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Re: Windows and the Common Man

__/ [Kelsey Bjarnason] on Tuesday 10 January 2006 03:45 \__

> Over the weekend, I got a call from an old acquaintance; seems their
> computer was having issues.
> They had an old system, they'd just bought a new one, with XP and Office
> preloaded.  Happy happy.  They'd managed to copy their documents over, but
> in the process, they ended up going all over the place - a complete mess.
> That said, that wasn't the problem.  Problem was, despite having paid for
> MS Office, they were missing a component - FrontPage.  She uses it to
> manage her web site.

FrontPage is one of the narrow-minded pieces of software that raise many
404's in arbitrary Linux-based Web sites. It also tends to create
badly-formed pages that are better rendered by a certain closed-source

Better point that friend of your *no rudeness intended here) to DreamWeaver
if she absolutely must use WYSI(rarely)WYG. It's an older generation
paradigm. The latest (third) generation comprises content management systems
that are preferable standards-based. I suggest you tell her that.

> The first question was "Doesn't it come with Windows?"  Nope, nothing
> comes with Windows.  "Well, Word came with Windows, didn't it?"  Nope,
> that's what he paid an extra chunk of change for, to get Office, which
> only came with Word, Excel and Outlook, more or less.

I am guessing that they were forced to pay for yet another licence. The
formats get 'upgraded' as part of a strategic move to sell more units. It
can be argued to be an improvement, but the common man has to pay for it. In
parallel, crossover applications like OpenOffice may be hindered.

They do the same thing in the fashion industry when they introduce new trends
which add motion to the market.

> So.  Here they are, they've bought a new system, bought MS Office, which
> is what they'd previously been using - they just got 2003 instead of 2000
> - only to find out they can't do the jobs they were already doing with the
> older machine.  And they didn't understand why, since, as far as they were
> concerned, the whole concept of "basic" vs "pro" vs "enterprise" editions
> didn't mean anything - they bought Office, they paid for Office, why can't
> they use Office, like they'd been doing all along?

Wait until Vista gets shipped in its 7 editions. I wouldn't be surprised if
users got forced to pay one limb at a time, each time thinking it's the last
'upgrade'. Each time a feature is unavailable, you need to 'unlock' it with
your credit card. Spellchecker? Open your wallet. Remote access? That'll be
$50, please.

> The one option they had had explained to them was that they could buy
> FrontPage as a standalone application - for $280.
> Their conclusion: Microsoft was ripping them off, expecting them to pay
> $280 more to make the product - Office - they'd already paid for actually
> do the job they'd bought it for.
> Attempts to install 2000 under 2003, to provide FP, simply didn't seem to
> want to work.  I ended up ripping out 2K3 and putting in 2000 - only to
> find that Outlook 2003 uses a different .pst file format than 2000 uses,
> so the 2000 version can't see all their emails, contacts, etc.
> So I installed 2003 after 2000, which allowed me to upgrade Word and Excel
> and Outlook, while leaving FP 2000 installed, and all was well.

The subject line says "the Common Man". For the sake of the argument, given
your evident skills, let us assume that another licence was needed here.

> So, the "easy to use" and "user friendly" software left them
> feeling completely screwed over and cheated, and having to pay someone -
> me - to come in and solve the problem for them... a problem that shouldn't
> have existed _at all_ if either "easy to use" or "user friendly" were
> remotely applicable terms.
> And now MS wants to go to a model where you "get everything", but have to
> fork over your CC# to enable the various bits - bits which, in their eyes,
> they've already bought and paid for.  Or, like this experience, paying
> more - the price of Office 2003 - to get less - no FrontPage.
> Ease of use.  User friendly.  The mind boggles.

Interesting experience. I have not used Office for many years, yet it is
worth docovering how that cow continues to produce milk.


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