Why? Standards. Word, Excel, PowerPoint. A chunk of the business world used Microsoft Office, but as alternatives appear many of us have become less and less dependent upon Office apps, thanks to a variety of free competitors, and changing work habits. What’s the answer?
Is Living Forever ‘Living?’
There’s a rule we used which can be applied to my article’s headline. “If an article’s title ends in a question mark, the answer usually is no.”
So, the ‘no’ to answer the question is correct. Yet, it’s not. Dying? Perhaps. Dead? Not yet.
Most of us who work on computers in business have similar general needs, and a few specialized needs. Generally, documents are created, edited, saved, and managed using Microsoft Word (or equivalents).
Ditto for spreadsheets. Excel is the standard, despite a number of free knockoffs with similar features. Many Mac users insist that Keynote is better than PowerPoint, but I use both, and they’re competitive.
What is happening in the Office industry is subtle but notable. As capabilities of each Office app increase, usage seems to have decreased. Many companies I know once used Office– Word, Excel, PowerPoint– exclusively. Many of them have shifted to free alternatives, including Libre Office.
Microsoft’s Office hegemony has been attacked by Google Docs and Apple’s iWork suite of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Both suites are free. Microsoft countered by publishing free versions of Office for Android devices, and iPhone and iPad, hoping to make up the revenue shortfall through Office 365 subscriptions.
The jury is still out on Microsoft’s online business model, but one thing is clear. Many of us have left the Office pool and found alternatives elsewhere, and along the way, changed habits so that Office usage among both Mac and Windows customers has diminished.
Have no fear. Office as we know it and don’t love it will not disappear entirely from the business landscape. Increasingly, I find mobile apps taking over functions traditionally reserved for the desktop OS. That trend is likely to continue. Office isn’t dead and probably not really dying, but usage among the masses is changing and we’re less reliant upon comprehensive do-everything application suites today than a decade ago.