How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

Summary: The most frequent question I've been getting for the past year-plus regarding Office 2010 is whether it's worth an upgrade. Is there anything in Microsoft's soon-to-be-released office suite that Office XP, Office 2003 and/or Office 2007 users of the suite might find "compelling"? Will any of Office 2010's features put a dent in Google Docs' momentum among the home, student and SMB set?

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The most frequent question I've been getting for the past year-plus regarding Office 2010 is whether it's worth an upgrade. Is there anything in Microsoft's soon-to-be-released office suite that Office XP, Office 2003 and/or Office 2007 users of the suite might find "compelling"? Will any of Office 2010's features put a dent in Google Docs' momentum among the home, student and SMB set?

Because Office users are such a varied bunch, it's hard to answer that question in a succinct blog post. But a Microsoft partner shared with me a list of what Microsoft considers to be Office 2010's top 10 features. If you want to know how Microsoft plans to hawk its Office 2010 suite to end users, here's the "elevator pitch":

Top 10 reasons for End Users to try Microsoft Office 2010

1. Edit and enhance photos in Word or PowerPoint 2010. Put more visual impact in your documents or presentations with easy-to-use photo-editing tools that let you crop, control brightness and contrast, sharpen or soften, and add artistic visual effects without leaving Word 2010 or PowerPoint 2010. 2. Put your presentation message in motion with PowerPoint 2010. Edit videos right in PowerPoint 2010, breaking longer clips down into shorter segments or reducing file size to make your presentation portable. Then dial up the visual impact by adjusting color, adding new video effects, and incorporating new dynamic slide transitions and animations.

3. Access, edit, and share from virtually anywhere with Office Web Apps on Windows Live SkyDrive. Get things done when you’re away from the office, home, or school by creating documents in Office 2010, then posting them online to Windows Live SkyDrive to access, view, and edit - either alone or with others - with Office Web Apps from virtually anywhere you have Internet access.*

*An appropriate device, Internet connection, and Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari browser are required. There are some differences between the features of the Office Web Apps and the Office 2010 applications. (MJF note: Yes, there sure are some differences.)

4. Organize all of your information in a single place in OneNote 2010. Create a digital notebook in OneNote 2010 to capture and share text, images, video, audio — all your thoughts, ideas, and important information in a single, easy-to-access location.

5. Make presentations from virtually anywhere in PowerPoint 2010. Broadcast your PowerPoint 2010 presentation through a web browser to a remote audience of one or 100 — even if they don’t have PowerPoint — with Broadcast Slide Show.

6. Take control of email conversations with Outlook 2010. Track and manage your email easily with Conversation View in Outlook 2010, a feature that lets you condense, categorize, and even ignore lengthy email exchanges with a single click.

7. Analyze finances easily at home and at work with Excel 2010. Use Sparklines in Excel 2010 to create small charts that make it easy to highlight trends in data at a glance, and highlight specific items in your data set with just a few clicks using improved Conditional Formatting.

8. Stay connected to your network with Outlook 2010. The all-new Outlook Social Connector connects you to the social and business networks you use, including Microsoft SharePoint, Windows Live, or other popular third-party sites, so you can get more information and stay in touch. 9. Find the features you need fast and personalize your Ribbon. An improved Ribbon lets you access your favorite commands quickly and customize or create tabs to personalize the experience to your work style.

10.  Discover all the tools you need to work with your documents with the new Backstage view. The Microsoft Office Backstage view provides a rich full-screen environment for working

I think it's interesting how much the Softies are playing up PowerPoint (!) as one of the most compelling new components of Office 2010... and how relatively little they are pushing Office Web Apps -- though that might be partially because Office Web Apps still has a long way to go to deliver on the promises Microsoft has made for its Web-centric collaboration complement to Office.

Anything on this list of interest? Any other features you think Microsoft should have on its short list?

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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69 comments
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  • RE: Office x64

    Biggest question out there is will Outlook x64 work with WMDC?<br><br>Currently because WMDC is still 32 Bit, it does not work proper with Outlook x64. It says nothing is installed. This has been an issue for 1 year now. Nothing has been said about this subject. But I feel like this could be a major issue for early adopters if Microsoft does not have an update for this at the same time that Office 2010 is released.


    Being unable to sync my Calendar, or my Contact to my Windows Phone Devices, is not worth it to me. It makes me use the 32 bit install. Which is not good when you have a x64 OS, and 6GB of RAM.
    conflipper
    • Do you need x64 Outlook?

      @conflipper The only advantage to using x64 Office 2010 is if your Office programs actually need more than 4Gb of RAM each. Install the 32bit Office 2010 and you'll be fine on x64 Windows. Are you working with 4Gb Excel files?

      Also, no Outlook x64 does not work with WMDC: http://pocketnow.com/thought/reminder-dont-install-64-bit-outlook-if-you-want-to-sync
      AdamzP
      • re: 4GB requirement

        @AdamzP
        Not [i]quite[/i] on the mark there.

        [b]Firstly[/b]
        You assume x64 is required only if any single application requires more than 4GB of RAM; but how many of us ever use one application at once. In this brave new world of Multi-tasking, it is easy enough to have half a dozen or more apps running, several browser windows etc, as well as all those background processes. For many, 4GB RAM is beginning to look small.

        [b]Secondly[/b]
        x64 Windows adds up to greater stability and security. Now that virtually any hardware driver can be found in native x64 builds, there is little reason not to migrate. The only pain is where substantial resource-requiring applications are still lagging, as a x86 app in a x64 OS environ tends to run much more heavily. The more one moves to x64 applications, the better the over-all user experience
        kaninelupus
  • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

    11. Erase all the synced data on your Windows Mobile phone (without warning!) when you try to sync with the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010 over a USB/Bluetooth connection. The Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) is incompatible with 64-bit Outlook, it erases the data on your phone without warning, and Microsoft has known about this problem for many months. Just wait until this hits the retail shelves...

    12. Fail to use the Social Connector with 64-bit Outlook 2010, it only works with 32-bit Office 2010.
    JohnMorgan3
  • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

    13. Design and deploy Access Web databases to SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise (intranet or Internet versions), a costly replacement for Access Data Pages if your organization hasn't licensed SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise.
    Roger_Jennings
  • Yawn...

    I think I'll be staying away from this pig in droves. Micro$oft needs to learn that simply introducing a version of software with a bigger 'year' number isn't going to convince businesses to fork over the money to 'upgrade' -- especially in this stinking economy.
    jsm555
    • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

      @jsm555 There's one guilty part of doing this, and it's Apple. How long have they been on 10.x? Yet, they continue to release new versions, claiming it is a fully redone OS, charging full OS prices, and yet it is just, for the most part, the equivelant of a Windows Service Pack. Microsoft doesn't just change the year number. Only someone who has done 0 real research into Office 2010 would say such an uninformed thing.
      SteelCityPC
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        @MasterJoe: Nice try, but "full OS prices" are less than 1/2 to 1/3 the cost for a "full" (read: Ultimate) version of Windows... and OSX 10.6 only costs $30 (some "full" price you got there, innit?) if you don't already have it installed on your Mac.

        Also, you're trying to compare an app suite to a whole OS, which is kind of... well... dumb.
        Random_Walk
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        @MasterJoe
        @MasterJoe
        This is nonsense and why drag Apple into an MS-office discussion? I use all flavors of OS-X and Windows alike, and can tell you that every instance of OS-X is a worthwhile upgrade at 1/3 the price of a Windows OS 'upgrade' (think Win2K to XP to Vista - at least Win-7 feels like a different OS even if you could argue that it is XP-spX). Just how much 'research' is behind this pointless comment?
        Power Natto
    • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

      @jsm555 - To be fair, SA and EA agreement holders can use any version - Microsoft charges the same per seat no matter which version you use. Now the headaches and teething troubles OTOH certainly don't/won't justify upgrading...
      Random_Walk
  • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

    And here's the top 20 reasons why not to upgrade from Office 2003:
    1) The ribbon bar
    2) The ribbon bar
    3) The ribbon bar
    4) The ribbon bar
    5) The ribbon bar
    and so on...
    radix10
    • Master Joe Says...Change

      @canopus@... It's called change. It happens. When XP first came out, people hated the new look. With Windows 7, there is yet another new look. Office is no different. Once you become familiar with the ribbon bar, as well as the various customizations available for it, things work out quite nicely.

      --Master Joe
      SteelCityPC
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        "When XP first came out, people hated the new look."

        - and could promptly change it to a "classic" theme, which most enterprises promptly did. Your point?

        My only real kick against the ribbon bar is two-fold:

        1) they moved everything
        2) it eats valuable desktop real-estate (even though 2010 does allow you to hide it, guess what you have to open quite often?)
        Random_Walk
      • RE: You see the same thing...

        in different software packages. When Adobe added different desktop setups for their various packages ("designer", "developer", etc) everyone initially hated it too. Now noone wants to do without it. Or Linux with their jackalopes and kangaroos or whatever they call them now. <br>When new users hate the ribbon interface, have them go back to the 2003 version 3 months later. Then they'll really scream at you.
        rock06r
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        @MasterJoe Can't agree at all. I am glad that I can use old keyboard shortcuts from pre-Office 07 versions, but I'm still annoyed that some I used to use don't work and I occasionally still find myself floundering around trying to figure out where in the hell they've stuck something I used to be able to find without any problems. And I've been using this turkey for at least a couple of years. At least for this power user, 07 makes me less powerful than I was in 03.
        michaelm@...
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        @MasterJoe -- I hate this excuse. "Change". It's change for the sake of it, and to make more money for Microsoft. There isn't a compelling reason in this version of Office to upgrade (again). That first point, for example: you could always "crop, control brightness and contrast" pictures -- why is it mentioned as a new feature?
        avoidz
      • I have used Office 2007 for ~2 years.

        Although I have become somewhat familiar with where things are located on the RibbonBar, I still must continually look through at least half of them to find where to change the page number or header or page layout or styles, etc....

        My biggest complaint is the inability to personalize 2007's RibbonBar. However, having that one favorable capability in Office 2010 is NOT going to convince me to upgrade.
        Isocrates
    • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

      And here's the top 20 reasons why upgrade from Office 2003:
      1) The ribbon bar
      2) The ribbon bar
      3) The ribbon bar
      4) The ribbon bar
      5) The ribbon bar
      and so on...
      dvm
    • Dumb excuse

      @canopus@...

      Change happens. You think computer UIs are always going to use those hideous drop down menus forever? You're always going to have change.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: How is Microsoft planning to hawk Office 2010?

        @NStalnecker

        I accept change when it's for the better. However, replacing the standard menus with this kind of clutter - without leaving the menus as an alternative - was simply stupid. When writing, I want to see as much of the text as possible, and not have a large part of my valuable screen real-estate occupied with something that's most often irrelevant. This is especially true when using a wide (and thus low) laptop screen. Besides, the basic benefit of using a standard user interface - as the basic menus in Office 2003 - is of course that is is just that: standardized.

        If one thinks that UI gizmos are more important then the text, then fine. But until MS gives me the option to use something like the menus available in Word 2003, I will not upgrade. Or at least - not to an MS Office product. There are options.
        radix10