I’m impressed with some of the strong, long-term and painful decisions that Microsoft has made regarding Office 12. Office is a twenty-year old product, dating back from the eighties (before Unicode, 32–bit, flat memory models, 32–bit color, object-orientation) and never really got the full rewrite that Windows did. It’s as if the Office team performed some deep soul searching after the last release and lukewarm reviews and went out to reinvent the application suite.
Rather than grafting new features into the previous version of Office, the Office team managed to deprecate or eliminate a large swath of dying technology
- Binary File Formats
- CommandBars & Dialogs
- Visual Basic for Applications
and replaced them with more modern technologies.
- Office XML+ZIP
- Contextual Ribbons
- Visual Tools for Applications
At some point in a future product, perhaps Office 13, Microsoft may completely jettison or separate into a DLL some of the legacy codebase.
The Office team is also building new servers and new business-oriented applications specifically geared to small and mid-size businesses rather than engaging in value denial practices as happened with XML support in Office 2003.