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Is Microsoft Office 2010 Worth the Money?

Partners have had their hands on Office 2010 for a while now, but the massive productivity suite just rolled out to consumers on Tuesday. It's not cheap -- depending on the version, it runs from about $150 to nearly $500.

Five hundred dollars? (It just looks so much more dramatic spelled out.) Granted, that's for the highest-end version of the software (Office Professional 2010), but your editor does much of his work on a netbook that only cost $350 -- and that was with an upgrade to 2GB of memory plus the cost of shipping. We at RCPU are still trying to figure out Office 2007 (at home -- not in the office). Why on earth would we move to Office 2010? Heck, Office 2003, like XP, still works just fine. Your editor is typing in Microsoft Word 2003 right now.

It used to be that buying a new version of Office was just a given. Each version was pretty significantly better than the one before, and not much of anything else could seriously compete with it (fire away, StarOffice and WordPerfect fans). Now, though, there are lots of productivity-suite options not named Office, and some of them are free. For one, Microsoft recently released its own (limited) free online version of Office. Then there are OpenOffice.org and Google Apps (among others), both of which cost nothing for basic versions and are compatible with Microsoft Office.

We believe that the primary driver for sticking with Office is fear. Sure, Google Apps and other such suites are supposed to be compatible with Word and Excel, but...what if they're not? What then? Will people be able to open my files? Will I have to use some sort of weird adapter? It's all too scary to consider.

Free online suites are compatible -- Google Docs might be a bit clunky to use, but the brief process of transitioning a document from Docs to Word has been as smooth as silk in our experience. We use Google Apps every day and convert Docs documents to Word documents all the time. Still, the thought always persists: Is this really going to work? Better check Word just to make sure...And so Office rolls on, and so does the revenue for Microsoft, and for partners that's probably not a bad thing.

We have a comment on Office from RCPU e-mail legend Peter, who really wasn't too impressed by it:

“I went to the Office 2010 launch in Melbourne this week, and that was a major disappointment. What do they do with that $9 billion per year, anyway? The main presenter looked like he was about 12 years old. Office 2010 looks just like 2007 with a few fixes. Call me a Luddite, but I'm still on XP Pro and Office 2003. Microsoft folk actually seem to believe that their customers like that idiotic ribbon thing. They were not at all impressed when I told them repeatedly that I actually like Google!”

Peter, we like Google too, and we're still trying to get around Office 2007. The question is, though, would you go all-Google, all the time? We at RCPU aren't so sure that we would...yet. But free vs. $150 and up really does seem tempting.

What's your take on Office 2010? Is it worth the money, or are you ready to go Google (or OpenOffice.org)? Sound off at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on June 17, 2010 at 11:56 AM


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