The latest version of Microsoft Office has officially been released with great fanfare.  Given the amount of time almost everyone in the business world spends working with Office applications this is an important event.  Microsoft claims that it will save those that adopt it two weeks of effort each year versus the time they are spending using Office 2007.  That is probably true because those using its predecessor Office 2007 may have lost four weeks of productivity per year by installing it. 

From my experience Office 2007 was the worst example of runaway feature bloat in the history of software.  I hated it so much that I switched to a Macintosh.  Its version of Office, used to write these postings, remains easy to learn and use.  Office 2007 demanded that its users remember more things than my brain could comfortably handle – and I have a greater tolerance for sophisticated software than most of the people I know. 

I do not know of a single JD Edwards customer that is not also a major Microsoft customer.  Our community and the rest of the business world badly needs high quality products from Microsoft.  I have to hope that this time Microsoft got it right – if they did I will happily run the full Windows version of Office 2010 on my MacBook. 

In my opinion Bill Gates is one of the most admirable people alive today – his willingness to devote all his time and huge fortune to improving the health and education of the less fortunate is inspiring.  I don’t, however, admire the mess he made of the generation of software (including Office 2007 and Windows Vista) that he oversaw before leaving.  After his departure the role of chief software architect was given to Ray Qzzie, the original genius behind Lotus Notes.  Hopefully, the generation of Microsoft products created under Ozzie’s leadership turns out to be much better, especially Office 2010. 

Microsoft is an easy target for ridicule and cynicism.  The constant rumors about internal strife and high turnover within executive ranks recently are making things worse.  Whether we as individuals like or hate Microsoft and its products, they are certain to be a major force in the IT market for decades to come.  As a result, the business world badly needs great products from Microsoft, especially the Office suite that so many of us spend hours a day using. 

Am I the only one rooting for Office 2010 to be great?  Let me know what you think.