back to article Microsoft squeezes out early release of 2007 Office SP1

Microsoft pumped out its service pack 1 (SP1) for the 2007 Office suite yesterday, which it said should cheer up customers unhappy with the number of system failures in the previous release. Microsoft Office boss Reed Shaffner admitted in a statement that customers had been hacked off with the amount of crashes experienced …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typo?

    'Shaffner said SP1, which was spat out earlier than expected...'

    Methinks this sentence has a 'p' that sorely needs to be replaced with an 'h'.

  2. Phil Miesle

    okay, so to speed deployment...

    All you need to do is release SP1, because what's really the barrier to marketplace takeup is the ".0" at the end of the release number. So here's a cunning idea for everyone: release a ".0" product that doesn't require a patch bundle to work properly! Might've been good for Vista (which came and quickly went on my system).

  3. Francis Fish
    Unhappy

    The barrier to adoption?

    I've been using it for a while now, moved because of incompatibility issues.

    Perhaps the complete redesign of the interface? Try finding "save as" in Excel - the File menu no longer exists FFS! It is there, but nowhere obvious.

    Perhaps the "ribbon" that takes up half your screen if you're on a low-res machine?

    Perhaps the redesign of formatting in Word, which was way better than Open Office, to be almost unusable and no longer number headings properly?

    I think XP was the terminal release.

    I also read that MS have got rid of a lot of their testers and gone in for automated testing of everything - so the whole usability thing they spent billions on has gone out of the door.

    Open Office is more compatible with XP than Office 2007 - wtf were they thinking? I recon OO will really take off now.

    Thanks, guys, for wasting my time. Can I send you a bill?

  4. Mike Crawshaw
    Unhappy

    Translation...

    "customers unhappy with the number of system failures in the previous release."

    System failures like the Ribbon.

    "customers had been hacked off with the amount of crashes experienced"

    Crashes like the Ribbon appearing.

    "Crashes are one of the most frustrating experiences customers have,"

    Apart from the Ribbon.

    "Shaffner also acknowledged that customers had been slow to adopt the latest version of Office, although he didn't mention why that might be. Google Apps anyone?"

    And the Ribbon.

  5. James Bassett
    Alert

    Going against the grain

    I know it's considered a no-no around here for anyone to (shock horror) go against the accepted wisdom but, having used various versions of word et al since the DOS days, I find Office 2007 and absolute breath of fresh air. The previous few versions (damn near identical) were horrible products. Who thought up "dynamic menus". If I want someone to hide things from me I'l get my year-old son! I don't need my "productivity" suite to do it.

    Sure, Office 2007 takes time to get used to. It took me about 2 days to feel comfortable and probably a couple of weeks to find all the stuff I use. However, I am now way more productive.

    However, I should point out that, to my mind, Word XP (or 2003 or whatever) is the work of the devil and I hate it with a fervour boardering on psychopathic.

    I also really like Vista and, until I installed SP1 RC1 last weekend, have had no problems with it (since last weekend I get a BSOD, core dump and auto-reboot every time I bring my PC out of sleep mode. SP1 was removed last night!).

  6. Les
    Linux

    Google Whats?

    The main barrier for corporates adopting Office 2007 is that Office 2003 works, and doesn't require extensive and expensive[1] retraining of users. Well, that's the ones who get it "free" thanks to licensing arrangements. For others, it's a matter of cost - if there is no perceived benefit in an upgrade, why would a company pay for it?

    Google Apps (or whatever) is a red wossname, fishy thing, kipper, err, herring - that's the one. Just like Vista's real competition is Win XP, Office 2007's is Office 2003 (or earlier in a lot of cases).

    Penguin icon because penguins are cute, not for any Linuxy reasons.

    [1] Average users who know where to find the features they use in Office tend to be a wee bit confused when faced with a completely different interface...

  7. Francis Fish
    Thumb Up

    Perhaps I was a *little* unfair

    You can get the ribbon to hide itself if you are patient ... so you don't lose (yeah, lose!! I can spell) quite so much screen. I have spent several happy minutes taking friends through how to hide the ribbon over the phone ...

    I agree that if you hated the older versions it's a breath of fresh air ... but I use styles all the time and it just doesn't work - I can't press hot keys and jump to them any more - I have to take my fingers off the keyboard and find that damn mouse thang. Slows me down and gets in my way - I type more than 3 words a minute.

    I suspect if you aren't a touch typist who uses shortcuts all the time it's probably quite nice ... ctrl-shift-N for normal, anyone? Why doesn't it work any more, even if you've set the shortcut up again in the style manager?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barrier to take up

    Due to it coming installed on new machines we have a mix of 2003 and 2007, and purely from a communication stand point 2007 has caused a lot of issues.

    This is purely down to the new file format, xlsx or docx anyone? If you send documents to clients and they haven't got 2007 or haven't installed the 30Mb (approx) patch to their earlier office systems, they just get random errors and are unable to view them.

    In my mind Office became as popular as it did partly due to everyone knowing how to use it, but mostly due to everyone using .doc files et al almost as a standard.

    As to the ribbon, in some ways I hate it, but in others it's quite good

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New file format - solution

    Simple solution - select the 97-2003 format when saving and you'll get a .doc/.xls file - simple. Or as, you say, install the Office Compatibility Pack (30MB isn't much these days) which gives the ability to open, edit and save the new XML based format in Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003 - and also the standalone viewer apps.

  10. Morely Dotes
    Flame

    Oh, I know that one!

    "Shaffner also acknowledged that customers had been slow to adopt the latest version of Office, although he didn't mention why that might be."

    Because it's shite, that's why. I've been forced to use MS Office 2007 (and Vista, don't get me started on that, too), and there is absolutely NO reason to change from Office 2003 (or OpenOffice, my suite of choice) in my experience.

    Just another piece of bloatware from the World's Biggest Software Punisher.

    As for James Bassett's issue with the previous version's default of "hide things from me if Microsoft thinks I'm too stupid to use them," that can be turned off in about 5 seconds, and it stays off.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How bad?

    I've spent a day with Vista. Brand new machine. I spent half the day setting up the machine with user accounts etc, then spent the other half playing around to see how different everything was. I HATE it! Just one of the annoyances is the start menu - XP has a good was of giving you the extra shortcuts as well as a way to easily see All Programs. Vista will show you All Programs but you have to use the mouse and then often scroll down because there are too many programs on the system!

    Shortcuts don't work any more. In XP I switch off by pressing Windows-U-U. Simple. Can be done in about half a second. The same thing takes about 4 seconds in Vista - 8 times slower!

    This is also a problem with Office 2007. When we got two new machines in work with Office 2007 on them I set them up and hated them because I thought it was just the complex functions that didn't appear on the ribbon. No. All staff hate it, whether they use Word as a very simple program, or they use Styles and everything else!

    There we go my two-p-worth.

    The only good thing about Vista / Of07 is that at this rate they may just be the last versions MS ever makes!

  12. b shubin
    Pirate

    Premiums

    a common problem all desktop MS products share, starts with "p", ends with "e", one syllable, jiggles in your pocket, yep, that's PRICE.

    if the desktop products are priced in the same tier as the server products, then what occurs is called a "barrier to entry". Vista and Office 2007 may suck for lots of people, but they are not the first products released by Gates Ballmer & Co. that suck. this has never prevented adoption before; slowed it down some, sure, but not stopped it outright.

    now they have a different problem: there is no return on the premium they charge. the productivity gains will be incremental, when one considers the sorry state of training in the workplace, resistance to change, and variations in personal usage habits.

    the pricing principle works like this: one can release a sequel that sucks out loud, but it has to be affordable.

    in China, it costs a few dollars US to license Windows and Office on a workstation, legally. MS made that decision when the alternative became obvious (that everyone would simply pirate and/or crack their products anyway).

    How much do YOU want to pay today?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Barrier to take up

    Well, for what it's worth, the damn ribbon interface is a pain in the ass to use (and too flashy). OpenOffice is more intuitive than that. And not as distracting.

  14. herman Silver badge

    Flippen ribbon

    That ribbon is something special really. Excel is practically unusable because of it. People are very relieved when I install Gnumeric and tell them it is Free and it Works.

  15. Mike Landers

    Drop the attitude at the door

    The Ribbon is excellent. It took me a day to get used to it and it really does make it much, much quicker and easier to use Office apps.

    Unfortunately this comes at the cost of speed - Outlook especially is much slower and less responsive.

    All those moaning about it - especially the things about document compatibility, hey, Office Logo | Word Options | Save | Save files as. If I can find that in about three seconds, maybe people should try a bit harder instead of bringing pre-existing bias to the party.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More barrier to use

    Agree completely about the ribbon - I detest it more than a very hated thing. And you can't even customise it.

    Plus there's the fact that Powerpoint runs in

    cr

    ed

    ib

    ly

    slowly, even on a pretty high-end laptop.

    I've just bought a new (home) laptop with Vista et al on it; first thing I'm doing is setting up XP (and Office 2003) for a dualboot

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    It's about the file formats, dummy

    Existing Microsoft binary formats:

    - undocumented

    - possible to reverse-engineer (see OpenOffice, etc etc)

    Microsoft Office 2007 formats:

    - partially documented (i.e. as useless as undocumented, but being used as a lever to bring it up to speed with ODF by pushing standardisation through ISO using a process of bribery and committee-stuffing)

    - protected by patents, so anyone who tries to reverse-engineer or use without permission can be sued by Microsoft.

    WAKE UP you Office 2007 sheep! Everything you type into your word processor or spreadsheet falls straight into a padlocked box, with Microsoft holding the only key. It's bad enough already trying to access old MS Office documents with virtual machines running Windows 95 (the National Archive) and will simply get worse and worse. If you use ODF instead, then you will always be able to access your data, forever.

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