Microsoft Office 2010 is to go into Technical Preview this July which is when we’ll learn what’s going to be in the next generation of Office. I’m not sure we really need more stuff in Office, frankly we probably need a lot less. If you read my blog regularly you know that while I use Microsoft Office, it’s also #1 on my software “bloatware” list. (iTunes is #2, with runner up Internet Exploder.) Most of the time, Office just can’t seem to get out of its own way (and especially the user’s way) to get seemingly simple and normal tasks done.
While not ripe with flashy new features, here’s my list of Top 5 Things Needed (and that need fixing) In Office 2010.1. Stop NOT RESPONDING. (Is that a double negative?) Whether it’s sorting the inbox, opening up the calendar, or viewing a seemingly innocuous email, Outlook likes to go out to lunch, lock up the window, turn the window background white and hang up anywhere from 5-6 seconds to several minutes. Outlook also loves to do this when first starting up. Is Outlook taking a smoke break or what? I assume Windows is smacking Office around in some operating system backroom, telling Office to get back to work. How annoying. Many days it’s hard to classify Office as office productivity software.2. Introducing… multi-processors and multi-threading. Office has been around a long, long time, and it seems feature-itis has outstripped performance and optimization. Office acts very single threaded which is probably why we see so many NOT RESPONDING messages and loading up folder views takes so long. If Office 2010 hasn’t been blueprinted for performance then we’ll get more of the same. Given the Office team is reporting you won’t have to upgrade hardware to use Office 2010, there’s hope they’ve focused on performance and not just layered on more features.3. What we have here is a failure to collaborate. At PDC 2008 we were treated to a very cool demo of two users sharing, changing and updating one Excel document they were working on together from two different sides of the stage. Clearly some kind of mesh or Live Framework going on in the background. That’s huge and is something I would use nearly every day. Let’s hope that 2008 teaser will be part of Office 2010. 4. Come on, join the cloud. We don’t hear nearly as much about Google Apps in the news as we used to but that doesn’t mean Microsoft can back off of web delivered apps. It’s a great answer for low cost solutions, netbooks, and users who don’t want or need to pay the full boat to get Office. Microsoft could lead the way by moving Office into the cloud.5. Please close the door (file) when you leave. Why when you shutdown the computer does Office not close its email files properly? Did they miss the notice that a shutdown was happening? And given how much faster Windows 7 shuts down, this could be an even more frequent occurrence. Maybe the Office and Windows OS teams just don’t talk much, I don’t know, but could you all please get your software working together so my email data isn’t in jeopardy of joining the bit bucket just because I asked my computer to shutdown?
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