Is Microsoft Word Dead?

With the recent announcement of Office 2009 you have to wonder, what more can they add to a word processor? After all its just a fancy text editor with more features than a human can count. Face it how many of you have even used more than the basic word processor? Sure there are writers or the layout guy of magazines but besides that who really uses all of the features of Microsoft Word? Since the introduction of the GUI interface Word has pretty much been the same except for the 2007 Office makeover of the GUI.

The long list

For a long time I believed that it was good to have a long feature set just “in case” I needed them. But now that I think about it, well I’ve never used most of the built in templates the headers, footers or anything else. Every edition Microsoft has been able to churn out yet another set of features that no body actually uses.

Think about it, how many features of Word have you used? Text editor, bold, italics, double space?, center, fancy fonts, spell check, PDF maker? That’s a pretty short list of features compared to the gigantic list Microsoft provides.

Contradiction

But then again those fancy templates are useful. What would an annual fiscal report or a thesis look like with only a text editor as a tool? So yeah Word’s advanced feature set does have a purpose. The thing is how many of you actually use all of them?

A text editor is good enough for most people and Word is way over the top if all you use is a text editor. But there is a market, so is that enough to keep Word afloat?

The Masses

Even though most don’t use or need all of the features of Word and probably don’t Word itself, the text editor is likely to thrive (or at least survive). Why? Because most of the non tech savvy people will snatch up a copy of Office with their new computer. Its also a habit of typing up things in Word and then attaching it in an email and sending it.

Alternative

Many can get by with Notepad or Textedit. But for those really needing templates and such OpenOffice is a free alternative.

Personally

Since I write for the web mostly (this blog) typing up something in Notepad and pasting into the ubiquitous text box on WordPress is good enough for me.

Ars Technica has a great article on which I basically stole the idea off of.

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