Where did Microsoft Office go?

I’ve had my Eee PC for a week now and made some surprising observations. While I was expecting to use this for the occasional bit of web surfing and e-mailing in front of the TV, it’s become the machine I use more than any other – mainly because of the almost instant power up time.

The shock discovery though, is that during this week I haven’t needed to use any of my Microsoft PCs at all – for anything. It would appear that pretty much everything I do is done through a standard browser. When did that happen? It also appears that the company is also slowly reducing it’s use of Microsoft Office products. Our intranet has a content management system at the heart of it, and people are now using this to produce all documentation, both internal and external. There are exceptions, obviously – the accounts team are still heavily dependent on Microsoft Excel, and the sales guys still like to have PowerPoint on their machines, but as a general purpose office package it has become increasingly redundant.

Had I needed to use any Office products, the Eee PC provides two options, Google Apps and Star Office, but the point here is not that there are free alternatives available, it’s that we just don’t use them any more. Instead we use a range of web technologies that allow us to create, perhaps counter-intuitively, a richer document than typical Office applications do. We have documents with video in, discussion threads attached directly to the Project Briefing documents, and social discovery systems embedded within the documents themselves.

This got me thinking about how we interact with our customers. With the exception of printed sales and marketing materials, pretty much everything is done either through e-mail, or via the community sections of our web site – we’re even starting to experiment with things like Twitter. Even PDFs are starting to lose their appeal as they too don’t provide the level of interaction that we’ve come to expect from the intranet.

It appears, for us at least, that the standard “one way” document type is succumbing to a new interactive document type – dynamic documents that leverage relationships between people.

Will office e-mail be the next to go?

2 thoughts on “Where did Microsoft Office go?

  1. Glad you are liking the EeePC – I’ve had one of the 701’s from the day of original release – absolutely fantastic, although I wish I had waited until the 901, and more recently the S101. We’ve got 15 of the 701’s in the library at school that are available for students to take out/home just as they would books. Students don’t get phased by something different and they love using them. Only pitfall of the 701’s is the poor screen resolution for accessing web based apps – 640*480 does not really cut it.

    I’m currently playing around with an HP2133 which is also really good.

    • I have the 901, but have to admit that I’m struggling a bit when it comes to upgrading it. Linux still doesn’t have this sorted out so that a Linux muppet like me can just click something like setup.exe and be done. I made the mistake of putting Firefox 3 on because it’s quicker, which worked fine until the eeePC did an auto upgrade a few months later. If I had my time again I’d go for the Windows OS and stick StarOffice on that.

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