back to article Calling all PSYCHICS and ball-gazers: Can YOU predict a Microsoft strategy?

What skills do you need to plan a Microsoft-based IT strategy these days? Palmistry, clairvoyance and Extra Sensory Perception must now be as valuable as any technical skill you've acquired over the years. Today, trying to second-guess the capabilities of Windows or Office, even six months out, is almost impossible. Mary Jo …

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This is kind of academic

Office for Windows Mobile/Phone has always been feature-stripped - that's kind of to be expected, the advanced maths functions would level a phone processor - and I don't know of a single business considering buying into Windows RT.

I don't blame Microsoft for moving slowly, either. Apple just tried to rearchitect iWork into one unified codebase for iOS and OS X and it's not going great (basically they released it with loads of features missing - though to be fair the OS X update left you the previous versions in case you need them) and Office is way more complicated than that.

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Re: This is kind of academic

"the advanced maths functions would level a phone processor"

That phone and its feeble processor is significantly more powerful than the desktop PC of twenty years ago and Office had all those "advanced maths functions" back then.

The reason Office/RT ought to be feature stripped is because the Office team are fully aware that only an idiot would try to make a hand-held device share the same UI as a desktop device.

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Well I Never

I thought forking was supposed to be a problem for open source software projects.

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Touchyfeely

They're touch-firsting Office, if that's a word.

I don't know if you've seen OneNote MX but it's a rather clever way to produce most of the functionality of Office on a touchscreen.

The issue, as ever, is probably macros. And I think they've got a possible solution for that, currently prototyped in the form of that web-based WP8 app writer. Making it backward compatible against VBA will be quite a trick but doable.

Other than that, there's the integration of RT, WP and XBox (which should arguably have been done when they first headed for metro) and churning out RT productivity apps.

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Re: Touchyfeely

Office on RT is probably the most complex 'Goodbye, World' macro in software history.

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I am a ball gazer.....

...but all I see is hairs.

(and all I hear is 'no pants again' related complaints from my office colleagues)

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Mushroom

All I know is that if Office 2014 carries on down the same road as Office 2013 then it's going to be pretty much unusable. I never thought I'd miss Office 2007.

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Mobile Office

Ignoring Android and iOS seems a little short sighted - I do wish they hadn't appealed against their anti-trust judgement all those years ago and Office and Windows were now separate companies.

People have been working on mobile versions of office tools since Symbian days and no one has really cracked it, but there are plenty of developers out there with fresh ideas. The clock is ticking.

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Apple iWork shift may have been clumsy, but it's the right direction...

Where Microsoft have - ironically - inflicted FUD on themselves, Apple have made it very clear: there's just one version of iWork now. It may have slightly more controls on the desktop version, but anything written on any device will work on any other device, in the same way.

From this base they can add features where they make sense, but seeing as the iPad has done pretty well for years without Office they really don't need to add too many bells and whistles.

What Microsoft, I think, has never appreciated is that most people don't actually LIKE Office. They just had to have it, because everyone else had it. Now they don't.

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Bill is off spending all the money he overcharged us for during the 1990's; so of course it gone to shit at MS. They are trying to be all thing to all devices.

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Return on Micro$oft.

During the 90s through early 2000's, Microsoft became infamous for their very aggressive approach to business and the use of all manner of agreements and technical tricks of dubious legality to hurt any perceived competitors. This was when they were commonly nicknamed 'Micro$oft,' and built a sizeable portion of the company based upon a combination of bundling software with windows and deliberate incompatibilities.

Then they relented a bit and - to some extent - begun to embrace open standards and interoperability.

Right now, that decision is coming back to bite them - and if they are sensible, they may well return to the tricks of the bad old days. The tricks that made them strong, an unassailable force of a company. They still hold dominant position on office suites and desktop OS, and will do what it takes to protect that dominance.

So my prediction for the coming years: More underhanded trickery, behind-the-scenes dealing, proprietary technologies, refusal to support properly any standard they don't own in some way and lots of technologies claimed to be for 'security' that just happen to consider anything non-Microsoft a danger, like Secure Boot. Classic Microsoft - a return to the tactics of the past.

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Linux

Avoid the long, cold swim ...

After centuries of stability, the predictably stable ice sheets of the Arctic regions have become fractured, fragmented, and increasingly unreliable. Polar bears are becoming an endangered species as their hunting and feeding platform disappears. Confronted with perilously long swims, the bears weaken and drown.

Perhaps it's time for the bears ... and others who wait in vain for a return to normalcy ... to change platforms?

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Re: Avoid the long, cold swim ...

Bears and penguins never coexist.

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I can predict a new microsoft strategy. Dead simple.

The next version of office is going to introduce another file format change, because the file format compatibility pack allows businesses still using office 2k or 2003 to use the later file formats and open source software can open the existing format. Support for the existing compatibility pack ends in April 2014 IIRC, though I am sure that Microsoft will distribute a new compatibility pack for 2010 and 2013, forcing huge swatches of businesses to migrate away from 2k, 2003 or 2007.

The new format will inhibit the ability of businesses to move to libre office, since it won't support the new format for the first year or so either.

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The idea is certainly in keeping with past efforts from MS, but actually I don't think it would work.

Using Linux instead of Windows is a non-starter for the vast majority of people because it only takes a few compatibility issues before the cost of migration (even if it is mainly re-training, which in most cases is probably being over-optimistic) exceeds the savings.

Using LibreOffice instead of Office 2003 is probably viable.

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Meh

Are you sure about leaving Office costs ?

@Ken. The learning curve (spittle flow more accurately) for migrating from older Office to the newer versions is so high Open Office forks are much easier migrations. I have yet to find any one who is comfortable with new versions of Microsoft products. All are hated because nothing works as expected or familiar functions are no longer locatable. Those few, those very few new employees who have never used the old versions to compare are so rare I have never met one. As for the OS side, agree with article. The small businesses around here have staff fuming as functionality is subtracted from applications. Microsoft have made using anything else worth the pain of migration. What has happened to Microsoft product based UI usability assessors and testers these last 5 years ? For that matter, this covers all OS. Make "The Psychology of Everyday Things" mandatory reading again !!

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Using LibreOffice instead of Office 2003 is probably viable

Two problems with that: compatibility with existing documents (LO makes a terrible job at reading MS Office documents, 2003 or 2007), and having to rewrite every excel macros existing in the organization.

I have to try A 'VB to Python' converter, see if they are efficient, it could help to solve the second point.

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I have a huge number of old computers courtesy of the recession, of which virtually all need replacing. The cost of office is ~60% of a new computer cost, so believe me if it were remotely possible i'd have done it already.

The problem is that for my environment I have a CMS that all users use. It requires office, and the cost to the business of replacing the CMS would cost several dozen times more than the copies of office.

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Flame

Adding insult to injury

The behavior of MS towards its clients is close to harassment. We bought Office licenses and CALs, after that and for weeks I had calls and mails from MS asking me to declare every stuff we have in IT, including Linux or Mac workstations! If I wanted to comply, it would have taken me days to complete their requests. As if I had so much time to lose to fulfill their NSA-like inquiries, when we are clean regarding licenses...

I never saw a provider putting such a pressure on its customers. The consequence is now I'm seriously thinking about the ways to get rid of MS when possible. Well done MS, not respecting your customers is such a brilliant move, if you want to go out the business.

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Dumbing down the dumb ones

Easy.

Big objects.

Small words.

Short word groups - sentences are so 20th cent.

don't think-touch.

Get a 2nd career going...

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