Open letter to Microsoft

Dear Morons,

Office 2007 sucks to three decimal places.

Now, I will concede that (apparently) the new version can do all kinds of clever things. That’s what your marketing people tell us, anyway, and I can’t think of any instance in the past when they’ve made overblown claims with no factual basis. No, really.

But you’ve gone the extra mile and made it look different. The official view is that everything is now arranged much more logically and is easier to find, spread out in full view over various ribbons. But WHY??

I even concede that one interface is pretty well like another, and if this is what it had looked like 15 years ago when I started using Windows then I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. In fact I would be as irritated as I am now if you had suddenly started to use a strange system of drop-down menus for the latest release. But here’s the rub. In those 15 years I’ve picked up the basics of Office pretty well. I know its strengths and I know its weaknesses. I know exactly how much I can achieve with it and I know – I knew – how to achieve it without even thinking about it.

And no, I’m not going to quietly unlearn 15 years of experience just because you lot think I should. It’s your job to keep up with me, not vice versa. At my level of usership you haven’t made a single improvement with your mindless tinkering.

Even this wouldn’t be an issue if you could have an option to display the old menus. You even do this with Windows, kindly giving us the option of New SuperDuper Windows Look or Classic Windows look. Why not do the same for Office?

This is actually possible, a quick Google tells me: there is an add-on that I can purchase that will bring back the old menus. But I don’t want to pay for what should come for free, and if I did I very much doubt IT Support would install it for me. (You may guess from mention of IT Support that this is a work-based problem. Home runs Office 97 just fine, thanks very much, and has no intention of changing.)

Fiddling with software is a bit like the age of consent at 16. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Fogeyishly,
Ben

PS anyone leaving a comment that even hints at the existence of OpenOffice will receive a cold, hard stare.

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