Big, Bad Microsoft
There’s been some conspiracy theories about Microsoft’s decision to include a three-year old version of Word with Microsoft Works Suite 2006.
Outsiders automatically assume the worst from Microsoft. Most Microsoft employees are actually passionate about their work, which they see as contributing positively and enormously to the world. The mindset is not to milk customers, but to create additional value for which they get paid for in exchange.
In a related note, Microsoft employees are not intentionally trying to snuff out third-party utility vendors, when a new feature is added to an operating system; they are just trying to address persistent problems that customers faced when using Microsoft products. When I was involved in the addition of OLAP capabilities in PivotTables, I wasn’t thinking about to put any OLAP vendors out of business, though we probably may have. I feel like that I am stating the obvious…
Microsoft’s decision to include an earlier version of Word has a perfectly valid explanation. The latest version of Microsoft Word 2003 (of Office 2003) runs only on Windows 2000 and XP, primarily used by businesses.
Microsoft Works Suite 2006 has to run on typical operating systems used by consumers, which include Windows 98 and ME. In that case, Word 2002 (of Office XP) is the best option. In fact, Microsoft is still selling Office XP for this very reason.
The mood has gotten better in recent years, though, due to Microsoft’s efforts at increasing openness and transparency.