Microsoft Office to get another controversial revamp

Just when you thought you have put the horrors of Ribbons and Tiles behind you, it seems Microsoft is ready to tempt fate again. At Speaking at the Bloomberg Technology Conference, Microsoft Office chief experience officer (CEO?) Julie Larson-Green revealed that she just shook up again one of Microsoft's most sacred products. She is reorganizing and re-aligning teams in order to turn the Office suite from being document-centric to task-focused, with individual pieces of content easily accessible from Cortana. Probably much to the chagrin of long-time Office users again.

The reason for the change might be understandable, at least for some. To some extent, we have moved to task-based workflows rather than app and document centric ones. In Office-speak, that translates to "create a chart" or "create a document" instead of the old "create a Word document" or "create an Excel spreadsheet to create a chart." That might be debatable, as the trends shift every so often, but Larson-Green believes that it is the future of Office productivity.

That is why she is reorganizing Office teams to work in a similar way. Some teams from Excel, PowerPoint, and Sway are focusing on "content creation" like documents and spreadsheets, while others from Excel and Access are doing "visual presentation", like charts and slides. This separation of concerns and parts will let documents and files be "decomposed" into their parts, and later extracted by services like Cortana. For example, asking the personal assistant for charts, it will just return those charts and not necessarily the spreadsheets they came from.

Veterans in the software industry might see similarities to the (D)COM, OLE, and maybe even ActiveX technologies that Microsoft paraded around decades ago. And then eventually retired, in no small part to their security and stability problems.

But more than just the change in focus, this new vision will also most likely shake up users, many of whom have just recently recovered to the changes introduced by Microsoft Office's ribbons and, to a wider extent, Windows 8's and Windows 10's new interfaces. The new Office might employ a new workflow that might not reflect what most users have in mind, which will cause no small amount of stress for these users, which will most likely incite no small amount of flamewars on the Internet.

The good news? It might take a while for Microsoft to pull this off, which could give users some time to adjust, or move away to other software.

SOURCE: Business Insider