ZDNet has a story showing the radically new user interface Microsoft has developed for Office 12, due in about a year.
<p>Instead of a traditional menu system Office will offer something called a ribbon, loosely based on tabbed browsing:</p> <p><a href="https://www.microsoft.com/presspass/images/features/2005/09-13Office12-Word_lg.jpg"><img src="https://www.microsoft.com/presspass/images/features/2005/09-13Office12-Word_lg.jpg" height="360" width="512" border="0"></a></p> <p>Besides the upgrade cost, Office 12 will require retraining users on the new interface. Businesses should figure on about $3500 per user to cover the license upgrade, the cost of training, the work that doesn’t get done during training, and missed opportunity costs due to mistakes made with the new interface.</p> <p>Another option would be to adopt OpenOffice.org’s suite, which is compatible with Microsoft Office files and works largely with the Office 97 to 2003 metaphor:</p> <p><a href="https://www.openoffice.org/screenshots/ooo20/windows/ooo_2b018.jpg"><img src="https://www.openoffice.org/screenshots/ooo20/windows/ooo_2b018.jpg" height="360" width="512" border="0"></a></p> <p>Besides the lack of a license fee, OpenOffice is open source software which means the software can be modified for your needs and there’s no chance of vendor lock-in. Additionally it supports the OpenDocument format that is standardized by the OASIS group and will be adopted by the State of Massachusetts by 2007.</p> <p>Best of all, there’s no need for a fork-lift upgrade - you can start migrating to OpenOffice now and do it at your pace. There are some slight differences in the menu layout - figure on budgeting about $750/user to cover the cost of time spent getting comfortable with OpenOffice.