Do you really need Microsoft when you have a Mac?

Okay. People who know me know I am a complete, dyed-in-the-wool, come-back-for-a-second-cup-of-the-Kool-Aid Machead. I’ll admit it. I am also a Microsoft-hater. Writing a dissertation on a Dell box running Windows Me will do that to you. However, I’ve used Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac since I bought my PowerBook back in ’04.

I’ve never been happy with it.

Word has always run like a brick (it seems to be even worse on my Intel Mac Mini on campus), I’ve never liked the aesthetics of Excel, and PowerPoint has always seemed like a loser since I tried Keynote for the first time. But I’ve stuck with Microsoft Office because I felt I needed it to stay compatible with my setup on campus.

But is it really necessary? I’ve been told by several people I trust that the conversion process to and from Windows Office formats in iWork ’08 (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) is pretty good unless you get too crazy with the Macros. I can pick that up for $79 (contrast that with the recently announced prices for Office 2008 for Mac starting at $150 for the student edition $400 if you want exchange server connectivity). I’ve also been dying to try Nisus Writer Pro (which is compatible with Endnote now) and Scrivner. All of these are interoperable with the Office formats.

So if you can get a better product at a lower price, why not try something non-Microsoft? I’ve had an increasingly difficult time figuring out why I should delay the Year of Leaving Microsoft (For Good!). I use Google products for my feed reading, email, calendar, and occasionally Docs and Spreadsheets. It’s not like Microsoft Office is really all that essential to my daily worklife. Afterall, I stopped accepting or sending Microsoft documents by mail years ago.

So that’s it. I’m a Mac user in a world where you don’t need Microsoft anymore. Good Mac-based products and Web Office products (like Google Apps) serve my needs just as well, if not better. I’ll be switching over to Keynote for presentations exclusively in January, Numbers for my limited spreadsheet and gradebook needs, and Nisus Writer Pro and Scrivner for writing (Ecto for blogging).

Any other folks on the Microsoft exodus train? I’d love to hear from you. I’d also love to hear from you if your a Mac-user who’s decided to stay on the Microsoft bandwagon for one reason or another.



Filed under Apple, Random Thoughts, Technology

2 responses to “Do you really need Microsoft when you have a Mac?

  1. Brett N

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Dr. Rice. I loathe having to open up Word and have migrated all of my writing to Google Docs (I don’t need very much most of the time). I open Word only when I’m ready to copy and paste from Google Docs. I got tired of one too many crashes from Word while I was taking notes in Biology…

    I also can’t stand the sluggish behavior of the program on my Intel Mac Mini. It runs decently on my old iBook G4, but it churns out a simple document slower than I can edit photos with the also non-native Photshop CS2.

    I’ll be interested to hear the transition away from Microsoft products entirely. I’ve heard it’s possible, but haven’t been willing to try. It’ll definitely save me a few bucks to buy iWorks instead of Office 2008…

  2. ThaddeusLee

    Office ’04 runs great on my Macbook Pro, took some time getting used to after using the Windows XP office, though. Ever tried open office, Dr. Rice? some like it better than Microsoft office…and it’s free.

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