You don't need visual studio if you aren't using IISx, SQLServer and .net. A lot of the free office suites do just fine with excel programs, but my thinking is that you should use the right tool for the job. I also think that Excel is clearly the best surviving spread sheet program. Some people still prefer lotus notes. If excel starts to be 100k rows you should really be doing a database instead. It's been proven, databases correctly done get your information much faster than macros.
The big picture, like it or not, is how bad Microsoft does with customer relations. Seriously, can you think of another company that treats their customers so poorly? Have they not heard of focus groups? With all that cash, can they not hire someone who is at least a little slick at feeding people sub-optimal ideas? Even Jim Jones had happy people up until the Kool Aid thing. Does no one at MS have a clue?
I have to give them very low mark as a company for being so functionally stupid. That is not a referendem on their products, just their managment.
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