Linux

Microsoft loses yet another fanboy

Another one bytes the dust as Microsoft (and its ugly licensing practices) pushes a long-time fan away. Jack Wallen looks at what's in store for Microsoft.

No, it's no one famous. It's not even someone that has ever appeared in the media, in a meme, or participated in a hashtag or flashmob. Microsoft lost one of the fanboys I happen to work with. This person is one of those guys that gets it on many levels. Not only is he incredibly intelligent, he's also a brilliant bench technician.

But when Microsoft started announcing their licensing terms for Office 2013 -- he started asking me questions. The questions all began with "So Jack, talk to me about Linux." And so I did. It didn't take long after that before he had installed Ubuntu 12.10 over his Windows 7 installation and was happily working, sans Microsoft, without missing a beat.

You may be asking yourself, what exactly in the new licensing terms of Office 2013 could turn a long-time Microsoft fan away? Let me list some of the bigger points:

  • Each license is tied to a Microsoft Live account
  • Only five licenses can be attached to a single account (we have clients that blow through ten MS Offices a week -- this could cause problems).
  • Each license will forever be tied to a single machine.

Those are just the nastier points of the license, points that will cause multiple levels of grief for end users. These licensing terms assume that machines don't break -- and when they do, users don't mind coughing up another roll of cash for another license.

Wrong and wrong.

Machines break. Sometimes, machines arrive faulty -- such that the fault won't show itself until a few days (or weeks) after the fact. What are those users going to do? Purchase Office 2013 twice within a few short weeks?

To that, Microsoft will say, "You can subscribe to Office 365". To that, I will say, use Google Docs for free and not have any problems.

Over the last year, Microsoft has done more to turn people to alternatives than they have in a long time. First it was releasing one of the most un-intuitive user interfaces to ever grace the computer screen. Now it's the MS Office license change. In short, Microsoft is losing fans and users. Where are they turning? Linux. More and more people are finally seeing there is an alternative and that alternative is actually BETTER!

"All those wasted years."  I say, shaking my head, trying to hide the smile on my face.

Companies and consumers have handed over a great deal of money to Microsoft. How are they repaid for their loyalty? A slap in the face and a tug on the wallet. This mess will not end well for Microsoft. It will, on the other hand, end well for the likes of Ubuntu and LibreOffice.

Many of us have been saying this moment was inevitable. At some point we saw the binary on the wall -- Microsoft was going to burn the one bridge it couldn't afford to burn -- the one between Redmond and the legion of fanboys. It may not happen overnight, but the fans of one of the largest companies to have ever graced the bits and bytes will turn their backs and look toward more open pastures. When that happens, Linux will finally get the due it's owed. This cascade effect will have Microsoft scrambling to re-tune their business practices.

Of course, we've heard that tune before. Microsoft will probably attempt to win this in a courtroom and not where it should -- in the hearts and minds of consumers.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

194 comments
ms344
ms344

Among the "top-rated" comments, I find it both surprising and unusual for a topic that would seem likely to generate much emotion instead resulting in so much thoughtful, reasoned commentary. For Microsoft's sake, I hope that they are listening to what is in many cases the core of their customer base. As technicians, we all have to learn sooner or later that it is ultimately the market which determines winners and losers. My friend "T.U." used to have a saying he called the First Rule of Retail: "Don't Make It Hard For People To Give You Money."... Seems reminiscent of Aesop's tale of "The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs".

SilentM
SilentM

Microsoft has had things its own way for too long, and a "Rebellion" by its Customers, and users is long overdue. For too long, Microsoft has been using its customers as unpaid testers by hurridly ( or should that be "Horridly"?) rushing out Buggy, and imperfect programmes, and Operating systems; They even have the cheek to use high cost phone lines for their so called "Customer services", so that customers even pay them to sort out the bugs left in newly released programmes and Operating systems ( Rmember "Windows Millenium" etc??). I recently had a problem downloading Updates for "Windows XP Home edition", and contacted MS Customer services for help, and initially the first guy was quite helpfull, but I had to speak to another department. When he put me through to that other Dept. I was told that it would cost £65 up front, for then to help me. When I protested that a Brand new Version of the latest Windows offering was only around £80, the guy seemed to get quite upperty because I would not pay. My parting shot was " if this is the level of customer service you think is acceptable, I will Load the latest version of "Ubuntu" instead" - the line went dead! I sorted out the problem eventually ( which was mainly down to yet another (unexplained)change in MS's onine downloads procedures) without any further cost at all. I have been using "Ubuntu" on & off for a few years, and found that it is always improving, all with no costly, or Buggy updates, that should not have been there in the first place , and have also been using "Open Office" without a single problem, in preference to any version of "MS Office", When the current "Windows XP" O/S has run its course, I will be changing to "Ubuntu", and other Linux programmes completely, and think that anyone with any sense will do the same, especially with the new restirctive Licencing of MS Products.

DAS01
DAS01

Trickyclimber, I certainly would not suggest that Docs (the word processor in the GDocs suite) is on par with Word. I think that is the main reason the conversion of highly formatted docs from Word to Docs is so poor. The features cannot be mapped. In my view the order is (not to scale), from worst to best: Docs --> Word --> WordPerfect But Docs are still serviceable and very useful, and improving.

trickyclimber
trickyclimber

Why are you so against getting more for less? Who cares what the distribution model is. You're going to use your Office program for what... 3 maybe 4 years (I'm not talking to the users still using Office 2003, you should probably be using OpenOffice) So in that same amount of time, you'll get a newer (hopefully better) version of Office, and end up paying less money. And HOW do you have a user blowing through 10 licenses a week!? If you talking OLP then that doesn't even pertain to this form of licensing. Besides, have you ever called MS to re-activate a license that has been activated too many times? They just re-activate, 1 questioned asked. It's even automated. You can't seriously compare Google Docs to Word? I also get Wordpad free, I can just use that!

DAS01
DAS01

The last three posts I think really highlight that the fact that a lot of the 'forget about Microsoft' crowd comprises IT geeks... It does not mean I approve of the new licensing system - I don't, but other points have been made here, too. 1. Creature of habit. Yes, humans are creatures of habit, but that does not mean things have to stay the same, which could mean stagnation. This leads to ... 2. The ribbon is not bad at all. I was used to the traditional drop-down menu system in all apps, including WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 (besides MS Office). I prefer the ribbon. I could not understand the negative reaction it elicited. In fact I like it when other apps follow suit, e.g. Nitro Reader 3. It makes finding things so much easier. And I can always dismiss it if I wish, which I don't. Because MS's file formats (.doc specially) were inefficient they had to so something, yet not lose all the people committed the old formats, so they came up with docx and a compatibility pack. To truly innovate they should start from scratch, but they allow for the 'creatures of habit' (back to point 1). 3. Linux is not the answer. Its ecosystem is not as easy to handle as Windows, as I understand it, in the real, general-user world. 4. Open/LibreOffice is not the answer either. MS created a de facto world standard and I can be guaranteed the compatibility of my file with just about anybody else's system in the world, and I like that even though I think that in word processing WordPerfect is far superior. (I don't have a similar ideological position in spreadsheets and am happy to use Excel.) From what I read, file conversion between MS and Open/LibreOffice is not great, with loss of format and layout and maybe unconvertible spreadsheet formulae. I certainly see in in Google Docs (though I realise O/LO is better than GDocs). 5. I don't wish to fiddle about with a minority system that few non-techies understand. I admit I was beginning to think about OO because I wanted to try something more modern than MS Office 2000 and did not want to spend the large sum required for Office (incl Access) as a private user, but then my son's school rode to the rescue... selling low cost 3-pack family licences for MS Office 2010... MS will continue on the desktop in the business world for a long time...especially if it reviews its licensing and pricing policy in case of adverse market reaction. (Their market share is certainly theirs to lose...)

cyberscan
cyberscan

The one thing that saved Microsoft was that users were used to its interfaces. This was a prime reason why people continued to buy their operating systems and office suites. Windows 8 made a drastic change forcing users to learn a new interface. Now the prime reason why people were staying with Microsoft on computers is now gone. In fact, I believe that Linux has a more similar interface to Windows 7 and Windows XP, therefore migrating to Linux helps lessen the learning curve, Microsoft needs to understand that a laptop or desktop computer is not a phone, and people expect its interface not to behave as one. For years, nobody was interested in Linux. Now, I have gotten several to migrate.. Microsoft also charges a hefty price for its office suite. The alternatives are very good, and for the most part, they are also compatible to Microsoft's product. However, I don't see how it is worth that price when the competition is free. People who continue to buy Microsoft's office suit either don't know about the alternative, they have brand loyalty, or they choose older versions. I think Microsoft is trying to this new version from being transferred to new computers at a later time. Since this removes the option of continuing use of the software after a computer dies, this removes yet one more incentive for companies or people to stay with Microsoft. Licensing and usage restrictions is the primary reason why I moved to Linux and other free, open source software. The second reason is the ridiculous prices Microsoft charges for its products.

ollney.hoopai
ollney.hoopai

I use to like working with MS Office, but now I think I will be changing. Not because the Open Office is free or for a donation. The product is as good if not better. I own every version of MS Office from pre Office XP. I tried to install MS Office 2007 on my wifes PC and she made me reinstall XP version because it was taking her to much of her time trying to find things on the new ribbon. I have bought the new version of Office 2013, I got the email to the download page, I went there and expecting to download the ISO file to create my install disk and the link started to install MS Office 2013. I paid for the ISO and didn't get it, well I thought I did. I guess I'll start using Open Office. Aloha MS Office! See Ya!

themacjesus
themacjesus

Historically, end-users have voted with their wallets when it comes to MS products. As such, remember Vista? It got so bad that even OEMs had to offer an XP Downgrade for those who purchased new equipment with Vista pre-installed. Existing XP owners didn't migrate until 7 was out and know to have cleared the hurdles created by Vista. And I feel the same will occur with Office 2013. The users that rely on the Office suite are mostly either happy with 2007 or may have just recently jumped on 2010 - they're not going to upgrade again in such a short time, especially with the cost of Office 2013. Even VL customers wouldn't be willing to pay that steep cost without seeing a return on their investment ~3-5 years from now. It's the newest customers or those loyal upgrades, coming in from 2003 that will have a bad. And their also the ones likely to just jump ship altogether and never look back. As for Office 365, it's a worthwhile effort and in theory may seem like a good idea. But in practice, Google Docs users, for example are mainly there for its ease of use, lack of financial investment and cross-platform compatibility. Once you've tasted that fruitful combination, you're likely not to go back. Open Source fans wouldn't give up all the alternatives they've used over the years just because it's Microsoft. To add to that the proliferation of BYOD, it's not a "one size fits all" way of doing things anymore. MS may need to adjust it's pricing plans and licensing agreements across the board for all it's products soon enough! This doesn't fly with Linux or OS X for that matter nor in the ever growing mobile landscape. But for now, users may just keep on with Office 2007/2010 and eventually MS will get the drift, expanding support for those suites beyond the cutoff until the next iteration (or two) of Office comes around...maybe by about 2016 or 2019?

leighsheppard
leighsheppard

I'm still quite happily using Office 2000. Bought and paid for, and functioning fine. At work, we are settled nicely on corporate licencing for Office 2007, (actually 2010 licences, but we are sticking 2007 with no plans on moving forward for multiple years. The corporate licence actually gives me licence to use Office 2010 (or earlier) at home, but "nah", I'm happy with what I have. (I also use WordStarter 2010 and ExcelStarter 2010 (both totally free from Microsoft) primarily because they ARE free, and they do offer some familiarity with the UI.)

lmsm76
lmsm76

Microsoft marketing is very powerfull, even when the product don't desearve the price... while we are talking here they are making lot's of money with licences. I don't believe that in the near future they will have any problem. Moving to Linux it's a hard decision. Most of computers that you buy brings windows pre-installed and while they can sell licences in this way it's difficult to make a change. And in the business world, who wants to change a working system, even when it is expensive? At least 15 years will pass until we can see real changes.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm looking at a position with a FOSS/Linux company at the moment. It is a long shot on a few levels, but it is my top contender. I'll probably be speaking about this more in the near future. For now, let me say this much: Microsoft is doing a lot of things *right* with Windows 8, which is a very exciting, robust and well designed platform. Where they are stumbling is on their corporate philosophy to cloud-enabled solutions. They've got a platform that can keep them in the game, but they don't have the experience with providing a hassle-free and unrestricted end-user cloud experience. That could hurt them, you're basically right. I don't think "the writing is on the wall," and I don't think that this has the same sort of inevitability that Android overtaking iOS has. But I think Microsoft needs to course-correctly *quickly* if they want to be taken seriously in this segment of the market. It ought to be an interesting ride.

CopierGuy
CopierGuy

As MS built themselves an empire in word processing by pressing oem's to buy their MS Word to get the best OS pricing, thus killing the bulk of WordPerfect's huge lead in word processing What is great is that WordPerfect Office is still miles ahead of MS Office in quality, like the "Reveal Codes" feature that allows importing Word docs, & getting rid of any of Word's formatting codes, allowing your chosen formatting features. One may also save as a WP, Word, or many other formats. WordPerfect also has its own built in editable pdf generator. WordPerfect since 1985, CopierGuy

marioh
marioh

I work for a school district and we have Microsoft SA licensing. So, I always get the latest version of office and I can by my own license for 10 buck, not bad. Recently, I college student friend of mine asked me where she could buy Office. I told her not to buy it, normally my answer would be to go to University bookstore, download for free LibreOffice 4. So she did and saved $100.00.

grayknight
grayknight

You are referencing multiple different versions of Office licensing as if it is one license. For better understanding of the licensing, read Ed Bott's article on "Office 2013: Editions at a glance and FAQ" and then the more recent one on "Big changes in Office 2013 and Office 365 test Microsoft customers' loyalty".

emenau
emenau

It's EXACTLY what they want. Lock you in, and make it ever more difficult to get out so M$ slaves wake up and get out (now you still can), or stay in the M$ dungeon forever. It will become ever harder to get out Please wake up and join the free people

rduncan
rduncan

...especially Linux fanboys. most commentators on this thread have NEVER paid a red cent for Office, and why should they when it's an enterprise tool, you take issue to the licensing agreement- great! go get some open source software and laugh in everyone's face. but telling any IT professional to disregard Microsoft because you can't install the same software on more the 5 machines is plain stupid, obviously jack you, hate Microsoft and I do feel bad for anyone who blindsides themselves out of hate alone, I love Linux, but Powershell is a better shell than Bash,but, managing packages from command line is better that trawling the internet for exe's- to disregard Microsoft enthusiasts as 'fanboys' like you're doing smacks of hypocrisy and it's you who are the fanboy. also while mentioning office it's important to mention Office365, SAML authentication, SharePoint integration, Lync, Dynamics, Outlook, Visio, Project, OneNote, Office for Mac, iOS, visual voicemail, also every third level student gets a FREE copy of all Microsoft software from Dreamspark - yes including office 2013 and Office 365 Windows 8, everything! - Libre Office? - please! - Lastly then, Microsoft are a very big contributor to the Linux kernel, please drop this childish grudge and write some Linux articles worth reading, we can have the pissing contest elsewhere

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

I had been working with Windows since the Windows '98 era, as a Technical Support and LAN Admin, and time after time......release after release I suffered through the tough times of having to deal with blue screens, hung programs, frozen desktops, and having a machine that was an infection-magnet. After losing my personal battle with XP.....(lost an ENTIRE hard drive of saved pictures...songs documents etc.) I was able to make a backup, but a lot of that stuff didn't make it. I immediately sought out an alternative, I stumbled upon Linux and the entire Open Source community,...ever since then? I've NEVER installed Windows on ANY of my machines EVER again! I have gone through my labor pins, and had to learn some lessons the hard way, but I am now a living breathing example that you DON'T need Windows in order to have a productive, efficient, highly protected and fully functional machine for day to day work. I've used StarOffice....OpenOffice....and now LibreOffice for my word processing, spreadsheets, and other types of documents. I have also "turned" my brother.....my mother.....my older sister (who WAS a HUGE Windows fan! LoL!) I'm not a Windows "hater".....I don't have to go around posting "Down With Windows" stickers everywhere. I just make it a point that where ever I go, should someone ask a computer related question, I offer as much info about Linux as possible! (After all they don't have ANY commercials like Microsoft....and Apple.....which are on TV...the internet...and even on billboards!) I even give them links to check out....like DistroWatch...(my homepage!..) only because I believe that everyone should have a "choice" when it comes to their technology. Windows has had some hits in the past, but they've had more misses than hits, and because of the pricing issue they will always be a company that makes money, but the more they screw with their buying public...JUST to increase profits....well I guess eventually they'll find out they were wrong! As for Linux, I would suggest EVERYONE at least get familiar with it...if things keep going the way they are now....you might be using it a lot sooner than you think!

russoisraeli
russoisraeli

What I never really understood is WHY in the world would a company keep updating to the latest MS Office???? For most secretaries, the MS Office from the days of Win 3.11 would probably suffice. What do most people do there? Type documents. Do excel spreadsheets, and macros. Create graphs. Create PPT presentations. Read email with Outlook. What in the world changed so much from Office 2000/XP/2003 that would encourage a company to purchase an Office 2013 license, especially if you are not a fan of the ribbon interface? Is it that it's not possible to purchase anything but licenses for 2013 from MS anymore?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

What I am waiting to see is M$ invalidating a few tens of thousands of licences on M$ office, like they did to Vista. Back to windows 8: I have had user after user pulling their hair out over the simplest things such as TURNING THE DAMN THING OFF!

RuntyMuz
RuntyMuz

Consumerisation of IT has exposed Microsoft for what it is: An enterprise focussed leviathan with no actual insight or inspiration in its leadership... They appear to be alienating everyone: By applying (old school) Enterprise style licensing models they frustrate consumers, by focussing their development on consumer products, they are alienating Enterprises. Instead of the best of both worlds they have picked the worst of each. Ballmer claims that Microsoft are reinventing themselves yet they arent actually doing anything different just playing in the Consumers market. I also think the World is catching on, look at the stock price: In a year that has the release of Server 2012, Office 2013, Surface , Windows 8 & Phone 8 yet stock price has continued to flat line... That said, It's very unlikely I'll be having Linux in my Enterprise anytime soon.

tkainz
tkainz

I've been a Microsoft "fan" since I started using 3.1 many, many moons ago. Over the years Microsoft has made a number of decisions that, quite frankly, bewildered me. But, you take it like a good marriage - with the good comes an occasional hiccup and you just work through it. Recently, though, their decisions have turned this marriage from love to acceptance and then to one of putting up with them. With their new licensing agreements for Office 2013 though and with their overpriced upgrades, I have gone from fanboy to anti-Microsoft activist. One of my jobs is as a college instructor and one of the courses I teach is Office 2010 and more than likely will soon be Office 2013 / 365. In each class, however, I've been making it a point to stress the availability of no cost or low cost alternatives such as Libre Office. My hopes are to start an alternative class in teaching businesses how to migrate to Libre Office from Microsoft Office and how to migrate to a preferred Linux alternative and in the process save tons of money... money that they can use to further their businesses and even better - pay their employees more. The word will spread! I have gone from a passive Microsoft user to a vindictive one and I will do what I can to spread the word about available alternatives. Before becoming a software engineer, I worked in management in the hospitality field. One of the first things you learn in that field is that a loyal customer will spread the word to a few but an unhappy one will potentially spread the word to hundreds or even thousands and that is where I'm currently at. From my personal perspective; Microsoft has just torched their last bridge. The reason I've been postponing making the conversion to Unix (Ubuntu) is primarily because I didn't have time to go through the learning curve - instead opting to continue through Microsoft Windows upgrades telling myself that the minor differences are no big deal. But if they expect me to eat my valuable time going through the learning curve to Windows 8, I may as well just apply that time to Ubuntu and not look back. The same goes for Office 2013 and 365. Ubuntu and Libre Office here I come!

Adam_12345
Adam_12345

Microsoft...ughhhh :( There are some things that I don't get about this company. First of all, why I shall pay so much money for a OS that is sold in ...plastic box :/ wtf?...Why does this company still keep its policy on 'form over substance' level. When I try to buy Ubuntu, it is delived burnt on a DVD in small, thin paper cover and that's it because it is enough. It is a software not a pair of sneakers or exclusive fountain pens that should be packed in a nice box. What is more Linux can be downloaded for free which makes things even worse for Microsoft, RedHat for example, and you pay 25 USD for subscription, not mentioning other 100 distributions of Linux. And what makes things even worse and worse for Microsoft is that some of Microsoft employees worked/work on Linux code making it better so it is like an own goal :) But...Microsoft is not all the bad, it has some good ideas too. Server 2008 is a quite a nice product (GUI or Core versions). I also consider Windows XP, 2000 and Windows 7 as nice OSes (but W7 it is too much secured for home user so this is a big disadvantage). I've not got to like W8 (sorry M :( ) Obviously Me, Vista are disaster zones for me.

RZATHUG
RZATHUG

C'mon Jack do better man. First off you speak of fanboyism as if its something negative, we all have favourites & things we love, dont you realise that you yourself are a Linux fanboy. That aside you totally lost me with this piece after you said this incredibly intelligent & brilliant technician installed Ubuntu over Windows 7 just cuz he has issues with the Office license. Thats not brilliance thats stupidity. I myself have issues with the new licensing structure of Office but c'mon even if your gonna reach for an alternative, LibreOffice & Open Office work just fine on Windows 7. Further in your article you write "In short, Microsoft is losing fans and users. Where are they turning? Linux. More and more people are finally seeing there is an alternative and that alternative is actually BETTER!" So my question to you is BETTER for who? Obviously you've got your head in the sand as BOTH Linux & Windows loose users & fans to each other however the point to note is that in the desktop & laptop realm most users still prefer Windows 9 days a week. Linux has been an alternative for many many years and has only gotten vastly better over the past couple but here is the kicker which OS does it mimick to reach this better state (MICROSOFT WINDOWS) Jack i consider you to be a good writer as you've penned several great articles which i enjoy reading but we all know that your a Linux fanboy & evangelist. Nothing is wrong with trying to promote Linux however in future please keep your bias to yourself & stop bashing Microsoft.

xmechanic
xmechanic

Once again Microsoft has hit the upper limits of counter-productivity. I've been on a Mac Pro for a little over a year and a half now, and I still run XP Pro in a virtual machine just for the things that I can't do without on M$. Unlike my previous windows boxes over the years, I've had ZERO problems with the Mac. All my other machines have variations of linux for my other day to day tasks (web server, gateway, etc.) and they are pretty much trouble-free and run 24/7. The one time I tried to use Microsoft Server 2000 and IIS as a gateway, about 10 years ago, turned into a major configuration fiasco, and when I finally did get it working, it was 3 days before a major virus attack (unknown by my AV program at the time), brought it to it's knees. It still amazes me that corporate and government sectors still flock to this inherently flawed technology because 'that's what they're used to using.

mckenziedt
mckenziedt

There is a software company out of Germany that sells an excellent office suite. SoftMaker (http://www.softmaker.com/english/) makes SoftMaker Office 2012 which looks and feels like MS Office 2010 and imports MS Office files seamlessly. They supply it in Windows, Linux or Android versions for $79.95 to $99.95 and have reduced price promotions up to about 40% off sometimes during the year.. They also have Softmaker 2010, an MS Office 2007 clone, for Windows CE and Windows Mobile. At the present time there isn't a data base in the suite,but they say one is being developed to add into the suite later. I have never had any problem moving the individual version onto another hard drive or over to an upgraded computer. They also have a multi-license business use division. Another German company, Ashampoo, markets a slightly reduced featured version of SoftMaker 2012 for Windows at a reduced price. They also have frequent sales. I have created document files on one computer in with MS Office, moved the document over to another computer with SoftMaker, modified or added to it and moved it back to the MS Office computer seamlessly with no problems or inconveniences. Don

bwallan
bwallan

MS has become harder to deal with (maybe they always were?) and seems to have lost touch with the reason they exist; their clients! We will not be moving to Windows 8. We are moving to Linux at an ever increasing speed... Its time has come.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Posting this in a Linux and Open Source section? Of course the voting is pushed away from Microsoft and towards anything else. At this time 62% either will switch to Linux or probably will. Hey Jack, you place this same "blog" in a more neutral section, I think the totals will change. As for licensing and tied to a live account, for companies that purchase hundreds or thousands of licenses or even 20, the tied to a "Microsoft Live account" goes out the window. It is handled different. Oh and get your facts straight. Do some ACTUAL homework instead of this shotty crap. It is a "Microsoft ID".

rwnorton
rwnorton

Given that Microsoft's quest is to sustain the high level of profits it has enjoyed for decades due to the virtual monopoly of their O/S on PCs, much of what Microsoft is doing to adapt to Competition, Cloud-Computing, and Consumerism is perfectly understandable. I'm not clear on all the historical details, but my recollection goes something like this: Somehow, Bill Gates & Co., probably with help (acquiescence?) from IBM, managed to make it mandatory that all PCs be built with the Microsoft operating system installed, or else it was a breach of contract with Microsoft. I think this eventually got struck down in US courts, but it took a long time before that happened, by which time Microsoft was fully entrenched. MS Office was a different story, because "in the beginning", Lotus was king, with Lotus 123 and Symphony and Word Perfect dominated the document market. Microsoft took them on directly, and built a superior product with superior marketing. And they won. There wasn't near the market advantage for Office as there was for their O/S, but they proved capable of competing without an "unfair" advantage. As for Office 2013, Microsoft doesn't really care about the Business/Professional users who try to leverage it for "free" Office installations on multiple PCs. That audience does indeed have additional (better?) options with Office 365, which are specifically intended for them, not to mention Enterprise and Volume licensing agreements. Most consumers have only a few PCs (less than 5, certainly), and many will likely look favorably on the new licensing model. Most of them never knew they could move an existing Office license from one machine to another. Some may have taken the media and installed it on an additional PC and discovered that it would work - for a few installs (3 I believe), thus allowing them to move it to a new PC. But few likely knew that they could call Microsoft and continue to be able to move it around, as long as they explained what they were doing. All the clients I support are small businesses of 10 users or less. Certainly, they fall in that spot where it may become a dilemma whether Office 365 or Office 2013 makes more sense. I'm sure some of them will opt for the Office 2013 model and won't care that they require a Microsoft ID. And, frankly, all of them who are currently on Office 365 are not paying for the level of licensing that gives them Office desktop - its more about moving Exchange to the Cloud and being able to use Office Web Apps, and maybe cloud-based data sharing on Share Point. As for me, I'm a Registered Microsoft Partner (of the lowest level) and I pay an annual fee for the rights to use all their software (PC and Server O/S as well as applications and development), so my personal licensing situation with Microsoft is a whole other bag. But as a self-employed professional I believe I would personally opt for the Office 2013 licensing model if I were employed in some business other than supporting Small Business Networks (aka - Microsoft). In the log run, I believe the only thing that will drive most businesses to turn away from Microsoft for the desktop and for Office is when they start seeing a significant amount of shared documentation (from clients and vendors) coming from an alternate version of Office. So far, I almost never see that, in the US. Bottom line? No, I don't think Microsoft is going to lose out. In fact, I see all the things they are doing (which is really, really quite a lot) as being appropriate, well directed responses to the mobile, shared environment we all now live in. They recognize and have aggressively responded to the shift from PCs to mobile devices. That doesn't mean they won't have to make some changes - some maybe major - but I think we all have to give them recognition for still being a major player who is surprisingly nimble (of late) and aggressive in their moves.

DeepField
DeepField

Is there a Linux, non-MS, office suite that offers the same characteristics as MS-Office, and, especially Excel? I am specifically referring to pivot tables, filters, vba programming, and other features it would be very hard to live without...

joeyramone2
joeyramone2

Warning to new readers: this writer Jack Wallen consistently has a pro-Linux and anti-Microsoft bias. Like most of the reactionary posts on these blogs, the truth is not being told, its all rhetoric from complainers. Not much has changed in the Microsoft licensing model; Office was always a per-machine license. In recent years they changed the wording to reflect that users will also be using Office from any device via remote access and virtualization technologies; still resulting in a per-device that access the software model. If you need to use the license on 10 devices, or 30, or 3,000, get Volume Licensing. Recently with the licenses for Office home users and 365, if anything the situation has been made more flexible to accommodate people using multiple devices in a mobile world. There will always be people who want free software; if that's you then go with Linux and that last-decade type of technology. Then there will always be those who want to have the expensive fashion statement, if that's you, go with Apple. But for the majority of business that needs a complete business OS and Office suite that is compatible and on the cutting edge, staying current with touch and mobility, Microsoft seems to be delivering the best bang for the buck. I do agree that Windows 8 needs some GUI tweaks, but this is version 1 of a major design shift with a relevant and promising future. Check out the several good Youtube videos that will get you up to speed quickly. Do your own research on licensing; call a Microsoft for answers. But don't believe Jack's skewed reality.

MrGrave
MrGrave

That turn I made back then is catching up. It amazes me that people has kept their loyalty this far. At the end of the day is a matter of convenience and if someone wants to do the effort to move to something "new". I have a customer who refuses to switch to any other Office Suite since it has features that she "needs" and give her a chance to colloborate with other people (change tracking as an example). I think this started way in the day when MS pushed very "education-firendly" deals in schools where everyone was being trained to use MS Office and kept using them after graduation and into their first job, generation after generation of trained users in one piece of Software that's been paramount for MS. But now they are making those same generations re-learn something they thought knew for a long time, and that has level the chances for people like Jack that wants to feel ownership of the tool rather than the tool dictating how he should interact with it. User-centered as opposed to tool-centered if you may. We'll see how this goes in the long run.

pgit
pgit

u talkin Red Hat? Any other I can think of would be a cubicle or two assigned to FOSS development aimed at augmenting an otherwise closed source product, eg IBM or intel pay for a modicum of FOSS development. Whatever the plan, good luck with it.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Instead of staying where they were strong, they have ventured into areas where they are weak. Actually scratch that, they were never strong, they just had a monopoly, now that the monopoly is over, MS is starting to decline.

DAS01
DAS01

The older MS Office file types needed updating. The files they produced were unnecessarily large - see what happens when you convert xls to xlsx and doc to docx. WordPerfect 2000 files were smaller than Word 2000.

grayknight
grayknight

And it applies to people who have been using Windows for a while. People new to computing will not find the learning curve that difficult though. You can use the power button now, you know, the physical button on the actual device. I know, scary thought. We've been trained to not use it all these years.

monsag
monsag

Just an opinion from my experience... It was around the late 80s when I developed the habit of using Windows, then came along Microsoft Office. A habit I enjoyed for years because I was productive. But Vista came along and those "ribbons." Then like any rational being, once a particular habit proves to bring more headache than pleasure, one kicks that habit and try to learn something better. I have been sharing my relatively new habit - Ubuntu/Libre/OpenOffice - to a couple of thousands of our students - for the last four years now. They are from the young K-12 to college kids. Most of these kids have Windows at home. But at least now they are aware that there is something else out there. For more practical reasons, a good number of State universities from this corner of the globe are steadily switching to the "friendlier" Ubuntu/Libre Office. A side note: I don't really now why, but Microsoft seems to actively motivate people to ask, "is there something else out there?" And people are steadily finding out, there is.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

...has nothing to do with Office 2013 or any office version. It's games (If we are talking home use). For example...if STEAM continues to port games to the linux platform, your gammers, who focus on the latest and greatest coputer hardware and will continue to have full blown computers will, in my opinion, switch to Linux. Beter stability, better performance...and in the future, games... Businesses are not going to fllock to Linux. Change in the business world is difficult and slow.

GJChiasson
GJChiasson

I've never been able to talk a business customer into "free" office software. It's still perceived as a risk either for finding staff who know how to use it or for compatibility with customers and vendors. On top of that even the OS X based customers end up running Windows with Office in a VM because so many business applications assume Office on Windows.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

It would seem abundantly apparent that you never spent much time with Word Perfect. To call even the latest version of MS Word superior to Word Perfect is laughable. Still, plus 1 for the superior marketing. Even if it does somehow resemble the pretentious manner in which most despots "legally" ascend to their totalitarian status through what would "appear" to be the majority opinions of the people.

pgit
pgit

True, Jack has a clear agenda. But one has to ask what the motivation is. Biases, like stereotypes, actually have a foundation in reality. It's incorrect to totally reject something just because it comes from a bias, or stereotype for that matter. There's always some truth in them. Jack may have been stung by MS licensing somewhere along the line. I have been, as I mention in another post in this thread. Whatever the cause, he has his reasons. It's not that he should forgo his biases, rather it's the reader's responsibility to take them into account when reading. (or elect not to read him altogether) I'm not defending Jack so much as trying to insure throwing "bias" around doesn't become an unreasonable absolute the way so may other terms have in the public discourse. (think "racist," "conspiracy theory" and other conversation ending hot buttons)

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

That's what I like about him. As for Linux, MS has been copying features from it for years in every new MS OS. So if you think you are on the cutting edge on MS products, you are fooling yourself. Windoes 8 is truthfully more like lipstick on a pig than a design shift. Why does it require 41 GB of space? The design shift you are talking about perhaps is the unified desktop that MS is presenting across devices. This design shift was first implemented by Ubuntu in the form of the Unity Desktop, yeah, on that last decade old technolgy. I use both MS and Linux daily and quite simply, Linux is the better OS on any number of fronts. I will give you this, MS is pretty. So if pretty windows is what floats your boat then by all means, go with Windows.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

It would seem that Steams issues with MS revolve around Windows 8 and their plans for the future of it. Sure didn't take them long to get that ball rolling though! That, I find very encouraging! First Mac, now Linux, and this from a company who had been on record for sometime stating they would never port to Mac. Competition is a good thing. We will all benefit.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

it integrates fabulously with most of the Office Suite of applications, and will open and save files from either platform. Word, excel, and even outlook all have an OSX counterpart.

rwnorton
rwnorton

You are correct, I know nothing about current versions of Word Perfect. And I did mistakenly imply that MS Word must be a superior product because it pretty much wiped out Word Perfect and other competition many years ago. I do recognize that the "better" product does not always win the hearts and minds of consumers and/or business. In fact, many have claimed that some of Microsoft's greatest failures were "technically superior" products. Everyone has a right to a preference, based on their own needs, experiences, beliefs, and knowledge. There is no such thing as an invalid preference. Opinions are similar - to call one invalid is to claim that the person who holds it has no right to that opinion, and that's just, well, not right. But opinions are, hopefully, influenced by facts, and certainly by other's opinions and preferences, to varying degrees. I'm not trying to sway anyone in any particular direction regarding their preferences, but in my opinion, people who are gleefully predicting the demise of Microsoft are seemingly ignoring history and and/or focusing on one small (personally irritating) piece of the changes Microsoft is making. They are missing the larger picture. The giant is not sleeping. Don't rule him out.

ricardoc
ricardoc

on integration, that is. I had so many problems with Excel for Mac messing up and totally screwing spreadsheets that we ended up installing Parallels and Windows so our Mac guy could work with pre-existing Excel spreadsheets.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

and to be fair, i personally have yet to experience a spreadsheet package that is anywhere near intuitive and feature-packed as MS's Excel. That alone I imagine may play a significant role in a business's choice to go with MS. Perhaps one day they will get the issues in Word straightened out.