For Office 2007 at home, Outlook is out, OneNote is in

For Office 2007 at home, Outlook is out, OneNote is in

Summary: Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the name of its next Office package and some details about pricing and packaging. The new name - Office 2007 - isn't a surprise. Nor is the mix of applications that make up the business-oriented SKUs. But one of the bundles jumps off the list because it's just so different.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the name of its next Office package. (The press release is here; follow the links in the sidebar to download Word documents containing details about pricing and packaging.)

The new name - Office 2007 - isn't a surprise. Nor is the mix of applications that make up the business-oriented SKUs. But one of the bundles jumps off the list because it's just so different. And I think I know why.

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 is the successor to Office Student and Teacher Edition. The new name reflects the reality that this low-cost edition (estimated retail price of $149, street price typically $120) is priced for budget-conscious buyers who can't charge the cost of the software to their business. Although the exact license terms aren't in the press release, this edition will probably adhere to the same conditions as its predecessor, which can be installed and activated on up to three computers and specifically prohibits upgrades or any business-related use.

So what's different? Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition was essentially identical to Office 2003 Standard Edition, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook in the box. For the 2007 release, Outlook is out and OneNote is in.

This packaging decision is baffling for two reasons.

  • This is the only one of the new Office versions that doesn't include Outlook. Even the bare-bones Office Basic includes Outlook. Does Microsoft think that its home customers don't want a full-featured personal information manager? Do they think that Outlook is somehow too complex for home users?
  • This is also the only Office version that includes OneNote. The implication, I guess, is that Microsoft has decided to position OneNote as a student tool and downplay its usefulness to business users.

In the 2003 editions, there is a clear upgrade path from every edition. The Basic edition includes Outlook, Word, and Excel. If you pay extra to get the Standard edition, you get those applications plus PowerPoint. Upgrade to the Small Business Edition and you get Publisher and Outlook's Business Contact Manager add-in. Go one step further to Office Professional and you get all that plus Access. The mix of products in each edition is a superset of the previous edition.

The new line-up doesn't offer any of these clean upgrade paths. If you're a home user who wants Outlook, you'll have to pay extra for it. Likewise, if you want OneNote at work, you can only get it as a supplement. Update: As Milly Staples points out in the comments, OneNote is included with the Enterprise Edition; that's only available with Volume License copies, however, meaning it's not an option for small businesses and retail buyers.

In fact, there is only one explanation that makes sense here. How many small businesses do you think were paying $120 for up to three licensed installations of Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition instead of paying $299 for each copy of the otherwise identical Standard edition? By cutting Outlook, Microsoft eliminates one of the core applications for business users and removed the incentive to cheat on the license terms.

Unfortunately, home users who want to take advantage of Outlook are the ones who pay for that decision.

Update: Microsoft has published a chart that shows the contents of each Office 2007 version.

Topic: Microsoft

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23 comments
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  • Complicated and a new show of Greed

    Microsoft has done it again. You need a PHD to make sure you are buying the right upgrade, and a small business loan to buy it.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't seen any great leaps in technology in the product since Office 2000.

    Forget Microsoft and look at Open Office.
    CompuGuru
    • I looked...

      ... I hurled... I deleted it.
      Confused by religion
  • Perhaps another reason for the strange home edition?

    One thing to think about is that with Windows Vista Microsoft is bundling not only the Windows Mail client, but ALSO a new Windows Calendar client. Some has been written about how Microsoft will handle the inevitable overlap between Outlook and the bundled apps. Maybe this is how they are differentiating. At home you'll use Vista, it's built in mail and calendaring, and Office Home.

    At that price point, the big question to me is how long do they keep putting out new versions of Microsoft Works?
    mschuermann
    • On Works.

      Microsoft needed a low cost product for home. The company expanded Works, uncomfortably, by adding Word. That looked like a temporary expedient when I first saw it.

      Now there's a cheap version of Office for home use, including by schoolchildren. Now Works can go back to being what it was, a $40 recipe book and shopping list accumulator, and source of other computerized conveniences.

      By the way, I think the cost of Home (version of Office) will drop closer to $100 once the new version interest subsides.
      Anton Philidor
  • Perhaps there's a Live angle here too

    Use Office Home and Student 2007 for desktop productivity, and Live for other requirements (how many of the target audience base use Microsoft's web mail), which has the added benefit of advertising revenue to Microsoft as well as dealing with the issues you correctly highlight
    nmacehiter
  • In my view, a big mistake

    I think that dropping Outlook is a big mistake, and from what I've seen, One Note is pretty much useless for most users. But outlook (full outlook, not outlook express) IS widely used by many home users, and that's where the real problem is. If the real reason is to prevent business users from buying the S&T edition (now Office at Home), I think that a better solution would have been a version of Outlook that has no ability to connect to an exchange server, but rather has only internet E-mail capabilities (e.g. POP3, etc., but not Exchange server).
    Watzman9
    • Give me an example please.

      Give an example of how you see home users really using Outlook. Not your use, genenral Joe Six pack users.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • from Joe Six

        Dear Ax,
        I think I am a general user and about the only reason why I use MS Office is because of Outlook. I use the contacts part and the agenda for simple things as a reminder at birthdays, an appointment with the dentist and so on. Without Outlook, MS Office has lost any advantage over Open Office for me.
        european
      • From Jeff Six pack

        As I don't have Nielsen resources, I can't do a study to find out about "Joe Six pack". I can only tell you what people I know do.

        We sycnh our PDAs to our calendar that way our work schedules are on the home computer as well. We have our Contacts with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. in there. We keep track of tasks for things like rebates (it'll pop up on the day we should have received it and we can call to check on them). I open Notes when I'm on the phone to "jot" stuff down...I know, they want me to use OneNote for that. :-)

        About the only thing in Outlook that is not used at all in this household is Journal. Part of the reason for that is that I have NO IDEA what it is! :D

        Outlook may in fact be underused, but I think OneNote might suffer the same fate. I have OneNote on a desktop and a laptop and I *rarely* use it anymore. I would probably use it on a TabletPC, but without 'inking' it loses some relevance to me. The public point of the Microsoft decision is that they imagine some increased value to the consumer of OneNote over Outlook and I don't share that vision. In my view, consumers at home...just like consumers at work, use email, calendars, tasks, etc., and Outlook allows them to do all of that digitally. Even "Joe Six pack" could find value in that.
        DalyDose
  • Dropping Outlook makes some sense...

    Microsoft had valid reasons for dropping Outlook from the home/student version.

    "From what I?ve read there was a good amount of research that went into the decision to include OneNote in the Home and Student package as opposed to Outlook. The research showed that the vast majority of Student and Teacher edition users used Web-based email applications such as hotmail ? in fact Outlook usage was in the single digits."

    (http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2006/02/15/532998.aspx#533288)

    Windows Vista is going to include a full-featured calendaring application, as well. As a whole, most home users barely scratch the surface of Outlook's capabilities. If you're so upset, then buy Outlook standalone, or buy Office Standard edition which will include it. But for the majority, Outlook Express/Windows Mail + Windows Calendar will do just fine.
    PB_z
  • How ablut the fact very, very FEW home users...

    Use Outlook at all beyond being an email client? Sorry, I've never seen a home user actualy use Outlook for much of anything. Taking it out makes sense.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Lots of families use Outlook's calendar

      To keep track of the endless variety of kid's activities, parents obligations, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, school terms, etc.

      Your estimation of home usage may be skewed. Spend a few years (I have) in the Microsoft Outlook news groups and you will see the number of home users who have questions about getting the full experience from Outlook.

      Plus, rememeber, a growing segment of families are purchasing SBS with Exchange to be able to collaborate using shared calendars and contacts.

      I think you need to take your own advice and not project onto others how you perceive Outlook's home user base.
      Confused by religion
      • Appointments in Vista?

        Someone posted that Vista has appointments functionality in the operating system.
        Can anyone provide details?

        I've thought the Outlook appointments functionality was oriented to sales staff, more complicated than I needed.
        I've been using simple calendar freeware, though I haven't found one that works easily and smoothly enough to recommend.

        But I think basic functionality in the operating system could be enough.
        Anton Philidor
        • not sure, but...

          How is the Calendar feature in Outlook "complicated". There is a Calendar, you click on it, then click on a time and you can enter your appointment. I'm not sure how this freeware that yer using is any easier, but I've been wrong before! :-)
          DalyDose
    • where is this data coming from

      A LOT of people I know that uses a PDA uses Outlook for their Calendar and Contact. I use Outlook at home and even my technophobe girlfriend used Outlook at home (she's one of the PocketPC users)

      One of the things about these decisions and our ensuing arguments is that people will make grand arguments based on their "knowledge" about the current use of the masses. The truth is that we don't know what the masses are doing. In my VERY limited, non scientific, archaic and biased induced, non-study...I find Outlook to be a very popular program that enhances the organization of people's lives and provides value to that box of ones and zeros with the pretty screen.
      DalyDose
  • Correction Ed

    OneNote is also included in the Enterprise edition of Office 2007. Besides, since most Tablet PC manufacturers include OneNote as a part of their base package, I don't think that there will be a noticeable impact on OneNote sales.
    Confused by religion
    • Only with VL

      Milly, Enterprise Edition is only available as a Volume License product, not at retail. So small businesses don't have an upgrade path. I'll update the post to reflect that fact.
      Ed Bott
      • Where do you say "small business" in your article?

        Quote "This is also the only Office version that includes OneNote. The implication, I guess, is that Microsoft has decided to position OneNote as a student tool and downplay its usefulness to business users."

        As usual, in this as with your other published opinions, you paint Microsoft as wrong with the broad tar brush and then issue a "correction" days after you have disseminated this information with a "oops, mea culpa."

        Oh, and by the way, volume licenses are available in many flavors, starting with the basic 5 product volume license.

        Last time I bother correcting you or your other employer.
        Confused by religion
  • No Upgrade Necessary

    I am using Office 2003 (aka 11) and have yet to here a single valid reason to upgrade.

    From what I can tell by the time Office 2003 no longer provides me with happiness, Open Office will be a well tuned and entrenched alternative path which I will take.

    I no longer have any plans to upgrade any Microsoft Software any time in the future.
    fwfulton
  • office

    in my experience even though most home users use only word, hardly ever the rest of office, they buy the whole package because it costs only a bit more than word by itself, but i never use the spreadsheet or outlook or access or one note or frontpage etc.
    cheers
    gianfranco, italy
    gsteritin9