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microsoft_monster.pngThe other day, my friend, Hugh Macleod, who’s recently been hired by Microsoft as a consultant, asked in a post on Gaping Void, “Who Speaks for Microsoft?”
In the comments, I wrote:

“Microsoft’s products speak for it. And, increasingly, they suck. Explorer, Word, Power Point, and especially Outlook all suck.
And as you have often pointed out, it doesn’t matter what you say if your products suck. In fact, one of my favorites of your cartoons says exactly that.”

And Steve Clayton, who works for Microsoft, responded:

“Love to know what you think sucks about Explorer, Word, PowerPoint and outlook. I care about making things better. Wanna help?”

I’ve been thinking about why I switched to Mac, and what makes using Explorer, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint so frustrating. I’m not even going to mention the “You’ll have to re-install WIndows” response to all customer assistance inquiries. Save that for people who still use Windows.
Here are some of the problems I would love to see fixed. Please add your experiences with Microsoft software in comments:
Microsoft Outlook
– The search is terrible in Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint. The Spotlight search in Apple’s OSX will accurately find any mention of a word or phrase anywhere on your computer in a second.
I’m not alone on that complaint. For example, Rafe Needleman told me, in a Twitter post, “Outlook 2007 search: Sucks. Damn you, MS. The Lookout search engine you bought was good. I’m considering installing Copernic.”
Chris Pirillo – why outlook 2003 sucks (Remember, corporations don’t update their software every year.)
Wandering Stan blog: Outlook sucks more than I imagined.
– The address book freezes.
– You put an email in a project folder, then delete it from your inbox and it disappears from the project folder.
– the spam filter is completely inadequate and does not learn over time
– You can’t set where your want your junk mail to be sent. – like the trash.
PowerPoint Problems:
– the templates are amateurish and, mostly, ugly
– working with a 200-slide presentation for a 1/2-day workshop is like playing concentration. Apple’s Keynote has a much more elegant interface.
– the “special effects” are lame. See Keynote.
– the stock photo library is very weak. Why not just link to a better one?
– the file sizes get really unwieldy and can’t be sent to clients easily
– you don’t seem to be able to add video or flash to Power Point without a plugin
– the handout option produces lousy documents
– you can’t easily collaborate with others on production of a presentation
– you need Paint Shop Pro or another program to merge all the slides into one screen for a screen map summary
– if you create a presentation on a PC and transfer it to a Mac, or vice versa, there are font problems
– how do you translate a Power Point to html?
– it’s difficult to impossible to get slides to time to music, while Apple Keynote does this automatically
Word problems
– Spellcheck and grammar check are laughably bad
– “Find” works really badly
– there are compatibility problems with earlier versions of word
Internet Explorer
– I don’t use it. Firefox is much more intuitive.
I also am sick of the patches, viruses, demands that I install updates before I can work.
And, my favorite thing about my Mac, besides all the wonderful, built-in software, is that I never have to press “Start” to turn the computer off. I say “Shut Down” when I want to shut down. Imagine that!