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Microsoft Slams Office 2019 in Office 365 Ads

(Image credit: dennizn/Shutterstock)

Most businesses are fond of animalistic aphorisms. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world.” “Eat or be eaten.” But new ads for Office 365 that criticize Office 2019 makes it seem like Microsoft would rather chomp on its own tail than compete with other companies.

The ads in question pit Office 365 and Office 2019 users against each other in productivity contests. The user with Office 365 always wins by miles, compared to the person who "just had Office 2019." 

The kindest way of looking at these ads would be to say that Microsoft doesn’t even consider Google Docs, Apple’s iWork and similar offerings as true competitors to Office. It’s like breathing: yeah, there are many elements in the air, but most aren’t even worth discussing because oxygen is the most vital.

But this ad-ouroboros is unsettling because it sees Microsoft portray one of its products as, well, bad. The ads make it clear that the company doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019—a product it made and named after the current year—because it’s outdated. The company isn’t necessarily wrong, considering it released Office 2019 back in 2018. And because Office 365 is subscription-based, it gets constant updates, but there’s no guarantee those updates will be released for Office 2019. And that’s ignoring the advantages Office 365 has as a web-based service over the native version.

Yet the only way for Office 2019 to become outdated, and the only way for it to lack features compared to Office 365, is for Microsoft to neglect the platform. Does the company expect to be praised for selling a product it thinks is inferior, or portraying the people who use that product as worse off?

blog post this week by Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jared Spataro reads: “On the flipside, Office 2019 also delivers full installs of the Office apps we know and love—but they’re ‘frozen in time.’ They don’t ever get updated with new features, and they’re not cloud-connected. Also, Office 2019 doesn’t support real-time coauthoring across apps, and it doesn’t have the amazing AI-powered capabilities that come with Office 365.”

Look, we aren’t saying we want to see a couple dogs eat each other. But at least that metaphor aptly portrays the idea that people and businesses have to be ruthless in their competition with each other. Microsoft applied that ruthlessness to itself.

  • philipemaciel
    "and they’re not cloud-connected" - a much welcome feature! W10 updates forever erasing your personal files, anyone?

    AD: "and it doesn’t have the amazing AI-powered capabilities" — Reality (per Tom's homepage): Microsoft Doesn't Want Flawed AI to Hurt its Rep
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Never thought I'd see a company in 2019 release an ad critical of its' own products, but that is what happens when you live in a world of mega mergers and giant conglomerates. :ange:
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    They want you to stop using Office 2019 (and older) in favor of their continuous revenue product. They realize many people have noticed that a new version of Office is unnecessary for what they do... so they have to make the older type, traditional, product look bad to encourage you to buy into their continuous cash-flow model.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    21749690 said:
    They want you to stop using Office 2019 (and older) in favor of their continuous revenue product. They realize many people have noticed that a new version of Office is unnecessary for what they do... so they have to make the older type, traditional, product look bad to encourage you to buy into their continuous cash-flow model.

    Many people would be more than happy with Office 2010 (or even 2007).
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    21749690 said:
    They want you to stop using Office 2019 (and older) in favor of their continuous revenue product. They realize many people have noticed that a new version of Office is unnecessary for what they do... so they have to make the older type, traditional, product look bad to encourage you to buy into their continuous cash-flow model.

    Ah, so abandon the one-time purchase static product in favor of a continuously updated model that relies on ads and micro transactions? Got it.
    Reply
  • premomh
    @SHRAPNEL_INDIE - Absolutely... I've got 3 seperate machines that run Office 2003, 2007 and 2013 respectively. Don't really see the need to continuously upgrade... They do what I need. Beyond that - LibreOffice looks pretty good to me...

    But yeah, like you said - the continuous cash-flow model is all Microsoft cares about, not providing a solid user experience.
    Reply
  • sadsteve1952
    Since I'm retired now, Microsoft Office is just overkill. I went with Libre Office and I'm completely satisfied for my use case. Another plus is that Libre Office is available for Windows and for Linux (I dual boot).
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    I recently upgraded to 2019 from 2016.
    The main reason, is because I can get it for $15 from work.

    If not for that, I'd still be on 2010 or LibreOffice.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    I still don't understand why I should continuously pay for office every year (forever) when my copy of office 2010 does absolutely everything (and more) than most people could ever want out of their word processing/slideshow/spreadsheet apps.
    It does it faster too, because office 2010 doesn't hide the scroll bar randomly or add infuriatingly slow animations (that can't be disabled) on top of everything.

    Heck, their basic features haven't even changed much since 2003. All they do is just repackage the same core behind progressively worse interfaces and gimmicks that end up taking more time to learn than they actually save.
    Reply
  • JohnMD1022
    Office 2000 still works fine.

    And my wife uses Libre Office.
    Reply