Just got back from the Microsoft CIO summit, and I plan to share with you some of my thoughts on what Microsoft has in store for us.
Microsoft Vista (due to the delays) will be launched together with Office 2007 in February in the Philippines in the month of love. Globally, they are starting to launch it in November and with some launch parties already set in January. You could say that Microsoft already had a soft launch to all the CIO’s in the Philippines. These covers companies in the consumer goods industry, telecommunication, call centers, IT companies, and even government plus the academe. They provided a demo of the “killer” features of vista and office 2007.
Honestly, being a mac convert of October last year, Microsoft is just catching up with some of the cooler features of Mac tiger. This would include MS Gadgets vs. Mac Widgets, cool translucent features, easy user interface similar to the mac layouts, and search capability that is now working in microsoft (finally). Vista just came ahead with some minor killer features that made me “WOW” like the Alt-Tab on steriods which a 3d visual cycling of your open applications. Also, the thumbnails are dynamic. If you run a video in full screen and decided to thumbnail it, you can still see the video running in the thumbnails.
Other than this, am I missing some thing else in Vista? Oh yes, there is a much cooler speech to text and voice command functionality which only works if you are in a quiet room.
Microsoft Office 2007
One of the noticeable change is the change from the tool bars concept to the ribbon concept which is suppose to be more user friendly and context sensitive. It was suppose to minimize the number of options and to provide an easy navigation structure. I think it is more complicated (hopefully only at the start), and if the ribbon concept works, then this is a step ahead that where mac applications are now.
For word, the microsoft manager was proud to show us that there is already a WYSIWYG real time changing of fonts, and other text properties. This is very helpful when you want to change a font and you don’t have to do a trial and error. It saves a lot of user time. I would say it is finally about time that they fix this waste of time functionality.
In Excel, they have a more cooler feature of already being able to highlight the cells with red, green, yellow highlights easily without doing a complicated formula. For those people who lives and breath excel, this is a good feature to have for your dashboarding needs.
In Powerpoint, the most noticeable feature is the cooler Smart Art functionality. It makes it very easy for the users to create organization charts or pyramid diagrams with one click of a button. I could say this is indeed cool (finally).
In summary, I’m glad Microsoft has finally fixed all the multimedia type functionalities of Microsoft in Vista and Office 2007. Is it worth the upgrade? Wearing my corporate hat, I don’t think there are significant productivity increases with Vista and Office 2007. Not unless, I’m missing something with the demo they provided. Personally, I’m a mac convert already and Vista is at best a catch up with the Mac tiger functionalities which have been there for a year or so. It would just be easy for Mac to leapfrog the functionalities of Vista in a few months time. But definitely, Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 is way much cooler than XP and your current office version. So if you are one of those early adopters, I can give you my beta copy 🙂