Office 2011 Service Pack 2

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
April 17th, 2012 • 3:54 pm

Microsoft recently released an update called Service Pack 2 for its Office 2011 suite of Mac OS X applications. And here’s what the icon of the updater looks like:


Is there a better illustration of how little Microsoft cares about the quality and polish of their Mac OS X software? They cannot even be bothered to make sure that the icon looks decent.

(UPDATE: A reader has written to indicate he cannot reproduce the problem on his machine. I can reproduce it in both my regular user environment and a separate, customization-free user environment that I use for testing purposes. On the other hand, I cannot reproduce it on another Mac Pro I have running Mac OS X 10.6. So your mileage may vary, and there might be something else at play here. But that’s the thing with Microsoft’s products: they are never able to make sure that their software works well in all circumstances. There is always something that can and will go wrong, at least for some people. Maybe it’s really not their fault in this particular case, but my experience tells me that there is a good chance that it is, and the chances that Microsoft’s software will not behave properly in all circumstances are always much higher than for any other software company, except possibly Adobe. The usual excuse is that their software is abnormally complex, but who’s fault is that anyway? Pages ’09 is fairly complex too, and it does not have such problems. The standard that Microsoft software should be judged against is other Mac OS X software. And in that comparison Microsoft always loses.)

Of course, the installer itself is the usual load of crap, forcing you to quit Safari in order to proceed with the installation, whether you care to use any of its web-based software or not:


Any decent, well-behaved Mac OS X developer invites users to proceed with the installation without having to quit their browser if they wish to do so, just advising them that some functionality might not work properly until the browser is restarted. But, as we all know, Microsoft is not a decent, well-behaved Mac OS X developer. (I also checked after the update, and the most recent piece of Microsoft crap in my Internet Plug-Ins folder is a copy of the Silverlight plug-in from… August 2011. So I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that SP2 forces you to quit Safari even though it does not install anything that affects Safari!)

And of course, the updater fixes none of the most glaring issues, including, for example, the fact that you cannot include a forward slash in your file name. (Word 2011 will refuse to open it.) Given that the Service Pack only weighs a little over 100 MB, this is hardly surprising. In fact, with so few fixes, one wonders how they can justify calling it a “service pack” at all.

It’s all very depressing for Office 2011 users. To lift you out of this depressing mood, I strongly suggest alternatives, such as Pages ’09. They are not ideal, but at least you don’t have to deal with all this crap on a daily basis, only when you absolutely have to use Office.

One Response to “Office 2011 Service Pack 2”

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