MS Office Beta Notes

This is a side-blog where I intend to keep all of my notes from Beta testing new versions of Office. This will keep them all in one place for future reference. I started this with Office 2003, and am bringing it back for the 2007 version. This is not an official Microsoft site, this is just the ramblings of one IT guy.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Blatant propaganda

I just read this article on about Office 2003 and can I just say, I'm really disappointed that anyone takes this man seriously. I don't have time to fisk the whole thing but here's a sample:

"Again under the umbrella of "security," Microsoft is implementing features which limit who can open and edit documents to further thwart competition. Microsoft Office 2003 gives its users the ability to control who can read and edit certain documents, but only if they use the latest Microsoft software. If one user within an office uses this feature, all others will be unable to use any other office suite to access that document. They will not be permitted to run Linux software, they will be required to purchase and run additional copies of Microsoft Office 2003. Since documents are frequently emailed around via the Internet, this will force others to accept Microsoft's software or be unable to communicate."

Um no, as you said yourself Office 2003 gives users the ability to control who can read and edit certain documents. If I work in an office that doesn't have 2003 rolled out to everyone or has someone using Linux I simply wouldn't turn on the feature. Communication is a two way street, if I'm constantly sending people documents that they can't open I seriously doubt I'm going to be running around telling everyone that they have to upgrade, I'm going to send it in a format they can actually use! Otherwise what's the point of trying to send documents? On the other hand, if I worked in a law firm or someplace that required serious security like this, it's nice to know that I can actually accomplish it by upgrading everyone to the Office 2003 platform, and not have to worry about who's forwarding emails or who doesn't understand how to open encrypted files or forgets/gives away the passwords. That's kind of nice, it's another choice. Isn't that what Lindows was supposed to be about, giving people another choice of OS? I guess giving people control over their documents and choice in how to share them is only a good thing when it's not Microsoft, right?