August 10th, 2006 • 3:26 pm
As indicated in my post about Apple’s WWDC earlier this week, Microsoft has announced that they are terminating Virtual PC and eliminating support for Visual Basic in Office applications for the Mac.
Now Microsoft’s MacBU bloggers are in damage control mode and trying to justify the decision. Here’s what Rick Schaut has to say:
Many people who are not at all familiar with the exigencies of software development look at Microsoft’s balance sheet, and the maxim that anything’s possible in this industry, and wonder whether or not we’re pulling their legs. They don’t understand that the constraining resource isn’t money. It’s people.
If I understand Rick Schaut correctly, what he’s really saying is that, simply put, Microsoft’s MacBU is unable to attract the talented people that it would need to maintain and improve their applications. There are many talented Mac developers out there, but obviously not too many of them are interested in working for Microsoft’s MacBU.
And that’s hardly surprising. Who would want to try and work on products that have been so obviously flawed for so many years, especially when there is no indication that the parent company is actually willing to start all over and develop something really great for the Mac?
This admission by Rick Schaut simply confirms what we have known for years, i.e. that Microsoft will never, ever be either willing or able to fix Office for the Mac, and that all we will continue to get from them are the same flawed, crappy products, with a sprinkling of new features that nobody uses and that make the performance of the applications even worse, and with periodic cuts in important functionality that people actually use, like Visual Basic macro scripting.
Personally, I am far too disillusioned to even be upset. Yes, I do use Visual Basic macros quite a bit in Microsoft Word myself, and the loss of that functionality will be rather irritating. But it will just prompt me to renew my efforts to reduce my dependence on Microsoft even further. I will try to write AppleScript scripts to replicate the functionality that my macros provide, but if it’s too hard I will simply give up and try to reduce my use of Word even further.
I won’t ever be able to become entirely Microsoft-free, because of the factors described in this post, but I will do my best, and I will certainly continue to discourage the Mac users I know and support from purchasing Microsoft products. Microsoft has just given me more ammunition to justify my recommendations.
Microsoft is a company that cannot be trusted, and relying on them for your daily computer work is a form of masochism. The only reasonable thing you can do is to try to eliminate Microsoft products from your daily work as much as possible.