Is Office the New Coke?
When I downloaded and installed IE7 when it became available, the very first thing I noticed (and believe I commented on at the time) was that Microsoft had abandoned the old CUA/SAA user interface that had been in place throughout their products for the last 15 years or so. I haven’t obtained or installed Office 2007 but Dale Franks has and, judging from his comments and screen shots, Microsoft has completely abandoned the old interface conventions in favor of new and (at least to me) arbitrary and confusing ones.
What this means for average users is that they’ll have to
learn find “intuitive” a completely new way of interacting with programs. Will someone, somewhere fall in love with the new user interface conventions? No doubt. But for most it will be an irritant.
There are, apparently, enough differences in the default file formats created by the new Office (pointed out by Dale, above) that medium and large companies in which hundred, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of users share documents and interact with each other will find that they have a handful of alternatives: convert everybody to the new Office (probably not an expense they were planning for), standardize on Office 2003, or deal with the chaos that multiple formats creates.
In a just world users would rebel against this just as soft drink consumers rebelled against New Coke nearly a generation ago. But it’s not a just world, Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop software market, and, what’s worse, it has hegemony and users will go over to the new Office willy-nilly as that’s what’s installed on their new computers.
UPDATE: James must have been writing his review at the same time.