Who Will Be the

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-02-05 Print this article Print

Early Adopters?"> Who do you expect to be the early adopters of Vista and Office and do you expect customers to upgrade them together?

In general, having both of these products launching together is very positive as in general IT people can look at both of them and only have to touch the desktop once, which is a much cheaper way to go. There is a class of customer who will roll out both products on the same PCs, while others will wait and just update the image that they put on the new computers they bring in.
But the fastest deployers are midsize companies, which are traditionally much more nimble and which have a massive volume of desktops around the world. However, there are also huge early adopter companies who helped us test the product, like Citigroup, which plans to roll out 350,000 in the next year.
What will the experience be for the user if they upgrade to either Vista or Office 2007, but not both? We tested the earlier version of Office on Windows Vista to make sure they run very nicely, so youll get some of the Vista graphical elements with, say, Office 2003, such as Vista Glass, where the window frame is reflective. Likewise, the Office 2007 ribbon will work and look just the same on Vista Service Pack 2. So you dont have to be running on Windows Vista to get the ribbon and to get glass you dont have to be running Office 2007. Click here to read more about how Microsoft tried to explain away the controversy over Outlook 2007. But one exception I need to call out here are the instant search capabilities that work best when you have Outlook 2007 running on Vista. This is a feature I would hate to give up as it brings the ability to quickly search in Outlook for any phrase, email or person, and that happens through the integration of Office 2007 and Vista. If you are running Outlook 2003 on Vista, you wont get this feature. It has been reported that e-mails in Outlook 2007 are now being rendered in Microsoft Word rather than HTML. Is that correct and, if so, why the change? So, in Office 2007, by default, when you write or read an email in Outlook, we are using Word as the underlying engine for that. The reason for this is that we have done a lot of work to make Word the best authoring and reading environment possible. So, when you are writing an e-mail, its nice to get the spell check capabilities of Word, or the ribbon capabilities of Word, right in that e-mail authoring and reading experience. What are you hearing from developers and partners about writing applications for Office 2007? Developers, third parties, get to build solutions that feel much more like they were part of the original Office design, even though they are built by a separate company. In the old-style Office application, the third-party basically built a toolbar that showed up and just added to the toolbar clutter in the products and did not feel like a great experience. With the new ribbon, this can be integrated far better into Excel or Word so that it looks like it came from one company and is just one ribbon, part of which is from the third party. We think that is really exciting for the software development community to build into. Many of your competitors have used concerns about the new user interface in Office as a way to get customers to migrate to their products. Has that been effective and what are you seeing on the competitive front? Well, the biggest competition we face is from older versions of Office and peoples satisfaction with those. The companies that clone a lot of the Office functionality, some of our open-source competitors, face the challenge of having to innovate or do all the engineering work to clone the functionality in Office 2007. We havent seen any massive uptake to those sales pitches. What we have seen is major downloads of Office, from the beta versions to the 60-day trial program, which has already seen more than a million downloads. That number just blows us away at how high it is. So there is a high level of interest in the new user interface and the product. So does the Office team now start working hard on the next version, Office 14? We started the planning process for 14 about a year ago and so a team of people have already been working hard on envisioning the next set of scenarios that we want to bring to life. Were obviously very early in the thinking of those, but a lot of people have been living and breathing whats next for us. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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