The Office 2007 Ribbon only goes so far

Microsoft Office 2007Has anyone noticed that the Ribbon in Office 2007 does not extend to all Office programs? Publisher doesn’t have it, as well as some other programs. It seems that Microsoft only saw fit to include in the most loved and used applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. I can’t help but brace for the fallout from users. First Microsoft tries to build a “zero-learning-curve” model into their new office suite, hoping that users will find it easier to use and eliminate much of the complexity of the system, which is quite noble, then they don’t include it in all the suite’s applications? I don’t see such a unified front and integrated user experience this time around that Microsoft is always so long-winded about. So this was motivated not by customers’ needs or the need for one interface, but by rising costs, looming deadlines, and putting out fires during development? In my x-ray vision, I see far into the future and can’t help but wonder if this will help Google (and others) spell doom for at least a good sized portion of Microsoft’s cash-cow business? There is already a ton of speculation that Vista will be the last operating system to be released by Microsoft (as far as we know the traditional OS) because the web is now becoming more important than ever. I am hearing that Google’s online apps will also spell disaster for Microsoft, perhaps in the next decade or so. Do I agree? Well, the jury is still cherry-picking their favorites, so to speak. I have used Google’s apps extensively, including docs and spreadsheets, and I must say that I would rather use Google to get the job done and never have to mess with Office, and I am a long time Office lover. If Microsoft wasn’t the standard for everything it wouldn’t be hard to find other avenues that suit me just fine (as I have found already). Is the selectively programmed ribbon this important, and will it start the downward climb for our dearly beloved Microsoft? It isn’t that deep and probably won’t matter to most people. We will either adapt to the multi-mode confusion, use something else, or get over it, but my point is that Microsoft increasingly lets quality and the integrity of their offerings go by the wayside. In addition, I think Microsoft must get on the web-based band-wagon before they are run over by online suites of prey. Desktop office software is a dying breed, as you can tell by looking at the marketplace and the fast-moving mass adoption of many online suites now used in addition to or in place of Office. Microsoft needs to crack the whip and get into the game while there is still time. It has been quite shocking to watch them slowly lose their stranglehold. It is a whole new world today.

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