I (briefly) installed a trial of Office 2007 on my work box, to get a glimpse of the future (since it appears that my business unit is in upgrade Siberia, it’ll be years before we see IT put it on our machines). While the wisdom of completely changing Office’s UI to the new “ribbon” device is debatable, I actually had no show stopping issues with Word, PowerPoint, or Excel.
Outlook, on the other hand, was a totally different issue.
I thought it might just be the poky Pentium M in my ThinkPad, but Outlook 2007 was significantly slower than its predecessor. So much so, I cracked about 30 days into the 90 day trial and uninstalled whole suite. It would appear I’m not alone in this experience:
The problem — which is absolutely inexcusable — is that Office 2007 (Outlook, specifically) crawls, even on this superfast machine. The hard-drive is also constantly in motion, slowing things down even more. I’m not alone in these observations. You can read other Office 2007 horror stories here and here. Despite a small .PST file — I reduced mine from close to a gig to less than 150 MB — my Intel Centrino Duo-driven notebook chugs along like a 386 trying to run an application originally written for a mainframe system. Even such tasks as composing a simple email are delayed by a few seconds before my typed words ultimately appear on the screen (and send / receives and related activities take an eternity).
The curious thing is that nothing very significant seems to have changed with Outlook 2007. Certainly nothing of the magnitude of the UI overhaul that the rest of the Office suite got, or the changes that Outlook 2003 delivered (such as the vertical right-hand reading pane). This makes the crummy performance particularly unacceptable.
I open Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to do specific things, but Outlook’s always open. Next to the browser and IM clients, it’s one of the indispensible tools of my workday. If Outlook 2007 really performs this badly for everyone else, Microsoft is going to have a big mess on their hands once customers start rolling this thing out in a big way.