Since using a PC for the first time at school (windows 3.1 no less), the Microsoft Office suite has always just been ‘there’, ready to use and only a short cut away. In all my subsequent new laptops and PC builds l have always installed it without thinking, as a housekeeping matter, right after the OS booted up for the first time. But here in 2015 it’s time for it to go once and for all, and here are my 5 reasons why.
1. There are lots of alternatives
Off the top of my head LibreOffice, Open Office, Free Office, Google docs and I’ve not even listed the Apple options because I don’t own a fruit based computer. I’m sure there are even more programs to try, but bottom line, there is more choice now than there has even been.
2. It costs money
Every option I listed above is available free of charge to anyone who wants it, individuals, companies, charities it doesn’t matter. Microsoft wants £50 a year though, which brings me to my next point..
3. It’s subscription based now
Someone over at Redmond has jumped on the subscription bandwagon hard. Just because it works really well for Adobe, doesn’t mean that everyone wants a could based, interactive, compuglobal solution (OK I made that last adjective up). The truth of the matter is that MS office programs are used for very very boring work, and that’s not a bad thing, boring work needs completing, boring work is important work. But to complete boring work people need simple, easy to use, frustration free tools. I just want to launch a program and write a report, or make a graph, or make one last change to my tedious 81 slide presentation. I do not want to log-in, synchronise with my colleagues work, download the latest ultra-graphical templates, I just want the thing to work, which brings me to..
4. The account security is more locked down than my bank
Despite the above points, my parents need MS Office on their computer, not for them you understand but for my sanity. I don’t think I posses the skill at patience to introduce them to the alternatives and then deal with the thousands of follow up questions. I bought them a MS Office subscription so that they could use it on all of their devices. Setting it up was a bloody nightmare, and generally I have lots of patience with tech. First, every user needed a MS account, which needed to be registered with a telephone number (no option to not give MS your phone number for all those lovely marketing calls) which took several attempts to get right. This telephone activation then needed repeating for every single new device, it took hours, it was exhausting, and it still wasn’t working on one laptop by the time I’d finished. The only constructive thing I can say about the whole ordeal is, if you value your sanity, don’t buy Microsoft Office.
5. It’s not the de facto standard it once was
It used to be that you really “had” to install MS Office because lots of people use it. The norm was receiving word documents as email attachments which needed reviewing/editing, and if you didn’t have word installed then you were pretty screwed. Now though all of the MS Office alternatives can open and edit office files, Google apps will even do this in a browser for you without the need to install anything, you really don’t “need” the office suite any more.