Review of Microsoft Office 2010 - Installation, Drawbacks and features

Check out this short review about Microsoft Office 2010, which is said to be 14th version and arguably the most dominated office suite used by millions of people since the inception of the first edition.

Review of Microsoft Office 2010 - Installation, Features and Drawbacks

Microsoft Office 2010 was officially released to end-consumers on June 15th, 2010 after nearly a year of public and free beta. Office 2010 represents the 14th version [there was no 13th version though] of what is arguably the most successful shrink-wrapped consumer application software in human history. Three independent software applications that were hugely successful Word, Excel and PowerPoint were bundled together and launched as a product suite first in 1989 for Apple Mac and in 1990 for Windows 2.0. The real breakthrough happened on August 30, 1992, when Microsoft launched Office Suite for Windows 3.0.

For nearly 20 years, Microsoft has enjoyed market dominance. Business-Week talked of 400 million copies and 80% market share for Microsoft Office in 2006. As of today, nearly one third of Microsoft's annual revenue of $20 billion comes from Office; it is also the most profitable division for Microsoft.

Several attempts have been made in the past to fight the market dominance of Microsoft Office – Sun Microsystems [now part of Oracle Corporation] with their pioneering Star Office; Open Source team with their Open Office; IBM with their Lotus Symphony; and recently Google with their Google Docs; Adobe and Yahoo have their own versions too. Chennai based Zoho is a major player too. Clearly the cloud based versions that include Google Docs will pose a viable threat to Microsoft Office in the years to come.

Against the backdrop comes Microsoft Office 10. The key components of Office 2010 include :
  • Word [Word Processor]
  • Excel [Spreadsheet]
  • PowerPoint [Presentation] in all versions including student version
    Outlook [e-mail] is included in the Small Business edition. Professional Edition includes several advanced features that include :
  • InfoPath
  • OneNote
  • Visio
  • Project
  • Access
  • Publisher
  • SharePoint Workplace & Design versions

Microsoft Office 2010 & its strengths

Office 2010 builds on the widely popular Office application interface, yet it improves on the ser interface.

  • The ribbon interface introduced in Word 2007 is common across all programs in Office 2010
  • Picture / Video editing tool in Word and PowerPoint provides a way of creating compelling documents even by ordinary users
  • Backstage provides a powerful, yet intuitive way of handling a number of document functions, save and print for example across all programs [Word, Excel and PowerPoint]
  • Broadcast presentation is a way to share presentations across the globe in a connected and globalized world
  • Outlook is fast as it is said everyone liked Outlook for its amazing features but it have equal number of haters for its slowness, finally, and e-mail reading, searching and composing can be fast, it has Web 2.0 features too including Facebook integration
  • Office Web Applications make Office 2010 accessible from anywhere, Office Web Applications include versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint that can be used completely over the web using standard browser. More interesting, Office Web Applications is free
  • Support for mobile phones is coming soon and hopefully with Windows Phone 7

Weaknesses in Office 2010

  • The biggest deterrent for Office 2010 is no upgrades, everyone both earlier users and new user has to cough up the full amount, about Rs.5,000 for Student Edition and more than Rs.10,000 for Small Business & Professional Edition
  • While many features are nice to have, there is no wow factor that you associate with Apple products, for instance that you associate with Apple products. Of course for a 20+ year old product used by more than billion people, it is not that easy to create compelling features every time

Microsoft has proved that its products continue to be relevant and add value in spite of stiff competition emerging from every quarter. It will be interesting to watch the customer acceptance of Office 2010 in the next couple of quarters.

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