Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Loosening the grip

356 words

With Apple's recent (preview) releases of their own web browser and presentation program, many have commented already that this may be a first step in the direction of getting away from Microsoft and should in the long run come up with their own word processor and spreadsheet to get people off MS Office.

What I consider strange here are a couple of things. Firstly, Apple has a perfectly good 'Office' style application in the form of AppleWorks. It can do more than most people would ever imagine. True, it looks a bit outdated and neglected these days, but all it would need is a tiny bit of polish here and there. Who needs the so-called power of Word? Hardly anybody. And those who do, would rather go with an application that does things properly, be it using DTP package or a specialist application and save a lot of time and money that way. For most people's purposes, AppleWorks will be just fine. It even has the best integration of components I've ever seen. Quickly insert a table into your text without having to fear that you can't open the file later on. Sure, I did that back in 1993 when AppleWorks was still ClarisWorks 2 and even back then it was snappy.

So Apple has a perfectly adequate word processor. Despite people writing books called The Mac is not a Typewriter [more on the in the next post], typewriter complexity is what most people use word processors for. So, secondly, probably even TextEdit would accomodate most people's needs. (And people would even be getting things as ligatures thrown in for free there...). Using TextEdit and, thanks to OSX's nice services system, AntiWord service I can even open simple - read: most - Word files in TextEdit. At zero cost.

Of course it will probably make business sense for Apple to have a newer, flashier word processor they can ask money for. After all, word processors are mainly about making middle management forget they don't have secretaries anymore [can't find a reference for where I read this...] and not for productivity.

January 16, 2003, 20:28

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