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back to article Bloated Office 2010 kicks dirt in face of old computers

Microsoft has confirmed that the upgrade path from Office 2003 to its upcoming Office 2010 suite won’t necessarily be an easy one for customers to follow. The software maker said on Friday that PCs capable of running Office 2007 would be able play nice with Office 2010. However, punters still using Office 2003 won’t have quite …

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Jobs Horns

Does

microoft own shares in RAM chips makers or hard drive makers ?

How about the m$ engineers making 2010 so it runs faster than 2007 or 2003 instead of going 'ohh we've only loaded the 4ghz quad core CPU to 50%... chuck some more useless eye candy and background tasks in"

PS the first person to mention open office gets what he/she rightly deserves

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Gates Horns

It does not need to

It does not need to. Look at the definition of symbiosis on Wikipedia.

By adding visual candy and raising the hardware requirements regularly they give the punter a perception that their machine is slow. For about 98% of the users this means buying a more powerful machine which includes a _NEW_ license to the same Microsoft products he has been using with the old one (possibly slightly newer versions for some of them, but overall same products none the less).

So Microsoft is happy as a result, vendors are happy as a result. And the remaining 2% of users are also happy as a result as well while typing this on a circa 2003 1.4MHz P3 (in a new quiet case with a proper video card) running Linux. Everyone except the main 98% of consumers will be happy laughing all the way to the bank.

This is something the DOJ noticed with the first anti-trust lawsuit against MSFT. However it failed to address it correctly at the time and that failure has been fundamental to Microsoft becoming unmovable in its dominant position in the IT ecosystem. It suits everyone.

It will also stop the moment licenses become transferrable via an approved scrappage scheme and Microsoft starts getting money only for goods it has really delivered on each real upgrade cycle. Similarly in this case Microsoft monopoly will naturally disappear unless they really innovate.

However neither the DOJ, nor the EU have the guts to do that.

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Gates Horns

There, I said it

Open Office has smaller requirements and is free. You mentioned it first.

I supposed with Windows 7 not bumping up the minimum specs too much from Vista, they needed a way of forcing people to buy new hardware - Office is it.

How can they can keep shipping bloated software like this - an extra 1.5Gb in a single release, ffs - when the likes of OpenOffice (there, I said it again) with it's 120Mb download, or even iWork (I bet that'll really make you spit, judging by the Jobs icon) can provide a great office system with a vastly smaller footprint? Ballmer must have shares in hard disk and RAM manufacturers as well can pie companies.

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Troll

@A/C

Ok lets clear a few things up.

1. it is not law that you have to upgrade, no one forces you to do it. I'm still running XP and office 2003. i have no intention of upgrading and they are running happily on pc's not much newer than yours (but I haven't had to by a new case or graphcs card so I guess mine is older)

2. Licenses can be transferable (so get your facts right). However it depends if it is a retail copy or a OEM. OEM's are not, but that because they are discounted for sale only with that bit of hardware.

3. How do you quantify what has been added to a product? Do you allow for hardware, features, or addons?

Finally, as you have pointed out, it is, as far as I can see, not a legal requirement for you to actually buy MS software. So if you don't want to use it, then don't. It's really that simple, no it is.

So stop being a troll and go enjoy yourself.

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Silver badge

Correction

For the record, your statement that "no one forces you to do it" is somewhat wide of the mark. The people this affects - mainly corporates - are forced to upgrade as office 2003 has only security fixes from pretty much now until some time in 2013/14.

Bugs and general support are yours for vastly increased fees "unless you'd like to upgrade to office 2007 or even 2010 whereby support calls will be included in your license scheme sir".

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and there's more

"Finally, as you have pointed out, it is, as far as I can see, not a legal requirement for you to actually buy MS software. So if you don't want to use it, then don't. It's really that simple, no it is."

Try taking that approach if you're in business. Word 2007 documents not come out properly in open office etc? Open office documents look like sh*t in Word? You'd be considered a joke if you weren't using office. Sad, but true.

The point is the comments and whinges are based around those that get shafted by this every time and that's business. Mom and pop couldn't give a rat's arse about office.

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Crazy?

"Try taking that approach if you're in business. Word 2007 documents not come out properly in open office etc? Open office documents look like sh*t in Word? You'd be considered a joke if you weren't using office. Sad, but true."

Circulating documents in Word is madness if they're anything other than simple text. And probably if they are. Just had a mag editor who insists on sending docs out in Word for review complain to me that his particular version of Word can't read by comments except by devious means and certainly can't display them on screen. And MS certainly haven't got the numbering and bullet point system in Word sorted out. It's not the tool for collaborative work at all. Whether it's the best tool for anything is a moot point. I certainly don't use it to originate documents myself and avoid editing Word documents completely. I'm afraid Open Office doesn't suit my way of working either. I'm a WordPerfect guy. Not a WordPerfect fanatic, but a WordPerfect guy because it has the features I need, does the job I need it to in a straightforward way and doesn't get tied up in knots when a document is extensively edited.What's more, the ability to read in any pdf file into an editable document at the mere click of a button is a genuinely useful trick.

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Anonymous Coward

then

I'll just mention Office 2000 then.

Perfectly happy with it for the forseeabel future.

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Stop

Office 2003 miles better than 2007

I have used both Office 2003 and 2007. Frankly, Office 2007 is just very confusing and I spend ages searching for features. Even the search and replace was so much easier in Office 2003. I spent 5 minutes in 2007 searching for it.

That is why I am going to stick with 2003.

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Joke

This could start a recursion

If you have difficulties searching for the search function, why not introduce a search function for search functions? Once they become difficult to find, add another layer of search: searching for search functions to find search functions.

<stop this sketch, it's getting silly>

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Boffin

5 mins....

... to press Ctrl+F?

Surely it can't be that hard to find the Ctrl and the F keys. ;)

And even if you didn't know the keyboard shortcut, Find and Replace are on the right of the Home tab of the Ribbon, the first one displayed when you start Word. Shouldn't take 5 minutes to find it.

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FAIL

Search

errm - CTL-F hasn't moved

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Bloated to astonishing levels

It's truly astounding how Microsoft Office keeps getting more and more bloated, to extraordinary levels, making everyone purchase more powerful PCs just to run the thing.

Remember, this is only a word processor / office app. It's not calculating weather simulations or 3D renderings. It's only doing simple office tasks. Yet still it keeps getting bigger, for nothing!

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FAIL

Heh...

These articles always remind me of the "bloatware all the way" song that was doing the rounds in the 90s:

http://humour.davintech.ca/microsoft-bloatware.phtml

The hypothetical MS Word 15 requires unimaginably vast system resources for comic effect - in this case, they've gone for a whopping 60 MB of RAM and an incredible 900 MB of disk space. It's funny now because even given these ridiculous comic exaggerations, Office 14 is still managing to exceed all expectations in terms of system requirements.

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N2

Hello,

it looks like you're performing an upgrade...

Would you like me to:

1 Make a mess of it

2 Re-format your hard disk

3 Stick with the previous version,

4. No thanks, Ive been fucked over before

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WTF?

Huh?

If your using a PC from 2003 in a business environment then you should be upgrading your hardware anyway...!

Wish my hardware supplier gave me a 7 year support deal...

No news hear other than "Office 2010 has same system requirements as Office 2007 - Shocker!"

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Erm... why?

As someone who works in a firm still using Office 2003 I have to ask: How will it save money for IT to upgrade the PC and Laptop estate? How, as a CIO, would you convince an already recession-hit firm to spend a few million on new kit?

Oh, and since Office 2007 was the version after Office 2003 -- the PCs only have to be about 5 years old. Oddly enough, you can still get hard drives, RAM and peripherals which work with such ancient kit and it tends to be cheaper than a new PC.

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Megaphone

It does im afraid...

It saves you money because all your *clients* use later versions of office. And regardless of open office, filters, conversion programs you will always find a super mangled 2010 word table that will not play ball. Then you need to get them to send a pdf, get it over to the one machine licenced with arobat, export to 2003 and hope the fonts and formatting is still intact.

I have office as much as the next man but I need to deal with clients that use it unfortunately.

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N2

Chances are

If youve been supporting a business thats been around for a few years, chances are the business model along with its supporting software requirements may not have changed that much.

And windows XP with office 2000/3 running Word, Excel, Access etc apps, along with the odd death by powerpoint for sales reps that dont hit target does a reasonable job without having to re-invent that circular thing all over again.

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It does?

First up, the converters aren't as bad as you make out. Secondly, you usually only have to read the document, not modify it and send it back, which is a much easier problem. Non-typically, if you have to make changes, then your clients can tick the "Use 2003 formats" box when they save the file. Not only does nearly everything work, some things (like OLE support) actually don't work in the new formats so perhaps they ought to be using the old formats anyway. If they have you so far over a barrel that you can't even persuade them to do that, then you've got more problems than Office.

If your requirements haven't changed, your solution shouldn't change either. As noted in the article, the only real change in Office 2007 for most people was the ribbon, which is as good as reason as was ever invented not to upgrade.

Next you'll be telling me that the only way to secure your important historical documents is to open them all and re-save in the latest format each time Microsoft decide to create a new international standard.

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Stop

Clients on Office 2007?

Clients on Office 2007? Not that I've noticed... and if you do decide to export to PDF, just download one of the many free PDF virtual printers and get on with it, no need to dick around with 'one machine licensed with acrobat'.

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old computers die

You can only upgrade so much. The older a computer gets, the less reliable it becomes. Hard disks can die suddenly, power supplies can blow, motherboard capacitors can bloat up, etc. All that leads to downtime. If that happens in the middle of a crucial project, the business will lose money.

There's a good reason why some things are done pre-emptively. Why don't most people drive the same car for 20 years? Because once it gets over a certain age, things start breaking down. It eventually reaches a point of diminishing returns - the cost of downtime and the hassle of fixing old PCs negates the cost of a new PC. Having worked in an IT company that provides support for business customers, I have seen many occasions when the cost of our services to get an old PC working again, or working fast, approaches or exceeds the cost of a new PC.

5 years old in computer terms is ancient. Office 2007 was released in November 2006. A computer that's unable to run Office 2007 would be WAY overdue for a replacement anyway.

Shame on the reg for the biased, sensationalist title.

I've deployed OO to clients before and none of them liked it. Literally none of them. Why? Mainly because the interface was unfamiliar - the same reason why so many people bitch about Office 2007. Humans don't like change. If you started using word processors for the first time in your life, I bet the Office 2007 interface would be easier to use compared to 2003, as it's more intuitive for the most common tasks.

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Bronze badge

Hard disks fail suddenly?

Yep, but in 10 years they'll be as obsolete as a Morris-minor Traveller. (Using my 10-megabyte unreadable RL01 on RT/11. Where's DEC when I want my data back?)

Two kinds of people in the world:

1) Those who haven't lost data.

2) Those who haven't lost data. YET.

Go for the quill pen, ink and parchment. It's proven the test of time. It'll see all of us out, luddites like me included. Dead Sea Scrolls, anyone?

jeez, you could stand on a DEC RL01, and it wouldn't lose its data. 'Course, it only held 10 megabytes, but being about 12" diameter, you could probably read the data with a magnetised knitting needle.

Try popping that into a floppy drive (similarly obsolete) and get your docs. back..

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Clients on pdf

"f you do decide to export to PDF, just download one of the many free PDF virtual printers and get on with it, no need to dick around with 'one machine licensed with acrobat'."

I think the point that was being made in the post you were addressing was that the clients might SEND a PDF file which would then need to be read.

The inability of Word to read in pdf files directly is a real failing -- WordPerfect has been able for some time to read in pdf files. The current version will automatically apply OCR where the text has been printed as a graphic or the file is locked.

Writing to pdf is indeed simple, as you indicate. For myself I think the pittance that is asked for pdfFactory PRO is well worth it -- although I have the full Acrobat program and of course WordPerfect publishes to PDF.

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Coat

To be expected, really.

The peecee industry wants a boost.

Me, I'm still writing my letters in troff, requiring a small fraction of the resources and making the end result look better to boot. But then I admitted to myself that I don't actually use all those handy dandy resource hogging features and know enough about typography to come up with the occasional decent design. For everything else there's antiword and if needs must, openoffice.

Mine's the one with the galley proof in the pocket, thanks.

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WTF?

Pointless

Every version since Office 2000 has been a pointless, expensive, resource - hogging disaster. There is nothing in the new version that makes it even a desirable upgrade, certainly not a 'must have'

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Late adopter?

Exactly. I don't consider myself a luddite but I happily continue tuse Office 2000 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and I think I hardly use any of the extra features it added over the previous version ('97? '98?).

Just a pity they never upgrade bonus applications like MS Photo Editor.

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Re: Pointless

I would almost agree with your sentiment, I personally felt the need to stop at Office 2003 for my own personal and business computers.

As a developer though there is one feature that Office 2007 introduced and Office 2010 extends - that is notably the support for Office development within Visual Studio. VBA is still supported for backwards compatibility.

Shame they didn't make this improvement for Access though, would be great when working with clients who have legacy Access solutions but who aren't willing to invest in a complete rewrite of those solutions. Mind you, I don't mind if this is an attempt to kill off a legacy database solution, anyone who is comfortable using Access should have no problem enhancing their skill base and moving on to a decent SQL-compatible database platform.

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Pointless -- but maybe a good thing in another sense

Another pointless new version -- and perhaps a little more resistance to automatic upgrading. The worm will turn eventually, as even MS almost discovered with Vista.

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Coat

So how about something informative in the article...

...like what the minimum specs are?

If we were interested enough to look up the specs on the M$ website, we wouldn't be reading the article, would we?

Mine's the one with the... oh, hang it, I can't be bothered.

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Stop

Misleading

I think some of you (including the author) have fallen for the usual "bloated" speil that people always seem to when confronted with the latest software. If you actually read what Microsoft have said, they have said that the system requirements haven't changed from 2007 EXCEPT the disc space requirements. So seeing as 2007 has been around since... 2007, none of you should be surprised at the requirements. The disc space requirements is trivial and of course will fluctuate depending on what exactly you install. Suffice to say, if you are having trouble fitting Office onto your stuffed HDD, then you already have problems nothing to do with Office 2010 taking up a few MB more than 2007.

In short, for most people, this won't make the blindest bit of difference, even if you are already currently working with the 2003 version of Office.

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FAIL

thanks for the memory

The bloat has nothing to do with the disk space, which as you say, is trivially cheap. The problem is that a 3 page business letter in Word2k7 needs a staggering 40Mb of RAM. As soon as you have a few of those, Outlook running in background and maybe a couple of Excel spreadsheets open (ie, what most people have running 98% of the day) , your "minimum hardware requirements" PC is running like a total dog.

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Stop

Re: thanks for the memory

Yes Linbox, however, if you were running that much, chances are you wouldn't be running a "minimum spec" PC/Mac anyway. 40MB per winword.exe process is hardly a big deal with PCs regularly coming with 1GB or more. Not only that, with memory being relatively cheap these days, it's trivial to upgrade your PC/Mac to cope, after all, that's one of the reasons why PCs/Macs are so versatile (because you can upgrade certain parts to extend the life without having to go and buy a whole new one).

So again, this bit of "news" is not news at all, especially as once again the specs are the same as Office 2007 so have effectlvely been out there for all of use to see for the last 3 years.

In short, if you can run 2007 fine, you can run 2010 fine. If you can run 2003 fine, then check your system specs - in most cases it'll run 2010 fine too, although if not, simply upgrade with more memory.

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Thumb Up

Upgrade to Open office

Still totally free, broadly compatible. I love it and there's nothing I need Microsoft Office to do that I can't do just as well on OO

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Pirate

Ow my axels

OO.Org is the definition of Bloat, I still use it though because I'm cheap.

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Not compatible

Being honest here, OpenOffice is total cack.

It is great for writing a letter to your granny, or perhaps for organising your stamp collection. But when it comes to exchanging data with MS Office people (who are, let's face it, in the majority), OpenOffice falls down really badly. Even when I was working at Sun Microsytems, we all used StarOffice - and it was always crashing.

OO/SO even struggles with very simple things (like importing CSV files into a spreadsheet - that was one of the first tasks I gave OO when I installed it, and when it failed spectacularly, I simply put the data on a USB stick and imported it into MS Excel on my laptop. Worked first time, unlike many operations in OO/SO.

OpenOffice is a toy, and nothing more. Anyone seriously advocating its use for anything more than the most trivial of tasks clearly doesn't value their own time. At best, you will end up having to re-format your documents every time you port them, and at worst, you might end up spending losing hours of work to crashes.

Personally, I prefer to bill for my time - not waste it dealing with inadequate office software. When you consider that I could buy 2-3 copies of MS Office for what I charge customers for my daily rate, spending anything more than 3-4 hours trying to sort out a problem with OpenOffice is a waste of time. MS Office is successful because it pays for itself, often in less than one day.

OpenOffice is free, but only if your own time is worthless.

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Maybe so

OOo.org may be bloated but it doesn't take up 1.5Gb of disc space. If OOo.org is bloated, then Microsoft Office is just plan obese.

Just checking my machine and here is what I find:

Microsoft Office XP Pro - 477Mb

Open Office.org 3.1 - 354Mb

So, a newer version of OpenOffice.org takes up less disc space than an 8-year old version of Microsoft office. Please stop with the OOo.org is bloated crap.

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Truly bizarre piece of FUD

You are either being honest but haven't used Oo.o in a few years and even then gave up after hitting what was probably a readily fixable problem, or you're a wind-up merchant.

Like a huge number of people, I don't have MS Office and use Oo.o exclusively, and the *only* time I run into problems is when I get the odd document from Word which comes across badly. Importing CSV files into a spreadsheet happens to be something I have done on a regular basis in Oo.o for years, and I have *never* had a problem with it. Nor have I ever had a problem with any other general use of the suite.

I'm not sure why you should think you would constantly have to "port" your documents, but I think this is why you have ended up with such a distorted view of Oo.o. You're using it stupidly. It isn't a system to fit into a MS office ecosystem - it is a system to replace MS Office with.

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Stop

How recent is your experience?

I'm not knocking what you're saying, because OO is a bit slow at times (and sometimes hangs with large documents) but I've done all of the things you mention* and never had any problems. I've successfully opened recent MS Office documents that Office 2003 barfed on, and I've done plenty of importing and exporting to CSV.

So, when did you last use OO? In my experience it's a lot better than what you've experienced.

* well, except for the stamp collection

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Who gives a crap if OO uses less disk space?

It's still lacking in functionality, buggy and not terribly integrated into whichever OS you use.

I did use it to write a few pages for business a while back and it coped with that. However, over the summer I used it for the /highly/ technical task of printing single page A4 sheets using large fonts.

It crashed. Repeatedly. When a product is asked to perform a very simple task at the one time I need it doing in a comparative hurry and it fails, it's not worth using.

It's impressive that it exists at all, but until they've got at least the next release out and fixed a load of bugs.. It should be more solid than this at v3.

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WTF?

When did you last use Open Office?

I will start by agreeing that complex business documents/spreadsheets from Word/Excel frequently end up mangled in OO. However the other 90% of files work very well indeed. And 90% of business users would still do just fine with Office '97, let alone 2003.

I used OO for Mac for about a year and found it to be great except for the occasional printing problem - before I decided to move on to iWorks which again is not 100% perfect on Office conversion but is more reliable than OO - particularly on the printing front.

The fact that MS has modified their licence terms over the years so that a home user can get Word and Excel for < £100 is proof enough that Open Office is a lot more than empty rhetoric. If it didn't work we'd all still be paying > £300 for any copy of office.

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I'll bite

Word / Outline View?

Annoyingly OO afaik still does not have one that works as well (as much as I hate to say this) as M$

In anycase both are extremely good examples of bloatware.

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Bronze badge

Aha.

Another Beta tester.

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When I was doing training for Nokia..

I told my colleagues to have a copy of openoffice.org on their machines. I was glad I had

Went to deliver a training course, and halfway through MS Powerpoint barfed for some reason. Wouldn't go to the next slide. Panic attack.

Gave students a coffee break, opened it in OoO, and - all that was missing was a trivial picture (had a red "X" over it) . Rest of the presentation went fine.

When you're at a customers' premises, far away from home - Israelis get a bit shirty with failure - it's the last thing you want. (Yep, I had a backup with me)

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No, you just don't get it.

First of all, OpenOffice will never REPLACE Microsoft Office - so get that defective idea out of your head, first. In case you hadn't noticed, most clients (in all industries, mind - not just IT) use Microsoft Office, and if you are in the habit of exchanging data with clients, as most are, MS Office - and only MS Office - will do. Nobody is going to rip up a system that they have paid for, which works, and seamlessly exchanges data with their clients - in exchange for OpenOffice. Well, nobody who actually cares about ringing up a profit, anyway.

Last time I used OpenOffice? I tried the new 3.1 release in November 2009, saw it was still as buggy as hell (try this hint: If I find an obvious bug within 2 minutes of installing office software, I consider it to be unfit for further consumption.) My reasoning is that if I can find bugs (and I'm not a formal software tester) within seconds of firing up a product, I assume that QA is not something that is taken seriously. Thus far, I still find OpenOffice wanting - so, thanks but no thanks - I'll review the situation in another 10 years. I won't be holding my breath, however. Until there is a sea change in the attitudes of OSS authors and its community, most people will remain firmly switched-off to projects like OpenOffice. I feel it is safe to say that it won't happen for a while.

Furthermore, you also miss the point entirely when you say "gave up after hitting what was probably a readily fixable problem". I do not expect problems in the first place! For all the grief I've seen the open source fanboys give Microsoft about using their users as beta testers (and I'll also admit it's bad), the boys at One Microsoft Way still manage to churn out products that I would rather PAY to use, rather than waste my (billable!) time buggering around with the "free" alternatives, trying to sort out their "readily fixable problems". Know something else? I'm not alone!

As I underlined before, OpenOffice is only free if your time is worthless. Even third-world countries realise that, and have been ditching open source software to go back to Microsoft. People like you are actually the real friends of Microsoft, because it is attitudes like yours that drive businesses away from open source software, in their droves. When the OSS community starts to realise that the end user DOES NOT WANT to get involved in fixing problems on their own machine, then you will have made the first step in beating MS. Until then, your arrogance does not actually impress anyone outside your clique - and even you have to know that your clique is vastly outnumbered by billions and billions of people who simply do not give a shit about how dumb you think they are, and care even less about getting your software to work.

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WTF?

Pointless Bloat

"...most standalone application disk-space requirements have gone up by 0.5 GB and the suites have increased by 1.0 or 1.5 GB"

I'm sorry? Half a GB for (say) a word processor?

At what point will MS look at these numbers and decide that they are actually utterly stupid?

I'd like to say something like "try Open Office" but unfortuanely this seems to be going the same way - very very large and (on my Mac) extremely slow to launch.

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I agree

Indeed. OO is built on a crumbling tower though.

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Happy

Smug mode

A few years ago, I bought the last three copies of Office 2003 Professional (OEM) at Overclockers - after which, Office 2007 was the only thing available. It cost me about 600 quid, but it was a very, very timely investment: This year, I bought new Fujitsu-Siemens H270 notebooks for my fiancee and myself - with a 2.8GHz Core2Duo and 4GB of RAM in each one, I immediately blew away the Vista pre-install and did a custom install of XP Pro, Office 2003 Pro, Adobe Master Collection CS4, Visual Studio Pro, Intel compiler suite, etc - and it runs like the proverbial excrement off a shovel. There is something really pleasing about the performance of older software on newer hardware...

When it comes to doing work for clients, I get the work done - while many of my contractor colleagues struggle with Office 2007 and rue the day they ever upgraded. That is, for me, what owning office productivity software is all about: Getting the job done. If it weren't for the need to have WYSIWYG, I'd still be using MS Notepad.

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N2

Likewise

For several clients,

one with Vista, just said get rid of this dung & give me back my Windows XP please

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Treat yourself

Put in an SSD if you haven't already, and then watch things REALLY fly :P

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