Its a maxim of modern life, just when you think there is only one choice the world opens up to confuse you. Even brands compete with themselves.
Microsoft Office was great, simple even. in 1995 did you want the standard or the professional? The difference was which programs came with it. Professional had Access and PowerP
oint. Then small business wanted PowerPoint but not Access so they introduced Small business edition.
Life was simple, pay you money, take your choice. There were competitors such as Lotus, Wordperfect, Open Access and many more but there was only one choice, it was Microsoft but with a choice of flavours, and the others with the exception of Ability, faded away.
What ruined that was the mobile phone, Tablet, Google and Apple. Google offered free programs, Apple did their own thing and the mobile phone needed cheap Apps to access Word & Excel. Suddenly the race was on to find something to access the Microsoft files, chuck in an opening of the format and the race was on, well who won? No body did but we all did, slightly.
Confused? well lets wind on to today, you can have your own Word and Excel like programs installed on your phone, PC, Cloud, Tablet, Mobile, Chromebook, Linux device, anything. The prices range from free to rip-off (I’ll explain that later as it’s relative).
Its not about the software, its about the document
What has happened is that the standard has become the document, not how you access it. We all want to edit, create and read word Documents or Excel spreadsheets. It doesn’t matter what we use to do this and that is back to the Smartphone, Tablet, Google, Apple influence. The reason is simple, its no longer the how, its the what.
Now we have established that you can use anything lets look at the choice. Its simple its where and cost.
Where and cost?
The “where” is simple, on your device, PC, Laptop, Tablet, SmartPhone or on the “cloud”, (horrible term, it just means someone else computer). The advantage of the cloud is that it is “cross-platform”, you can use it on anything, but if you have a program installed on everything then that is cross platform for document access anyway. So this doesnt really matter, despite what you are being constantly told, If you can create, read, edit on any device anywhere then the how becomes irrelevant. Irrelevant is a bad word actaully, it becomes confusing. Confusing because of the next item, cost, there is a mad rush for Office 365, for many reasons, all of which are usually wrong, as you will see.
Free software means that it is free to use and distribute, it also means free to alter and for more information you will need to understand the term “Open Source” which I will not go in to here, it’s a whole new set of blogs on it’s own.
There are many free programs that have trundled along in the background and they have now come to the fore. These are OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Oxygen office. These allow you to download on anything that they work on any time. Some work like the Old pre-ribbon office and some have gone thier own way. Don’t be put off by saying it works differently, so does every car heater system but you soon get the hang of that, until you change your car.
Car heaters and why everything is new to begin with
Car heaters send heat up, down and forward, the airspeed differs and some have extra cold or hot booster and some have fancy dials, but that’s all they do, they just do it differently, same thing with Office suites.
Paid for packages, You can buy a Microsoft work alike package called Ability for £30, its been around in the background for years and its the only real paid for Microsoft Office alternative.
Office 365 is probably wrong for you
That leaves us with Microsoft Office. There is a push be Microsoft to get everyone on the cloud, That way they can take more money from you over fiver years. There are lost of sales reasons to go 365 but I can trash them all:
I get 5 licences, yes you do, for 1 user on 5 devices, I get the latest version, yes you do but as Office is only updated every three years and still does the same thing how does that help? I spread the cost, its only £x monthly, OK add up all the x weekly’s where x is all the cloud software you pay for, now calculate it over five years. I bet I can lease you your own server for five years at less cost. The killer is why pay for 365, there are good Google alternatives and remember Isaid that brands compete with themselves? Well there is a free version of Office 365 called Office online, go on, Google it (Oh the irony).
We get paid more money for every Office 365 than selling software in a box, so the drive for any reseller is not your needs but their pocket, follow the money, it leads to Office 365 and that’s where a Windows operating system is heading, more about that in another blog.
There are other alternatives and we will write a blog on them all, but talking to us is easier, we listen then advise, now how many people do that in IT?
Talk, just don’t take anyone’s word, it might be the wrong one.
Put simply, you pays your money, or not and takes your choice or not. Just talk to an IT expert such as us who wants you to have the right product, for the right reasons.
I have just sold one business £3,000 of Office Home & Business, based on a three minute discussion. I wrote this blog for them, at the end of the day if they can’t be bothered to read this and save money and gets what right then I have still done my job by showing them the clearly better alternatives, I can only try can’t I? I know he drives a Merc, maybe if he heard me he could afford a Bentley or a Roller as well.