As discussed in the previous post, I recently found myself in the rather difficult position of having been ripped off by an Amazon reseller and – as a result – of being down one licensed copy of Microsoft Office.
Now, I’m not Microsoft’s biggest fan; I use their technology where I have to, but no more than that. However, I also respect copyright, so having been disenfranchised one copy of Office, I decided to purchase myself a shiny new copy of Office 2016 professional… How hard can it be? Here’s the short version: very hard. The installer fights you, the default security settings are completely obtrusive and dysfunctional – and most of what you want or need to do now comes hidden by several layers of menus.
So, somewhat disappointed, I wrote the following review for Microsoft’s own store-front web site:-
Good Basic Features Undone By False Limitations
I’ve been using Office since Version 3.0 (released in 1993). In the 25+ years it has been available, MS have continued to develop and add features to the core toolset, to the point where it has become an incredibly powerful resource. On the whole it does all that you need of an office suite, although since the 2007 release features have become steadily hidden, obfuscated behind “animations” and deep, non-intuitive menus. However, despite all that Microsoft have added, it is the things they take away that define this release… For example, you have *no choice* about where to install it. C: and that’s it. If you are using a small, ultra-fast SSD for your C: drive and
don’t want to spend 3Gb of it on Office? Tough. Or how about if you want to store all your documents on a RAID-5 or RAID-6 NAS box, instead of a local drive? Well, you can, but don’t expect anything with macros to be trusted. And don’t espect the Trust Center to work either. [ Spent a chunk of time on the phone with MS support today –
they couldn’t fix it either]. In summary, then, if you *have* to have MS Office, it’s a rich, solid offering that will do all you want and more. But if you need it to work *your way*; if you expect to find features in logical places; if you want a product that gets on with it instead of cluttering up the place and drowning you in options, you
will be disappointed. Microsoft continue to develop and change Office.
But not all change is progress. This is a solid and well developed solution from a bunch of programmers who don’t live in the real world. If you fit their test model, you’ll do fine. But if your needs are even a little unusual, be very, very careful. £400 is a lot of money to spend on a product that will fight you every step of the way…
Well, funny old thing, I got the following message back from Microsoft after submitting the review:-
“Our staff has read your review and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!”
Um, OK… but: where are the website guidelines? Hint: they don’t have any… Well, “thanks” Microsoft… for not publishing my review.