Well, today it became official, the Office12 Beta is about to begin. NeoSmart has just been accepted, and will try his very best to break it… (Let’s hope its a challenge, don’t want a program too easily broken..) Anyway, at NeoSmart we got a sneak preview of Office12 with Pre-Release Build 12.0.3111.1011, and though it is covered by the NDA, I think we’ll be safe giving you a few reasons why OpenOffice.org v2 will not be stealing the show (not this year, sorry).
We have been testing OO.org since its pre-beta stages, downloading the latest builds and CVS when available, and overall, we have been impressed.
- Office 12 has a brand new look to it. From the PDC Screenshots (same build we’re running here) you can see all the new-fangled buttons and ribbons and tabs. Its hard to get used to, especially if you are a hard-core Office user, but from what we can gather, its biggest theme seems to be making things available. You highlight some text, and it intelligently realizes the tools that you will need, making it by far the simplest Office-Environment program we have ever seen.
- Though the pre-release of Office 12 that we are testing is sluggish, all previous versions of Office have been very spontaneous (on modern hardware, without spyware, etc. obviously) especially when compared to OO.org v1, which was plagued by sick and slow Java code. Though OO.org v2 has done away with most Java, it seems that the code beneath all the spotless glamor is still dirty, it has some of the same tell-tale symptoms that v1 had.
- Office 12 is pure power. The new and *completely* redesigned Excel and Access are centered purely around productivity and giving you the tools that you need. Outlook 12 includes a new extra sidebar whose sole purpose is keeping all your information available at once.
- Office 12 may cost money, but then again, most businesses aren’t expecting to get their company’s software platform up to scratch free-of-charge. Most expect to have to pay, and in exchange they get the results of years of planning and engineering from one of the biggest R&D around.
- Office 12 will most likely forever ship in some limited form or the other with new PCs. 98%+ of all OEM PCs ship with Works + Word. In contrast, almost none ship with OO.org.
- OpenOffice.org is made by Sun. Office 12 is made by Microsoft. OpenOffice.org is made largely (though most likely reluctantly) for the Linux crowd. Office 12 is Microsoft for Windows. Microsoft has all the Windows Code at its disposal, and everything can be integrated smoothly and cleanly, without worries.
- Office 12 looks cool. You may think it does not matter, but its actually one of the most important marketing ploys known to man. No one will buy software that looks like it was made for Windows 3.1.1, but Office 12 looks modern.
Despite what it looks like, we are quite impartial, and wish OO.org the best. We will continue to test it and submit bugs to Sun in an ongoing effort to improve the quality of software everywhere, just as we will the Office 12 Beta; but in this case, we have a clear winner.