Recently I have had a personal electronic chain reaction that I didn't see coming. I have been a dual boot guy for a while installing both MacOSX and Windows 7 on both my home office computer and my laptop. I have never really been able to make the switch to MacOSX because I really need Office to available to me including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. Anything less is a nonstarter for me. Don't even talk to me about Google Mail – I'm not listening, Gmail sucks just get over it. But, I think Google in its enterprise push of Gmail, just opened up the Mac as a viable platform for me..
Stuck on Windows Island…
Because of my need for Office I have been locked out of really considering the Mac for anything other than an occasional development platform for some experimentation or a video production platform when I have create the last minute DVD for one of the girls school projects. I have also been convinced that this is exactly the way Microsoft intended it.
Fool me once, I decided to try Office 2011 for the Mac…
When I upgraded to the new Macbook Air a couple weeks ago I installed Office 2011 for the Mac. My expectations were super low as Microsoft never gets it right. The old mac version of Powerpoint was dog slow, specially changing slides. All the controls in all the old Office apps were totally organized differently and used a completely different metaphor for how they worked. And, of course, Outlook just wasn't there. Instead Microsoft supplied Entourage. Not like the cool Entourage with biatch's and Hoos and Ari Gold, but the stupid kind that gets built by a nerd in a closet at Microsoft that isn't allowed to talk to anyone for 24 months.
But wait, much to my surprise, they got it right – really right
In fact they got it so right that it's much better than the windows version of Office 2011. Specifically, the historically absent Outlook is significantly better than the windows version. Outlook for the mac has the unified inbox that the windows version can't do. The windows version inconsistently asks for my login information even though I have clicked the 'remember this crap' button. In the mac version when you start to type someone's name in the address line, it gives you options from real people you have sent to before and items from your contacts divided logically. The windows version of outlook uses some kind of 'dain bramaged' lookup for addresses that favors someone you had a hostile email exchange with 4 years ago or you simple don't know at all. I don't know what Outlook on windows thinks you are saving all those contacts for, but their apparently not for emailing to.
So, as it was Office 2011 has come to be my gateway drug..
I now use Mac OS about 50% of time and when I travel, 100% of the time. My new Macbook Air boots and wakes up so fast using MacOSX and the Airs lack of rotating hard drive that it literally is almost as fast as the iPad. It's not instant on, but it's really-fast-on, like 15 seconds. Windows on my bootcamp partition has so many other things to do, like ignore about my contacts that it's just a pain to boot up, or even wake up – it's like a drugged overweight fat guy in the center seat on your flight to NY (obscure reference but provides a real life reference for me).
Is Google Gmail my benefactor?
I ask myself why Microsoft actually released Office 2011 for the Mac? I'm convinced they saw this kind of thing coming. They had to know that if people reliant on Office could use Office on other OS's they would and be free to choose something other than Windows. They knew what they were doing. Microsoft is getting its hand forced and the first evidence was a while back when the iPhone was allowed to connect to exchange. Microsoft is afraid of losing the Exchange franchise, and in order to support exchange and the office suite, they need more things to connect. They are being forced to become more open with the platform. Not because they love you, because Google is just going to give it all away for free. Microsoft is so afraid of losing office they are throwing Windows under the bus to retain users.
I think over the next few years Google and Apple are going to peck Microsoft to death like a wild flock of ducks. It's kind of fun to watch, from my iPad through my Slingbox J