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View Full Version : Microsoft makes a Basic mistake with Office 2007


MacBytes
Dec 10, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Microsoft makes a Basic mistake with Office 2007 (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20061210175130)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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mkjellman
Dec 10, 2006, 05:31 PM
well i've never used a macro and i use office every day of my life. so, i really don't think this is a huge deal. if you use macros then get office for windows, sorry you may have to do things manually...

Applespider
Dec 10, 2006, 05:42 PM
It is a big deal and it's not being talked about enough.

You might not create spreadsheets with macros but there are a lot of companies which have macros built into regularly used spreadsheets to update complex formulae - particularly in forecasting scenarios and sales trending which require input from different groups. It will mean I can't work at home on certain tasks any longer.

It's one of those things that's likely to be the deal-killer for an SME considering trying OS X but being killed. If you're going to have to run Windows (in Boot Camp or Parallels), then why bother administering the Mac too?

It's almost worth not upgrading just to keep the facility - so long as these xml translators finally arrive :rolleyes:

bluebomberman
Dec 10, 2006, 06:02 PM
The Macworld forum thread for this article was pretty lively for a while; the problem disproportionately affects power users (and especially Excel aficionados) in a multi-platform environment.

You may see a lot of corporate types keeping Office 2004 for the Mac despite not being Universal, using Parallels with Office for Windows, or give up entirely on using a Mac for work.

It's hard to predict where this is going, since it's not clear what the future of VB and macros is on the Windows platform. Supposedly, they're going to overhaul the macro programming environment with a .Net architecture in the future.

Graeme A
Dec 10, 2006, 06:11 PM
Wow! I don't know why they are screwing with the Apple user base. Most of us have to use Office as it is the only way of dealing with PC users.

I don't think that Office 2007 is going to be widespread in the business community until maybe the latter part of 2007; it does stink that they are not thinking about all their user base.

I will be hanging on to my G5 for a little while longer I think. I was looking to get a new MBP through salary sacrifice but this takes the gloss of it a little.

Applespider
Dec 10, 2006, 06:12 PM
the problem disproportionately affects power users (and especially Excel aficionados) in a multi-platform environment.

Then again, I've also heard that the 'ribbon' in Office 2007 (Windows) is great for everyone except Excel power-users... :( So perhaps, no power users will upgrade on either platform :p

bousozoku
Dec 10, 2006, 06:16 PM
I've created a fair number of Visual BASIC for Applications applications and while it's very useful, I've seen more than a few people use it to create viruses.

The MacBU should be creating a converter so that the macros are still available to Mac users. It's actually a good thing to support Mac OS X technologies. A workflow from MS Word to Quark XPress or to Adobe Acrobat wouldn't be that unusual.

It's sad that they won't have a Universal version ready initially.

Queso
Dec 10, 2006, 06:16 PM
All this means is that Office 2004 is going to be the new Outlook 2001, an outdated version remaining in use years after it was officially retired.

Although Microsoft's reasons are quite valid for not porting the VBA code, they really ought to have figured out some way the macros can work in Rosetta or at the very least only included the existing macro language in the PowerPC version as an installation option. Simply wiping out a feature because you can't get it to work reminds me too much of Vista.

bleachthru
Dec 10, 2006, 07:03 PM
Wow, remind me not to upgrade to 2007. It continues to amaze me, it seems often that when a company has a good thing going, something that satisfies the majority of users... they have to go and mess with it. Seriously, what are they thinking? There has to be another solution for UB support rather than dropping cross platform macros all together.

ChrisA
Dec 10, 2006, 07:14 PM
Why not use Open Office? I reads and writes MS Office files just fine.

And if the only Windows program you need is Office the "Crossover Office" runs windows Office on the Mac without Windows.

You only need Parallels or Bootcamp if you want torun Windows XP. Most people don't really want Windows XP they just need some Windows program so Crossover Office is perfect.

123
Dec 10, 2006, 08:10 PM
the problem disproportionately affects power users (and especially Excel aficionados) in a multi-platform environment.

I don't think power users are the issue here, they always find a way around limitations (Parallels, Crossover, OpenOffice). It's a much bigger problem for the average Office user who has to fill in scripted forms (time sheets, project calculations, planning etc.) as part of a business process. It will be yet another example of Macs not fitting into the enterprise world.

bluebomberman
Dec 10, 2006, 08:43 PM
I don't think power users are the issue here, they always find a way around limitations (Parallels, Crossover, OpenOffice). It's a much bigger problem for the average Office user who has to fill in scripted forms (time sheets, project calculations, planning etc.) as part of a business process. It will be yet another example of Macs not fitting into the enterprise world.

I guess by "power users," I also had in my mind medium-to-large enterprises that make macro templates for their employee base.

Although in that situation, you'd hope they'd get some IT people to build Mac-friendly versions of scripted forms.

Either way, it's gonna be a mess. Good thing it doesn't affect me personally.

Why not use Open Office? I reads and writes MS Office files just fine.

That doesn't solve the issue of running macros on the Mac.

Effective alternatives to MS Office are great, but this is a particular situation in which not even Microsoft is addressing the issue in the most beneficial manner for Mac users.

Analog Kid
Dec 11, 2006, 12:17 AM
One less differentiator between Office and it's competition. I'm not much of a VB fan, myself, but compatibility is important. When making the case for bringing Macs into our Windows-based office, it's important to be able to say that they're compatible with their Windows cousins. As iWork improves, and Office becomes more independent from its Windows roots I think more people are going to take the cheaper, Apple alternative. Mac Office volumes will decline and MS will decide it's not worth maintaining.

Another example of how people don't view the Mac as a "work" machine.

Just as interesting to me is the blog post by the MS developer describing their code. Why on earth do they need to make it so complicated?! You'd think that all of that assembly code would be there to speed things up, but Office has always been a dog in my experience. VBA compiles platform independent bytecodes to native assembly? Why bother? Sounds like they could get just as much of a performance improvement by cleaning up their cruft. Code that hasn't been touched in a decade? Oy.

If this is how all Microsoft code is written, I can see why they're so slow to evolve. And I can see why you need a 3GHz processor to run a freakin' word processor.

I'm curious what new features have been deemed more important than the macro language. I'm hoping for an OpenGL talking paperclip.

macintologist
Dec 11, 2006, 12:40 AM
Why port VB to intel then? If it's so hard, why didn't they just keep it in PPC code and let Rosetta handle it? We already know Office runs plenty fast in Rosetta, so just keep one of the PPC elements that's difficult to port.

Analog Kid
Dec 11, 2006, 12:50 AM
Why port VB to intel then? If it's so hard, why didn't they just keep it in PPC code and let Rosetta handle it? We already know Office runs plenty fast in Rosetta, so just keep one of the PPC elements that's difficult to port.
I'm guessing it has to do with how it translates itself to native assembly and connects into the rest of the Office code. I don't know that Rosetta can be invoked for subroutines.

IJ Reilly
Dec 11, 2006, 10:24 AM
Wow, remind me not to upgrade to 2007. It continues to amaze me, it seems often that when a company has a good thing going, something that satisfies the majority of users... they have to go and mess with it. Seriously, what are they thinking?

I'll take a wild guess: They were thinking that they don't have to care, because people will buy the product anyway -- warts, pimples and all. And why not? It's always worked for them before.

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 10:50 AM
Wow! I don't know why they are screwing with the Apple user base. Most of us have to use Office as it is the only way of dealing with PC users.

I don't think that Office 2007 is going to be widespread in the business community until maybe the latter part of 2007; it does stink that they are not thinking about all their user base.

I will be hanging on to my G5 for a little while longer I think. I was looking to get a new MBP through salary sacrifice but this takes the gloss of it a little.

Why wait and not immediately upgrade? Office 2004 runs very well under Rosetta. I don't believe you will have problems with the speed, especially on a Duo 2 Core system.

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 10:53 AM
Microsoft is going to stop VB development and focus on a .Net solution.

They also want to slowly abandon the Mac market and I believe that the new office will be the last one to come for the Mac...
I think that this should have given the signal to Apple to develop Pages to a great word processor, something that isn't the case at the moment! Come on Apple, make Pages a better Word program!

IJ Reilly
Dec 11, 2006, 10:58 AM
Come on Apple, make Pages a better Word program!

I think it's already better. But please, let's not make this yet another Word v. Pages thread! :)

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 11:04 AM
I think it's already better. But please, let's not make this yet another Word v. Pages thread! :)

That wasn't my intention. I have to tell you though that I have trouble getting used to Pages. I still prefer Word

IJ Reilly
Dec 11, 2006, 11:13 AM
That wasn't my intention. I have to tell you though that I have trouble getting used to Pages. I still prefer Word

I understand, but I think this is same barrier people have to cross to abandon Windows for the Mac.

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 11:36 AM
I understand, but I think this is same barrier people have to cross to abandon Windows for the Mac.

Maybe, maybe not! I mean I have made the change and got used to the new environment very quick but Word for Mac was always there. I really think that Pages has to improve a lot in order to be able to attract as many switchers as possible.

123
Dec 11, 2006, 12:00 PM
I understand, but I think this is same barrier people have to cross to abandon Windows for the Mac.

Pages has some serious limitations and is full of bugs. This has nothing to do with "abandon Windows for the Mac". It's just not ready to take over.

nagromme
Dec 11, 2006, 12:09 PM
Sounds like Office 2004 is worth getting, and Office 2007 will be one to skip.

Rosetta speed on next year's intel chips will be quite adequate for word processing, and format convertors are coming for compatibility.

Since MS does know the importance of this feature, it does sound suspiciously like they MIGHT have a long-term plan to kill Office in a few years.

Which could have killed the Mac, once upon a time... but it's too late now! Office has too many alternatives, and the Mac has too many advantages.

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 12:19 PM
Microsoft hasn't yet realized that Apple is growing. When they do, they will just stop developing anything for the Mac. It's as simple as that.

IJ Reilly
Dec 11, 2006, 12:30 PM
Pages has some serious limitations and is full of bugs. This has nothing to do with "abandon Windows for the Mac". It's just not ready to take over.

Limitations are where you find them. I find them in Word. As for "full of bugs," I have found a grand total two in Pages in nearly two years of daily use. For me, Pages was ready to take over in January 2005.

Nermal
Dec 11, 2006, 12:33 PM
Microsoft is going to stop VB development and focus on a .Net solution.

They also want to slowly abandon the Mac market and I believe that the new office will be the last one to come for the Mac...

The Office framework for .Net includes features specific to Mac versions of Office. As far as I know, it's not currently possible to actually use those features, but they're there.

Shadow
Dec 11, 2006, 12:44 PM
Limitations are where you find them. I find them in Word. As for "full of bugs," I have found a grand total two in Pages in nearly two years of daily use. For me, Pages was ready to take over in January 2005.

Totally true. However, Pages docs have a habit to get corrupt when backing up (ony if you do it wrongly, mind).

Flowbee
Dec 11, 2006, 01:04 PM
Microsoft hasn't yet realized that Apple is growing. When they do, they will just stop developing anything for the Mac. It's as simple as that.

No, Microsoft realizes that Mac users can now install and run Windows. If MS stop development of Office for Mac, it will be because they want to force us to buy Windows in order to run the latest Office. That may be what they're doing now, only more subtly.

petvas
Dec 11, 2006, 01:08 PM
No, Microsoft realizes that Mac users can now install and run Windows. If MS stop development of Office for Mac, it will be because they want to force us to buy Windows in order to run the latest Office. That may be what they're doing now, only more subtly.

That too!

solvs
Dec 12, 2006, 04:07 AM
I don't think that Office 2007 is going to be widespread in the business community until maybe the latter part of 2007

I've worked with some really big companies who still haven't upgraded to Office 2003. '07 will be no different. If compatibility is an issue at all, they won't upgrade.

Queso
Dec 12, 2006, 04:37 AM
I've worked with some really big companies who still haven't upgraded to Office 2003. '07 will be no different. If compatibility is an issue at all, they won't upgrade.
Same here. I phoned a client yesterday and they said their migration from Office XP to 2003 is scheduled for January 2007. Outside of Microsoft, nobody is going to be sending documents in the new formats for at least a year.

bousozoku
Dec 12, 2006, 11:02 AM
Limitations are where you find them. I find them in Word. As for "full of bugs," I have found a grand total two in Pages in nearly two years of daily use. For me, Pages was ready to take over in January 2005.

It seems as though a lot of people see the graphical bent to Pages and assume that it's just for a child or grandparent to create cutesy flyers.

The thing that it does so well that Word does not is to keep things in place after editing. I've written a lot of how-to manuals to help computer staff use equipment and Word invariably makes me start over because it won't keep the screenshots where they're supposed to be. Every other word processor I've used is fine, even WordPerfect. Pages is amazing because it has fixed layout available with the flexibility to flow the pages.

Pages may limit some because they don't have any training in layout and design, but I don't see any serious limitations these days.

IJ Reilly
Dec 12, 2006, 11:30 AM
It seems as though a lot of people see the graphical bent to Pages and assume that it's just for a child or grandparent to create cutesy flyers.

This is partly Apple's fault. It's what you see when you start up Pages -- all those templates. I made a point of mentioning this to a member of the iWork programming team who was demonstrating Pages 2.0 on the floor at MWSF last January, as one of the reasons why many people weren't "getting" Pages. Apple needs to push more on the power of creating your own templates. The is the key to the coolness of Pages, IMO.

Nermal
Dec 12, 2006, 11:36 PM
well i've never used a macro and i use office every day of my life. so, i really don't think this is a huge deal. if you use macros then get office for windows, sorry you may have to do things manually...

I don't mean to be rude, but I probably will be anyway...

That's a terrible attitude. Just because you don't happen to use VBA, it's acceptable to force us VBA users to use Windows? I for one will be hanging onto my copy of 2004, for VBA support. I may end up getting 2007 as well (chances are I can get it for $20 via HUP), and if it's noticeably better than I'll have a dual-installation, but I'm certainly not going to boot into Windows to open a document!

bousozoku
Dec 13, 2006, 12:17 AM
This is partly Apple's fault. It's what you see when you start up Pages -- all those templates. I made a point of mentioning this to a member of the iWork programming team who was demonstrating Pages 2.0 on the floor at MWSF last January, as one of the reasons why many people weren't "getting" Pages. Apple needs to push more on the power of creating your own templates. The is the key to the coolness of Pages, IMO.

It's so easy to quickly create any document but templates since they take more work and some planning. However, I can imagine that someone sees the list of templates and can't decide which one to use, so they close the application and launch TextEdit or Word or OpenOffice.

What Apple has been lacking for the longest time is documentation, paper or electronic. That's typical of most companies with a product but despite ease of use, they need to do more. "Pages for Dummies" anyone?

IJ Reilly
Dec 13, 2006, 12:34 AM
What Apple has been lacking for the longest time is documentation, paper or electronic. That's typical of most companies with a product but despite ease of use, they need to do more. "Pages for Dummies" anyone?

You are so right. A new entry in the "missing manual" series, perhaps? David Pogue, are you listening?

sushi
Dec 13, 2006, 12:41 AM
Microsoft makes a Basic mistake with Office 2007
This is sad news indeed. Macros (VBA) is very important for cross platform compatibility.

The best version of Office as 97 PC and 98 Mac. They looked and worked the same for all practical purposes.

That is what the MBU should be striving to do. It just shows that MSFT can make some bad decisions. First the Zune and now this.

Microsoft has it's head in the clouds. If they were on the ball, they would develop a version for Office that is the same for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. Menus, features and look & feel need to be the same.

The developers comments are lame. It shows just how far behind the MBU organization is compared to their Windows counterparts.

Stupid move! :mad:

winmacguy
Dec 13, 2006, 12:59 AM
Then again, I've also heard that the 'ribbon' in Office 2007 (Windows) is great for everyone except Excel power-users... :( So perhaps, no power users will upgrade on either platform :p

A friend of mine who is an extensive Excell user who has been beta testing Office 2007 on his PC laptop is having to uninstall it and go back to Office 2003 because it was giving his laptop to much grief. While not a Mac and only a beta version of Office it still doesn't seem worth the hassel.

solvs
Dec 15, 2006, 01:39 AM
Actually I've heard they are trying to get rid of Macros in Windows too. Too much of a hassle with viruses, even with the extra security, so they're working on something else. I believe it is touched on in the article. So much for backward compatibility. Look at what happened to Quark when they tried something like that. Almost everyone I know has jumped aboard the ID train, with everyone else wanting to. Without full backwards compatibility, why not just upgrade to something else?