I never once thought this day would come. When I was graduating, my advisor told me that he would denounce me as his student if I went to work for Microsoft. (The fact that I went to Redmond and almost went to work for Microsoft remained a semi-secret to him for a long time!).
I’m not a Microsoft fan by any means and I actually think there are a lot of products that are done better by other people. But, I do think that when it comes to productivity apps, Microsoft got it right. Especially with calendar.
Strictly as mail clients, Mac mail and Gmail work just fine, but as an integrated calendaring and email tool, Outlook is leaps and bounds better. And, I’m not talking about the integration with Exchange – I’m only referring to the frontend usability here. How does a calendaring tool get away without the ability to look at the invitees’ calendars while scheduling a meeting? Or, the ability to click on a meeting and email the invitees? Or, the ability to include a note in the response to a meeting request? The lack of integration between the email and calendar aspects in Mac mail and Gmail makes those so unbelievably behind in functionality from Outlook!
Now on to iWorks or Google Docs vs the rest of MS Office. Word is alright and on balance, not substantially better than its equivalent ‘i’ and ‘G’ tools. But, Powerpoint vs. Presently is a comparison that will surely end in favor of Microsoft in its current stage. But then again, Keynote has it beat, especially with its feature of creating and using multiple Masters in a deck.
The reality is that the memory management in Microsoft software packages suck and that causes a horrible experience in any intensive piece of software. Ever tried using wacky Powerpoint templates that consume large amounts of memory and keeping them open for hours while working on them? Well, probably not, given that your state-of-the-art machine would have come to a crawl long before the lapse of a few hours! But, on the calendar front, I have to say I really do miss Outlook!