Microsoft makes the bulk of its money on two things – Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. There’s one main reason why software companies (car companies, and others) produce new versions of their software – so that you can buy the new version and the software vendor can make money. This is no secret, it’s good business and fine.
However, that is for THEM. Now what about you?
There’s two main reasons why this matters to you. 1. New versions of software take out bugs and glitches in the older software versions. 2. New versions of software could contain major new or updated features that will help you work faster and better.
I say all of this as we look at the next release of Microsoft Office 2007 due in the second half of this year.
For many of you, Office 97 is fine, some have Office 2000 and some have Office XP. In any case there’s millions who don’t have the latest software package. I don’t and there’s no reason you should RUSH to buy a new software package.
But you SHOULD RUSH TO KNOW what is in the new software package, and in consultation with your solution provider make a decision on what’s best for you.
Information Week has a VERY good overview of the next edition of Office 2007 here and I highly suggest you read it.
One big challenge Microsoft has, besides just getting more people to upgrade, is the rise of online software. Software as a service is growing in huge ways and those vendors, not the least of which is Google, who are offering software online are going to offer tools served via the ‘net, such as word processing that Microsoft already offers and leads in, or offer new tools that Microsoft does not lead in but is starting to offer.
For example, the new edition of Microsoft Office will have built in tools for blogging and even more collaboration.
In looking at the upgrade path for Microsoft Office it is VERY IMPORTANT to closely analyze how your company works. If you have an IT infrastructure that is server based and managed by an IT staff (be that staff small or large) AND you utilize a number of Microsoft products then Microsoft Office 2007 is something you should really consider. Many of their new offers are new and/or improved server based tools such as Share Point.
However, if your work is mainly focused on your PC (you might use a server for sharing files and Internet access – but not much else) then the server based computing model of Office might not be that compelling.
You have a number of vendors to choose from to provide collaboration services (Intranets.com, HyperOffice, Eunify ), blogging (Blogger.com, TypePad, WordPress ).
Also keep in mind there a dozens of useful software applications and tools you can purchase for very low cost, but that are powerful. The My Software line of applications is one such example.