The microsoft-less office (and the future of business)

Posted by admin in Technology | May 1st 2007

I hesitate to call myself visionary, but I have for years seen the coming of the application-less office (Or Microsoft-less office, it could be called). Visualise a practically dumb terminal with one piece of Software. A browser.

One caveat to this posting. I am not talking about the operating system … yet … ho-hummmm!

Please note that I have no beef with Microsoft, I just think that they are not going to be so relevant in the future of business. I know they have LIVE … which I have not tried. Mainly because I hate using IE and I strongly suspect that one would have to … do you? I bet!

Several years ago when doing the big change from Windows 2000 to Windows XP I experimented with cheaper (Open Source) office software.

I was trying to use Open Office (MS Word/ Excel), Thunderbird (MS Oultook) and Sunbird (Calendar functions, since I use a calendar ALOT and thunderbird just didna-have-it!). To be honest, the Thunderbird/ Sunbird option came about mainly because of my many year love-affair with Firefox.

I was severlely underwhelmed, and after a month or so of dogged pain infliction, I bit the bullet and sprung a few hundred squids for the latest MS Office suite, uninstalled the crap above. And worked (sorta) happily ever since.

Until now. Look out for the Microsoft Own Goal coming up! Am I alone?

I have been using a fairly old laptop recently, which hasn’t been performing, so I have been waiting to buy an new, Vista operated one.

ASIDE (I have gone for an HP Pavillion dv2000 after looking for a relatively powerful, but small and light option. My years of lugging around a 5 kilo Packard Bell Brick-4500 are over! Yay! )

Whilst in the shop (no, I DONT buy laptops online. I want to touch them) I thought what-the-hey … I will throw in the latest Office version. It was quite reasonably priced … under 200 Squids anyway, so far as I can remember. But. It didnt have Outlook on it! Okay. So the guy told me that firstly they didnt have a version with Outlook, and secondly that even if they did “It’s around 400 quid just for Outlook, mate!”. Okay.

So I leave without purchasing MS Office.

Now about a year ago I signed up for the Google Aps for your Domain, which at the time only included email management. I did this for 2 reasons … (okay, 3 … I also just love any concept that the big G come up with!) …

1. to give a good web-based email system to my employees, and
2. to be easily able to store and log all email that ever comes into our company.

I hope that Google will release a full API for it at at some point so that we can properly integrate it into our Online Business Management System, BETA. Until then, it is good to have anyway!

Anyways, I know now that there is a bigger picture at stake! Google Docs and Calendar have since made an appearance within the suite. So I am now using that. One small downfall is still the inability to work locally, and thus I do feel a slight loss of control and “ownership” of my documents. I think that will pass, but on doing some research I came across a fella who thinks that he has discovered that this is under control … some interesting “under the hood of Google Docs” info.

I have also downloaded and am using the latest version of Thunderbird, and for the limited time that I need docs locally, I have also installed Open Office again. Both (particularly Thunderbird. I wouldn’t say it is great, but it certainly does the job!)

So here we go again. Due to a MS Own goal, I am embarking on a path of getting my company OFF Microsoft. I hope to have bought my last shrink wrapped software. I hope to fulfill the dream I have had for 10 years now … computing off a dumb terminal, accessing all through my browser. Great!

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