I know that in certain circles it’s de riguer to hate Microsoft. (Or Micro$oft, or Microshit, or whatever the 1337 Gates-haters are calling it today.) But in certain areas, they are obviously kicking serious ass – not only in terms of raw dollars, but the products themselves. I like Visio (yeah, I know MSFT bought Visio, but Google bought keyhole, so whatever.) And as much as I’d like to switch to Open Office, I just can’t stand to use it. And you know what else? I’ve even found that WinXP can be a tolerable Java development environment (provided you install a good bash shell and related utilities, like Cygwin) although I will never, ever prefer it to linux.
What’s the point of this? Just that Microsoft has unveiled some screenshots from the next version of Office, called Office 12. I think it looks amazing and I’m actually excited about it — far more excited than I am about Vista. It sounds like they’ve actually listened to what some people don’t like, and from a usability/sexiness standpoint, it looks mighty fine.
If Open Office wants to get a share of any kind of mainstream pie, this is the standard to which they must rise. It doesn’t take precision instruments to measure just how huge the gap is at present.
 How many freaking versions does a product need, anyway? Apparently seven…