of expressing his closeted feelings for him through the slashdot polls. The website has become a mess and is almost as shitty as Digg with the needless web 2.0. Maybe this is why more and more trolls are coming out of the woodwork.

In short, Java is an excellent language and has many uses and while some of you decide to insanely insist that x86 Asm language is the only way to write full featured GUIs, the rest of the world will pull decent salaries writing using the best tool for the job.

Re:Googles playbook (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416115)

A man who had his life in local store
Decided having thoughts was just a chore.
He uploaded his mind,
the TOS having been signed,
and lived in licensed bliss forevermore.

Re:Googles playbook (1)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416407)

Yes, how very elite of you. In my experience, the vast majority of people who roll the way you do have no idea what the hell they're doing, but they appear to in public forums.

Which is really whats important.

Me, I keep my data safe in such a way that it doesn't matter whether it's in some insecure "cloud", or on a truecrypted thumb drive.

The stuff that needs it that is. The other thing I've noticed about your ilk is that almost without exception, you don't have the sort of data in which no one would have any interest in the first place.

Re:Googles playbook (3, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415851)

While the Google Docs suite is pretty limited, I managed to stay on it and a few other odd web services exclusively for thirty days without many problems. It just takes some (pretty serious) change in your work-flow. There are also some real advantages over local work. The OS is Dead [blogspot.com] .

Re:Googles playbook (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416275)

The day google docs supports data acquisition hardware is the day I'll give it a though.

Besides, creating graphs on google docs is rather annoying. Also I don't happen to be on a networked connection 24/7, what do I do when I need to work on my documents and the internet is down or not available?

Server issues (3, Insightful)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415979)

On the whole subject of collaborative document editing, I think this is the real kicker. Many companies block Google's tools since that would mean storing company info outside of the company. Add to this the "beta" caveat that Google carries, and Google no longer considers itself liable if competitors get access to the info. After all, they did tell you it was buggy and all...

Are we really moving back to a server/terminal mentality? More importantly, is it a good thing that we are adding traffic to do tasks that were done with local media? I think corporations like the idea of collaborative editing, but they would prefer it of everything stayed behind their firewalls and on their own server's drives.

Re:Server issues (3, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416107)

I'm really pretty tired of the "Beta" card sysadmins keep pulling out WRT Google. I demand a link that proves that the corporate version (i.e. the paid-for version) of Google Docs is a beta. I have looked. I haven't found it. You apparently know something that I don't. Pony up the proof.

Re:Server issues (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416217)

Well, I'm not a sysadmin meself, just a lowly webmonkey. So relax. I'm just quoting what the IT types say to me whenever I inquire about it.

Besides, I personally prefer Pages for formatted texts, and TextWrangler for editing raw texts. I'd rather keep the copies of my data on physical media, so I can access it without net access, personally.

Re:Server issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416331)

Many companies block Google's tools since that would mean storing company info outside of the company.

Of course, there's no real good reason the online apps couldn't offer local storage. An autosave cache in case the server goes down, with a storage format that could be interpreted by other, local apps. And the possibility of setting an option that no docs every get stored online, using only the local cache, or "Save As..." It would still require trusting the app provider not to surreptitiously keep their own copy, but it is better than the current situation of always transferring the doc to the server.

Most of the benefit of online apps is they are easy to start using, with no installation required, and they are always up-to-date, with no user maintenance required for the app. Where to store the data is a separate issue, which unfortunately has been tied into where the app is stored as of yet.

Re:Server issues (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416333)

There isn't any "moving back". As local power and network costs change, the tasks that it makes sense to do over a network change.

Re:Server issues (2, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416385)

Fact of the matter is though that the majority of these "cloud based" applications could have run on an old 486. How much does 486 capable hardware cost nowadays?

"Beta" Label Doesn't Avoid Liability (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416379)

Putting a "beta" label on a product doesn't, by itself, relieve you of legal liability. That language goes in the terms of use that no one ever reads. In the end, your liability is whatever the courts say it is when you are sued.

Re:Googles playbook (4, Informative)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416151)

Personally I wouldn't trust important documents to stay on the web server. What happens when google goes belly up and starts shutting down their web servers?

You are aware that all Google Docs can be backed up locally with Google Gears and also converted into a number of popular formats?

Re:Googles playbook (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416365)

Can I also work on the files locally when not networked to the internet?

Re:Googles playbook (4, Informative)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416431)

Yes you can, Gears will sync the two whenever the link becomes available again - meaning you can edit your docs on the plane, bus, with or without connectivity, etc.

Re:Googles playbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416343)

Why would you have sensitive corporate documents on either of the two company's servers? Both have already collaborated with and aided many of the U.S. government's agencies, WITHOUT the knowledge of the user and without proper warrents. A company, no matter what size, no matter the apparent costs saving might be, would be a fool to entrust company data to anyone but themselves.

Re:Googles playbook (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416449)

Personally I wouldn't trust important documents to stay on the web server. What happens when google goes belly up and starts shutting down their web servers? The bigger a company gets, the bigger they fall.

You download a copy, and keep it stored on your own system. A competitor will normally gladly import the data from your old service to theirs. If it is a paid service make sure your contract has a data export clause/feature.

Predicting problems in the future doesn't make you smart. Being able to solve those predicted problems before hand does. I don't get lets put all our eggs in one basket mentality SaaS offers a lot of real advantages and some minor disadvantages that can be solved rather easily. Lets go with Google Docs, But lets keep one computer to keep a backup. But... For most cases the SaaS company will keep better backups then you.

Gobby (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415747)

There are collaborative real-time editors such as Gobby [wikipedia.org] . Together with an audio-chat this is a great tool for collaboration.

I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26415759)

I am against huge monopolies controlling everything we do on our computers with their close sourced spy crapware. Down with the G$$G-borg! Fight for Microsoft! Up with freedom!

Microsoft Word is an amazingly innovative and capable program. It does everything I need with an intuitive interface that even your grandmother could use, but is l33t enough for the geekiest power user. Plus, it's free! All power to Microsoft, fight the evil corporate empires!!!!

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (2, Insightful)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415843)

Where did you find MS Word for free? (I mean, besides torrent sites)
And when did it's interface become intuitive?

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416021)

You definitely missed the sarcasm in that post.

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416065)

Where did you find MS Word for free? (I mean, besides torrent sites)

When they embraced free and extended that freedom to cover Office.

And when did it's interface become intuitive?

When they replaced the ribbon with a nipple.

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416089)

*note to html
ADD a sarcasm tag

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (4, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416133)

And when did it's interface become intuitive?

Press a key on the keyboard and a similarly shaped glyph appears on the screen. That's pretty intuitive. It's also about as far as most people make it.

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416247)

MS Word comes "free" with many systems, or is allowed for employees to use at home (yes, legally, with some hoops).

And.. what about its interface is non-intuitive? What obscure thing are you trying to do which you think requires a prominent interface for all the 99.9999% of people who will never use that function?

If you're trying to do print work with MS Word, you've got some problems, yeah. But that sentence could be repeated anyway.

Re:I use Microsoft to fight the evil G$$Gle empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416261)

I think you mean "its" rather than "it's". But that's the least of your problems.

Next up: (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415763)

Companies are using Windows "Out of habit". Hopefully, the Obama stimulus will involve converting all government computers to use Ubuntu and hiring thousands of college students and underemployed programmers to work on FREE Open Source Software.

Re:Next up: (0, Troll)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415865)

Yes. Ubuntu is the ONE true free OS. The one open source OS "TO RULE THEM ALL!!"

.....
Get out much? (come on, laugh :-P)

Re:Next up: (1, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415903)

Companies are using Windows "Out of habit". Hopefully, the Obama stimulus will involve converting all government computers to use Ubuntu and hiring thousands of college students and underemployed programmers to work on FREE Open Source Software.

Where did you see that in the manifesto? I suspect you are in for a big disappointment.

The problem with Word competitors is that they are all pretty much carbon copies of Word. So there really isn't much to be gained from switching It costs a minimum of $50,000 with overheads to employ a white collar worker. $250 for a three year bulk license for Office is a rounding error.

Every one of the competing clones has the same broken idea that spreadheets, documents and databases are different things to be joined together by clumsy notions like COM.

Re:Next up: (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416171)

It costs a minimum of $50,000 with overheads to employ a white collar worker. $250 for a three year bulk license for Office is a rounding error.

I think you need to stop using 8-bit floating point numbers.

Re:Next up: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416231)

Pull numbers out of your ass much?

Re:Next up: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416277)

Does an 8-inch cock count as a number?

Re:Next up: (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415939)

The company for which I work used MS Word for document production for years. Then MS swooped in, told us we were violating the licenses we owned and told us to pony up a ton of dough. We changed to Open Office.

That said, OO doesn't meet our needs as well, and has some memory issues (20000 PDF conversions later, it crashes). Since it is open source it is harder for us to get timely issue resolution. Currently we are stuck on OO 2.1, as "improvements" in 2.3 exacerbated the issue, and 3.0 doesn't appear to support our interface at all.

So, yeah, down with MS and all that, but there product isn't that bad.

Re:Next up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416187)

> Since it is open source it is harder for us to get timely issue resolution.

Did you try paying for someone to fix it?

MS Office has been online for years (2, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415765)

MS has had online capability for years now where multiple people can open and edit documents at the same time. It was just over the corporate network.

Re:MS Office has been online for years (4, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416005)

And it doesn't work very well. We're always playing musical chairs with documents whether they're on a sharepoint or file share.

Re:MS Office has been online for years (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416351)

I think the GP talked about WebDav: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebDAV [wikipedia.org]
In Word, you can access files from an URL, with any server supporting WebDav. It adds CVS capabilities to the files.

However, it's quite different from MS' offer, which is to provide online access to Office.
I guess they are using downloadable dotNet components, and use a local cache to speedup access (at least that's how I would implement it).

Why did it take them so long for that ?

The way I write (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415767)

I'd like to confirm that the internet has not changed the way I write word documents. It's still a mouse and keyboard for me. I don't tend to share documents that much - I email them and that's that. I'd imagine this is true of most Word users, or at least, most Word documents.

Wow (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415817)

analyst Sheri McLeish, suggests that businesses may still be using [insert-any-application-here] because it is familiar to users or because they have a legacy investment in the application, not because it is the best option

What an amazing insight! Who would have suspected such a thing?

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416461)

Shhhhhh!

I work for a large international IT research firm and I just comb Slashdot, filtering for only +5 comments, and then plagiarize what I see and put it in my report.

The sucky part is, when I first started, I forgot to filter out the "+5 Funny" comments. So, in my reports, you'd see "In Soviet Russia, Ms Word You!" and "Imagine a Beowulf cluster of MS Word" and so on. I got fired from my first job. But I got it down now.

I have never liked word. (4, Funny)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415821)

I always feel I am fighting it to get it to do what I want. If I wanted to fight computers, I would buy computer games.

Explains why (1, Interesting)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415823)

It sort of explains why a good amount of people rated Office 2007 badly [amazon.com] . It was breaking there habit!!!!!! Who would dare to do such thing? I use preloaded OpenOffice.org myself. For many people though, they think, "why try something different when... you don't have to?" People still browse with IE6 for this exact reason.

What's the point of this post? I'm simply saying the article speaks the truth.

Re:Explains why (1)

BarMonger (884208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415989)

The article would also be true if every instance of MS Word were replaced with OpenOffice.
Or the name of an OS. Or a console. Or anything else in the world.

In other words, the report is garbage.

File Compatibility, not Habit (2, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415831)

Any company has a large number of existing documents. To switch to a different file-incompatible program would be silly; the cost of converting would far exceed any possible savings, not to mention the IT cost of changing every user simultaneously.

If OpenOffice/etc. are guaranteed 100% compatible with Word documents, they aren't promoting that fact very well. If they aren't compatible, they're not serious competition.

Re:File Compatibility, not Habit (5, Informative)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415933)

... 100% compatible ...

Shee-yit, Word isn't 100% compatbile with Word documents ! I frequently need to 'repair' Word 2007 documents before I can re-open them. This of course begs the question, if Word can repair it, why doesn't it just open it ? This question is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:File Compatibility, not Habit (4, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416037)

That's an improvement. In previous versions, I had to use OpenOffice to 'repair' documents that Word couldn't open. And yeah, different versions or even changing printers can make Word documents go flaky. (Of course, people not tweaking every little formatting parameter would make that less of a problem.)

Re:File Compatibility, not Habit (5, Insightful)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415953)

Not only compatibility to own existing documents, but also when exchanging documents with other businesses, especially documents that need to be edited. From my experience in a scientific environment, those who don't use Latex use Word, primarily because they are lazy, but often also because out of necessity when multiple authors are writing up a paper for example. The quintessence is, neither Windows nor Word is Microsoft's cash cow, but the .doc format.

You're already paying that... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415993)

Any company has a large number of existing documents. To switch to a different file-incompatible program would be silly; the cost of converting would far exceed any possible savings, not to mention the IT cost of changing every user simultaneously.

Your existing office suite isn't going to magically stop working.

And the IT cost of changing every user simultaneously is one you pay every few years with Office *anyway*.

Re:File Compatibility, not Habit (2, Insightful)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416019)

If they aren't compatible, they're not serious competition.

If they aren't compatible? Do you mean "if OOo is 0% compatible" or "if OOo is not 100% compatible" as there is a rather large difference between the two. Saying that you must be either 100% compatible or 0% seems like a false dichotomy.

It seems to me if it were an acceptable level of compatible (say 99/100 documents) that might be serious competition depending on the company.

Re:File Compatibility, not Habit (4, Insightful)

Talar (1245824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416105)

And this is of course why you should avoid getting locked in with a proprietary file format in the first place.

Ninnle Office an alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26415907)

The latest and greatest version of Ninnle Office has been released, and quite a few businesses have been opting for this, running under Ninnle of course, as an alternative to Word. The transition to Ninnle Office is seamless, because it looks, feels and works just about the same, but is much more stable and reliable than the MS software. Since it runs under Ninnle Linux, it's just about bulletproof in terms of security as well. So how can you lose? Join the Ninnle revolution!

Moving to online Office may kill Microsoft (3, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415913)

The first time the file serving cloud takes a nosedive, everyone will scream and run away.

Sure, Microsoft already eats files on a regular basis, but not in a coordinated mini-apocalypse.
And yes, Google Docs could do(has done) that too, but people aren't yet using it on the same scale. (Plus it is in beta, ha-ha, not their fault)

Re:Moving to online Office may kill Microsoft (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416007)

Strangely, my paid-for Google Docs account doesn't say "Beta" anywhere. I guess it must be only the free version that's beta. Shock! No other company does that. ::rollseyes::

Re:Moving to online Office may kill Microsoft (1)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416267)

The first time the file serving cloud takes a nosedive, everyone will scream and run away.

Not quite. If you're to compare like for like, then it only has to be more reliable than your companies IT infrastructure. I don't know what the average is, but we probably have 4 or 5 serious network meltdowns per year that leave most staff twiddling their thumbs for a couple of hours or more.

Re:Moving to online Office may kill Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416403)

you need better hardware or admins then.
period.

this isnt the early 1990's.
networks dont just "shut themseleves down" for no reason anymore.

hell, i've got medium sized networks that have been running pretty much unattended for a year or more with no problems. (except for server updates)

Re:Moving to online Office may kill Microsoft (1)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416443)

No one ran away when Gmail was losing thousands of users at a time, irrecoverably. No one ran away when .mac (now .me) blew up for almost four months. And no one ran away when Microsoft started sucking (round about 1983).

No one will run away. Not even people who say people will run away, will run away.

Of course its out of habit (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415925)

Same thing in education too. I tried SO hard to move people from Microsoft Office to Open Office, but even though it worked fine with office docs, in the end people felt comfortable with MS Office. The only way that would change is through a policy change and when your administration doesnt care about what they spend money on and whats better, why the hell would they sign off on such a change.

Re:Of course its out of habit (2, Insightful)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416081)

Actually, Microsoft Office (especially Powerpoint, but also Excel and Word) are "better" than Open Office. There are readily available training materials. In fact, if you've got certain classes of Microsoft licensing, you can get the on-demand online training for your entire organization for next to nothing. And the integrations with 3rd party applications are a key feature. It doesn't matter if Open Office does 95% of what Microsoft Office does, if those key connectors that important departments or divisions need aren't available for it. And if you're the IT department, and you're still going to have a sizable portion of your organization using the Microsoft suite due to those issues (anything more than 5% to 10%, if they're key customers), why would you want to take the time to train your internal support staff to support both? There are probably 30 other applications that don't duplicate Office's functionality that they need to support.

If you're starting from scratch, and you're not tying together different pieces of software, or relying on add-ons, it's easier. But the typical Slashdot reader seems to be completely unaware that that's a problem.

And I still maintain that the rapid adoption of Sharepoint is going to keep MS Office entrenched. Sorry, but the current version of Sharepoint is really, really well done.

Re:Of course its out of habit (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416099)

its faster to teach someone to use a specific program then to teach someone a generic way of thinking that can be applied again and again...

think of the modern education system as programming biological robots and one get a nice mental image of what both government and big biz wants us to be...

Re:Of course its out of habit (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416473)


its faster to teach someone to use a specific program then to teach someone a generic way of thinking that can be applied again and again...

This is true, but software is different from other areas in that the method of doing something is constantly in flux. There's also an enormous amount of software that anyone will encounter over their lifetime. So much that you can't possibly teach each program individually. People wind up learning the conventions used through osmosis anyway.

It may be easier to teach people how to use a specific version of a specific program, but over the long run you're much better off teaching people useful skills on how to learn and navigate software.

Re:Of course its out of habit (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416163)

I found that recompiling OO.o (it's a major BITCH! to do BTW)

and changing things to say "word" and "excel" and the icons... in other words faking it to be the office suite was enough to fool a large swath of the office to believe they were using microsoft word and excel. just a different "version". we called it a service pack upgrade and swallowed it whole.

It's mostly physiological with users. The same thing happens when you IE skin Firefox.

Re:Of course its out of habit (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416213)

But why would I want to switch, pray tell me? I'm perfectly happy with my Office 2007 and I happily pay my money for it. I don't care for ideologies, so being "free" (as speech, beer, sex, idiocy or whatever) if not important for me. Again, why should I switch?

Birds of a feather integrate together. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26415929)

"The report, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: The Microsoft Word Love Story," by analyst Sheri McLeish, suggests that businesses may still be using Word because it is familiar to users or because they have a legacy investment in the application, not because it is the best option.""

There's two other things as well. How well MS products integrate with each other and all the third-party software written for MS software.

Re:Birds of a feather integrate together. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416117)

or office systems written using MS office as a RAD package...

Duh! (1)

thegoldenear (323630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416013)

Sheri McLeish, suggests that businesses may still be using Word because it is familiar to users or because they have a legacy investment in the application, not because it is the best option."

Well yeah...

How much do these people charge to provide such pearls of wisdom? And who'se paying?

Pete Boyd

Google Docs (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416057)

My company (large IT firm) blocks the use of google docs from anywhere within the corporate network. Just attempting to navigate to google docs generates a warning page about accessing a site that contravenes corporate policy, and that repeated "violations" will be logged and reported to management. Many's the time it would have been much more convenient to perform some collaborative task in google docs rather than routing a DOC all over the goddamned place via email attachment ... but it is not to be.

How hard can it be to switch? (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416095)

How hard can it be to switch? This post will neither debate the advantages or disadvantages of word or wordprocessors. Just the latter... of users.

Having recently had to interact with the "real world" and wordprocessor documents, I must say that I was astounded at the quality of output of wordprocessors. The main problem is that even technically capable people seem to refuse outright to make any effort to actually learn how to use a tool that they spend hours per day sitting in front of. They treat a wordprocessor as a typewriter with font effects and images.

People still can't embed images properly. Either they're linked to some program which noone else has or a bitmap of a vector drawing so noone else can edit them. People still refuse to make even the most basic use of styles or cross referencing. It is absolutely astounding.

People will happily put in HOURS per document on a daily basis, fiddlind around with font dialogs, instead of spending 1 our learning how to use styles, for instance.

How hard can it be to switch? Users would go from not knowing how to use word to not knowing how to use openoffice.

But it really does amaze me how people can use the same tool all day, every day for weeks at a time, or even more and still not know many of the most basic features. Sure people want to "get work done", but that is best achieved by becoming an expert in the tools of the trade. When was the last time you heard a carpenter refusing to learn how to use a power saw because he "needed to get work done"?

Re:How hard can it be to switch? (1)

dollargonzo (519030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416253)

I think the answer to your last question is that Word is *not* perceived as a tool of the trade-- people need to communicate, not necessarily write long documents, and that's it. I know plenty of people who refuse to switch to office 2003 because the interface is so different that they don't want to spend the time to learn it, and to some extent, I get their point. They are just trying to communicate, and Word in their case is just a replacement for pen & paper, so why should they spend time learning an alternative?

Re:How hard can it be to switch? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416393)

Part of it is that the documentation sucks, or doesn't even exist. The last time I bought a copy of Office, I received a box containing a CD and a license code. When did it become acceptable to deliver software with no documentation?

BS (4, Interesting)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416143)

We will not be going on net for document creation... Get your heads out of the clouds and back to ground. The mere thought of being reliant on resources out of our control is insanity. The Bandwidth issue not withstanding, security and infrastructure concerns aside, this is folly and is meant to drive another INTERNET bubble of fools looking for the next big tech movement. Let's start talking about how better to organize what we have instead of watching repeats of William Shatner's Techwar ok ? Cripes.

Smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416157)

Why do you dream about smoking a user? Not user friendly.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416159)

In Canada there was concern about banks storing information with 3rd party companies outside of the country as it exposed it to foreign law regarding government access (ie. some of those snooping powers the Americans enabled after 9/11). I would have to wonder what company or citizen in their right mind would expose their records to prying eyes. Privacy is a priviledge, not a right - don't expect it if you get sloppy.

Not a bad thing (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416161)

A lot of things are done "out of habit", but if it is something that people want, let it be. is it so hard to understand that people may really **like** something even if there is some habit in this behavior? Or maybe it's just wishful thinking from the author side....

Sore spot with me. (4, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416207)

This is timely in that I just had a 'run-in' of sorts regarding MS Word usage and its consideration as a standard. My son is in sixth grade and, of course, has to write about 2 papers a month in his English class. He had his first official type-written paper this past couple of weeks and since we have no Windows computers and no MS Office/Word at home (all Linux, Solaris and Mac OS), we could not comply with the teacher's requirement for using MS Word with a Times New Roman font. Instead I had my son use Google Documents (which is what he's used since he started typing papers of any sort) with a Verdana font. He ended up receiving a D on the paper for not following instructions. The school has a computer lab, with Windows and MS Office, but that lab is only available to him during his assigned lab hours or after school. If he wants to use it after school, I have to pay for "After School Care" program. This kind of nonsense infuriates me. It's as if he can only write a reasonable paper if done so using MS products. Anyway, I just wrote the teacher last evening regarding coming to an agreement on things so that he doesn't suffer due to the school's devotion to MS products (a recent change as the entire school used to be Linux/OOo/etc.).

Re:Sore spot with me. (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416399)

In a media course in the university I work for, it is a requirement to use a Mac with garage band to create some sound (not music!!!) tracks for pod content. Go figure.

Re:Sore spot with me. (3, Informative)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416465)

If you don't get anywhere with the teacher, you should definately ask the school board to put the topic on your agenda. Formatting instructions should only go so far as to specify point size and font type (i.e., serif, sans-serif). If truly concerned about variances in font size or style, the teacher should distribute an example paragraph that shows the basic font style, line spacing, etc. Minor variances should only bother power-hungry, small-minded individuals who are concerned more about form than they are about substance.

Now, if the students were submitting something for publication (some in-school publication that would not require electronic submission), I can see violating exact formatting specifications being a disqualifier, but that should be handled seperately than any grading that should be examining the student's writing, logic, grammar, and syntax, with only a fraction of points hinging on format.

Re:Sore spot with me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416479)

Google documents has the ability to export to .doc. He could have used a Times New Roman font, exported to a .doc and sent it in.

Excel (3, Interesting)

dollargonzo (519030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416215)

Although this might seem an unfair blow, trying to replace Word is probably considerably less important than trying to replace Excel. In finance, for example, everyone uses Excel out of habit (and due to a lack of a good replacement, too), but in many cases because replacements do not support the add-ons they are used to (e.g. Bloomberg add-ons), without which many would be useless.

This is the exact same type of hurdle that Linux faces with support for hardware. Companies don't want to support it, and it's taken a really long time to write drivers. If Excel is replaced with a good alternative, I think Word would easily follow, even if the interface were radically different.

Just a thought

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