Windows and Office have also brought a couple of decades of pain and suffering to computer users, but that’s another story. Neither will die quickly, but both have their best days behind them.
Why? LibreOffice. Well, no, not exactly LibreOffice by itself, but rather what it represents. Through the years Microsoft has convinced everyone from next door neighbor to enterprise IT honchos that Windows needed Office. You know, so people could be productive. At a price.
LibreOffice proves that people– Mac users, Windows users, even Linux PC users– can be just as productive as Office users for a whole lot less money. LibreOffice comes with Write instead of Word. Calc instead of Excell. Impress instead of PowerPoint. And a host of good enough add-on utility apps that make Microsoft look like a tax collector for the Roman Empire, circa 30 AD.
The most recent version of Office debuted on the iPad. By most reviewer account, including my own, Office for iPad– which comes as separate free apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint– is typical Microsoft. Too little, too late.
That might account for the 1,659 one star reviews for Word for iPad (nearly half the reviews for Excel and PowerPoint for iPad are also one star reviews).
If Microsoft’s latest and greatest are capable, then why all the negativity?
Thanks to suites like LibreOffice, Apple’s iWorks, and even Google Docs, Office users have found alternatives; lesser by feature count for sure, but alternatives that work well enough and cost much less.
Just as Adobe found it to be increasingly difficult to charge customers for nominal upgrades to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and other desktop behemoths, Microsoft could see the writing on the wall, so to speak. Office with more features was not worth the money. So what did Microsoft do? They created rent-an-app with Office 365. Pay by the month or year to use Office everywhere.
While Microsoft has yet to put a dent in the mobile device industry of smartphones and tablets, and the company isn’t in danger of going out of business any time soon, Office, like Windows, is done. Fully cooked. Put a fork in it. Customers have wised up and found usable, capable, and inexpensive alternatives.