Is Microsoft Office overgrown?

23 11 2009

Microsoft Office has been a staple of academic and professional life for nearly fifteen years. It was introduced in 1989 for the Mac and later in 1990 for Windows. Since then, its feature set has grown. However, it would seem the Office is suffering from a rather advanced case of feature creep. Screen shot 2009-11-23 at 8.27.21 PM.pngOffice 2008 is installed on this MacBook and it takes up nearly a gigabyte of hard disk space. When launching Microsoft Word, it take take as long as 60 seconds to launch.

The cost of the software package is not that great, either. If you buy a license for the Windows version, it could cost you between $150 and $500. If you buy the Mac version, you could end up paying $130 or $350.

Microsoft clearly needs to drop their prices and slim down their products. There are features in Excel and Word that I wouldn’t be able to begin to explain. Most people need a word processor that is a word processor. It should let you write a letter or a paper, save it, and print it. For me, that would cover 99% of my needs. The same goes with spreadsheet programs.

Microsoft Office is looking less and less attractive to me. Programs like Open Office are open source and completely free. Apple’s iWork, a direct competitor of Office on the Mac has a great deal of polish and looks to be designed with average users in mind, rather than businesses.

Microsoft needs to make its software much more minimal and much more nimble. It may be a smart move for them to make if they want to help push resource-limited netbooks that might struggle to run large programs like those found in Office.

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