I attended the Microsoft Office 2000 launch here in Atlanta this morning. The first two sessions were essentially marketing information aimed at IT decision makers and support staff. These were followed by an hour long session by Steve Ballmer. Interesting stuff. They have created a set of integrated functionality that is very impressive. The catch is that they did this at the cost of compatibility. Many of the new features are dependent upon an office running all Microsoft technology.
I do lust after some of the groupware features they displayed, but I lament the fact that they ignore Linux, Mac OS, and Internet Standards in the process. They did give some lip service to WebDAV, HTML, XML, and CSS, but their implementation, from what I can see so far, is typical embrace and extend stuff. I may be jaded by their lack of full support in IE 5 for Web standards.
I will be buying Office 2000. I also see it as a good solution for many of the things my company wants to do in the future.
Someone in the session asked about a Mac OS version, and the answer was that they plan on releasing Office 2001 for the Macintosh. The file formats of the new Office are binary compatible with Office 97/98, but you sacrifice many of the coolest features in doing so. The new file format is well formed XML(that’s at least what I was told at the session), and the HTML capabilites looked really good. They incorporated a lot of Web based functionality through Active X controls. For instance, someone can view a Powerpoint presentation you save this way over the Internet using IE 5.
Steve Ballmer talked about where they want to end up and how this release of Office is the first step in the directions they want to go. He talked about the changing face of the devices we use to access networked information, and how they were trying to create a perfect environment for the onscreen consumption of information. He also talked extensively about changing the way meetings work in the business world and how technology would make them more efficent and easier to hold without an actual physical meeting taking place.
I will relay my feelings on Office after I have used it.
Dan Gillmor’s column today is insightful and I agree with it almost completely.
Apple released the final version of Quicktime 4.0 today. Good stuff.
Is there no shortage of people on the Internet with too much free time , or is it just me?
Here’s an attractive new Palm site .(Made with Cold Fusion too.)