Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 16th Jan 2009 08:45 UTC, submitted by stonyandcher
Features, Office Yesterday we ran a story on how educational institutions defaulting to Microsoft Office may stifle some people who do not own a copy of Office or Windows. A Forrester Research report now states the bloody obvious by claiming that organisations stick with Microsoft Word not out of necessity, but out of habit.
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RE[3]: Sorry I disagree - different issue
by jabbotts on Fri 16th Jan 2009 13:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sorry I disagree"
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

The initial reason presented was the concern of loosing business because your application for a contract can not be opened and read. A PDF export of your bid solves that problem. Why would the potential customer need to edit the bid document you presented them with?

Now, your talking about sharing unfinished documents among multiple workers. While MS has put a lot of money into gimics like Sharepoint (maybe your company is using it fully, I'd be the first I've heard of though), it still comes down to asking if the XLS is shared so more than one user can work in it (with inherent limitations) or saying "open with read/write when user finished" when told that an unshared document is currently in use.

Really, for multiple users unless you happen to be using the 10% of Office that no one touches, any editors that can work with a common format are fine. Heck, if your working with a partner organization, save the file to office2003 doc format rather than that docx crap and let the other company do what they need to.

I think the "need" for businesses to use MS Office is far more perception than anything else. It's like the "Need" to use Photoshop when your only removing red eye or cropping/resizing images. Sure, some people need the advanced features in Office and some people need the advanced features in Photoshop but it really is a minority of people when you look at the actual intended use.

Where business have a very real "need" to use Office is with legacy lockin. If you have ten years of Access and XLS based custom coding then your screwed. Nothing does VB script like MS. All your comapany forms are XLS with nifty auto-submit functions and such, well, your probably not going to justify the expense of that changeover. That is still within a single organization though, it's not imposed justification based on "a third party uses it so we have to also".

Now, I am an Excel geek. Bending databases to my will through Excel used to be how I made my money so I've been into those dark places that 75% of users won't ever realize exist. Dump database to XLS then analyze and graph, then summarize with graphs in a presentation; yeah, I have no problem admitting that Office does some things really nicely. It's not the only game in town anymore; it had that window between WordPerfect's death and OOo's continuing maturity.

Reply Parent Score: 4

_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

No doubt, I could use open office for this but there are inconsistencies that become annoying very fast. Example:

When Highlighting text in ms office is fine, the reverse isn't, as you cannot remove the highlighting (change colour by painting over,but not remove).

It is true that if providing to (non-editing) third parties, then PDF makes sense. But internally, is a bit of a hassle for me.

I'm quite "content" (i.e. it only just works for me) though to write up my stuff in a text file and handle the formatting later in the copy of word installed in a virtual machine with xp. The end result is never as pretty as a latex formatted doc. Nobody else seems to mind, just me 'cos I'm silly and take pride in my work.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I get a lot of use out of wordpad myself. notepad is great for a quick text file but wordpad gives me search/replace; I've met few other windows users who think to copy text to wordpad or Word for a quick search/replace. My particular use is replacing " " with "%20" in URLs before I paste them into documents. I prefer raw urls and text email rather than html email.

You can pretty much do an entire document in .txt (most of us did that for years before and after .wpd and .doc). It also means your documents are fully transferable to any working environment until you drop them into Word for the final formatting.

Reply Parent Score: 2

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

The initial reason presented was the concern of loosing business because your application for a contract can not be opened and read. A PDF export of your bid solves that problem. Why would the potential customer need to edit the bid document you presented them with?


Obviously you've never worked on a bid proposal. Most state what formats are allowed, typically just Word. And you won't even be considered if your proposal is not within the given guidelines.

This matters greatly for small and medium sized companies since they are very concerned about winning the few proposals they draft as they don't have the resources to go after more than that. Those few are typically to the big companies or other institutions handing out money or projects. So they don't have much choice.

Big companies typically deal with the really big institutions and government. So it's the government in the driving seat.

So, if you really want to change it - get the government to stop requiring their proposals be in Word format. (Yes, I've worked on one!) Talk to the GAO. THEN you can start getting the big institutions that rely on the government (whether defense contractors or not) to use something else and eventually trickle it down to everyone else in the dependency chain.

This is why Microsoft is keen to ensure that the government uses their products, an really doesn't like having to compete on an even ground - and why they have fought tooth and nail over ODF and OOXML the way they have.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

You mean like an rfi/rfq/rfp process? I may or may not have worked on a bid preposal.

Do they specify Word 2007 .docx format or just Word.. say.. the almost universal 2003 file format? Also, why would they want it in a Word document in the first place. How about using the converters that save X format as Word2007 files?

Convincing my government to require open file formats probably wouldn't help you much unless your up here with us other northerners.

Requirements of the bid are a real fact of business though. The only bit I'm stuck on is the idea that bids are required in .docx format when the objective is only to be able to open or scan them in through a Word sesson on the receptionists workstation.

Reply Parent Score: 2