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Initial Windows 7 impressions ...and... The Microsoft Office-Coffin

Tags: Windows 7 Microsoft Office Thoughts
My initial impression about Windows 7 is that this Windows-version is what Vista should have been. This is probably the feeling of the programmers in Redmond too, which operates with the internal version number 6.1 on Windows 7. Windows Vista has internal version number 6.0 ...

Microsoft is already pushing Windows 7 very hard, and thus spreading the conception of Vista being a middle-version. This stirs up the customer base, which is currently mostly sitting on the fence, watching Microsoft make up their mind about the Windows future. Here in Norway, many (MANY...) customers still uses Windows XP, and wisely let others "test" Vista for them. They probably won't install Vista at all, but waits until Windows 7 is ready for launch. The lack of Vista-focus and "here we go again with another new OS"-attitude from Microsoft, gives open source projects like Linux, Open Office (and off course our own Lotus Symphony!) bigger momentum for every day Microsoft doesn't deliver a proper OS. Take a look at the latest distributions of Linux such as Ubuntu for example, and pair that with the powerful applications in Open Office. Both the functionality and the look and feel of these packages are now creeping upwards, and making them feasible candidates for both companies and people. Especially when you look at the cost-perspective

In December 2008 we had a major news-case in Norway, where the Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord RHF)  after a licence-review, had to pay Microsoft approx. 40 million NOK (around 5.5 mill USD) as a response for missing licences. Of course Helse Nord has to pay for their actual licence usage, but it probably shows how easy it is to get lost in the count of licences, and super expensive it can be to fix it
I bet someone is the finance department is thinking real hard on whether the functionality of Open Office and Linux could actually replace Microsoft Windows and Office in the very near future ...

The Office-Coffin
I can't stop feeling that Microsoft is loosing on the Office-part, as the functionality and looks of open source packages comes to par very quickly. An average user only uses minimal features in Word, Excel and Powerpoint anyway, and the counterparts in Open Office can clearly fulfill the ordinary users needs. In the case of Helse Nord, they can obviously save a bunch of money by having most users on Open Office, while only the most techno-savvy users continue to use Office. This is even more clear as Microsoft entered the open source XML world by introducing their document formats as  standards. This forces Microsoft to open up their previously propriotory document formats to the world, and after a while - who will use locked document formats when you can just as easy use open formats? So, perhaps Microsoft got their XML standards approved by slight tricking, but they may not realize that they at the same time hammers down another nail in the Office-coffin.

Seeing the Office-coffin in the horizon must make Microsoft think real hard on the remaining OS-part - at which they haven't decided completely yet My guess is that we don't have to wait until 2010 to see Windows 7. They have to surface it sooner than that!

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