CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Office 97 not worth the hassle

More than half of NEWS.COM readers say they don't intend to upgrade to the new version of Office despite fancy new features.

More than half of NEWS.COM readers don't think that Office 97 is worth the hassle of upgrading.

Yesterday's NEWS.COM reader poll asked readers whether they intend to upgrade to Microsoft's Office 97 software suite formally introduced this week. The company is promoting the suite as the centerpiece of Microsoft's Net strategy this year, pointing to newly improved Web access embedded directly into the software. (See related story)

Emperor's new clothes
"Once again Mr. Gates through excellent marketing strategies, is going to dump on the public an inferior product and herald it as the greatest thing to happen to man since Windows 95. I would suggest the consumers out there think back to the story of the King's New Clothes. This should shed some light on what's really going on with Mr. Gates."
--M. Mojica
Fifty-seven percent of NEWS.COM readers aren't buying it. Of a total of 625 respondents, 43 percent said they would upgrade to Office 97; the rest said they thought the new office suite was more hype than innovation.

There were three primary reasons that readers who wrote NEWS.COM were hesitant about upgrading: they don't think they'll actually use that many of the fancy new features; their computers can't handle the memory-hungry software; and, they just resent being asked to buy another major upgrade.

David Kubit of Newport Beach, California, said he simply didn't need the new features. He wrote: "Frankly, most of the users are getting pretty frustrated with complicated programs that tend to distract them from their simple objectives...I invite you to look at the daily use of most office suites, and ask the users, "Where did you really go in your application, today?"

I am in love

"This is the desktop software package I have been in need of for years now?.Office 97 is extremely intuitive and easy to use allowing you to become productive in a very short time. I have had it less than one week and am in love."
--Melodie Adams
Alexander Hvostov said he couldn't afford to buy the memory that Office 97 demands: "If I could upgrade, I probably would. 200MB of disk space can be accommodated, but the cost seems unimaginable. I would have to format my hard drive, reinstall everything, and meanwhile cut out half the apps I use now to make enough room."

Other readers, however, very much like the new features and agree with Microsoft that the suite heralds a new era in desktop software.

Melodie Adams, a senior systems analyst, wrote: "Thank you Microsoft for a great product." She added that she currently uses "several packages to accomplish the functionality found in Office 97. So what if it takes 200MB of disk storage! My opinion is 3 to 4GB of disk space ought to be standard in the corporate world anyway."

Thanks but no thanks
"Upon reflection, I think I could do everything I need to on WordPerfect 5.1 or Word 2.0, and not miss the 'new and improved' features at all. Additionally, Corel's new suite looks good, runs quickly, and I get my reveal codes back. $1300.00 over two years for a facelift, bloated code, and lousy performance--I'll pass, thanks."
--Kevin Needham
Several commented specifically on the significant improvements that the new scheduling program Outlook provides. "I am quite hopeful," Lucas C. Baker wrote, "that Outlook will provide significant improvements over Schedule+ and MS Mail...I found that Outlook was a significant improvement over Schedule+, and offered more options when working in a workgroup environment. All of these features, and of course, the integrated Web support, influenced me to purchase the Office 97 upgrade."

The Outlook is good
"Being a consultant, the programming enhancements alone (the new IDE, VBA, ActiveX support) are incentive for me to upgrade. Also, I've been using Outlook since the beat version and it is very functional and easy to use. Outlook is great!"
--Mark Grootaert

But money still makes the world go around for many Microsoft users. Many of the 47 percent who do want to upgrade said they are doing it because they have a coupon from Microsoft to get the upgrade for free.

Brian K. Besten wrote: "I will upgrade from Office 95 to Office 97, mostly because I got a free update offer with recent purchase of a new computer. Without this offer, I doubt I would pay for an upgrade any time soon."