The NPD Group has the numbers of the early sales of Microsoft Office 2010 Suite, and they don’t look good. Office 2007 sold better in its first two weeks. What went wrong? It seems to be bad timing or the lack of bundling, and not enough new features over the 2007 version.
Microsoft Office 2007 was a radical change of interface from Office 2003; annoying a lot of people with having to deal with the Ribbon and the ‘pane’, and awing a lot of people with its shiny new squeeze-my-buttons look. Those nostalgic 2003 users had one less reason to complain about however: the old keyboard shortcuts were still there, alongside the new ones. And let us not forget, it was introduced alongside Microsoft’s shiny new operating system, the XP-replacement, Windows Vista. No matter that it was called the broken OS, Office 2007’s smooth looks certainly fit in with Vista, and didn’t looking jarringly old in there, like 2003. The new features and layout certainly contributed to the novelty factor.
Now however, complacent Office 2007 users aren’t bothered by the extra layer of gloss on Office 2010, or enticed by its near-identical layouts (Office tab is back to being the File tab, and other small differences). And, they didn’t launch it alongside the runaway-success that was Windows 7. No matter, for Office 2007 looks right at home with 7.
It’s time to play catch up on the 9 months since Windows 7 released, and one of the ways Microsoft intends to do that by selling Office 2010 pre-installed in new PCs, with license keys available on cards instead of retail boxes. Already a third of Office 2010’s sales have been in this form, and this will only increase.