Keep Playing, Keep Paying (11/26/01)

You may have noticed that while much of the Mac community celebrated the recent release of Microsoft Office v.X by crying tears of joy and dancing half-naked in the streets, the AtAT staff remained our usual low-key selves. The reason for that is simple; while we're pleased that Mac OS X finally has a native version of what is arguably the most important (primarily by nature of omnipresence and inertia) suite of applications to exist on this or any other platform, here at the AtAT studios, we simply don't use it. There are a few reasons for that, not the least of which is that we almost never need a word processor, a spreadsheet, or a presentation program, and on those rare occasions when we do, AppleWorks generally suffices nicely. And then there's what we'll preemptively refer to as the Crackpot Reason: we just really don't like Microsoft.

Surely that comes as a surprise to most of you, but when you're done gasping in shock, hear us out. Simply put, we don't like the idea of supporting a company that routinely bullies and/or steamrolls competitors to get ahead. You may feel otherwise, and that's fine, but we personally feel uncomfortable forking over our hard-earned cash to a corporation that not only repeatedly and unrepentantly violated antitrust law, but also now appears to be getting away with it. The thought of supporting a company that, for instance, went to Apple and said "switch from Netscape to Internet Explorer or it's curtains for Office on the Mac"-- remember, this was long before the Mac version of IE was good, or even remotely useable-- frankly gives us a wiggins. That's not to say that Microsoft's Mac Business Unit doesn't crank out some pretty spiffy Mac software these days (nice job, folks!), but unfortunately, Bill or Monkeyboy or one of those guys still ultimately signs the paychecks. So we'll pass, but thanks.

However, if you're not the type of masochist who deprives yourself of otherwise fine products purely on crackpot ethical grounds, there may be a slightly more practical reason why you might want to reconsider buying Office v.X; it apparently comes with an expiration date. We haven't confirmed this, because we don't actually use Office (have we mentioned that yet?), but faithful viewer g4Vrll tipped us off to a rather upsetting note over at MacInTouch concerning the Microsoft Product License that accompanies that software package. According to a reader, "the license clearly states that the product will 'de-activate' one year (365 days) from activation," requiring the purchase of a renewal to stay useable. Maybe it's just us, but that sounds pretty harsh for a product that retails for five hundred smackers, and whose upgrade price is at least $149.

Now, we have a feeling that this whole "breaks after a year" thing won't actually happen with v.X, since it's been noted by Microsoft itself that the product shipped without all that "activation" nonsense-- though not for lack of trying. Make no mistake; Microsoft has clearly stated that it "would have already implemented the activation mechanisms in Office v. X, if [they] had had the time and the people for it." So enjoy it while it lasts, people, because the writing's on the wall; this may be the last version of Office that you can buy instead of rent. Personally, we opt for neither-- but we're funny that way.

SceneLink (3413)
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The above scene was taken from the 11/26/01 episode:

November 26, 2001: Sure, the iPod's a hot item-- but Apple expects its stores to sell how many every hour? Meanwhile, a scary clause in the Microsoft Product License accompanying Office v.X has some people climbing the walls, and now there's still one more reason to love the Power Mac G4: it's apparently fireproof...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3412: Want A Whole Lotta 'Pods (11/26/01)   Well, we're back; basically we spent all of last Thanksgiving Thursday split between the baffling ordeal of food preparation and the wanton consumption of twice our weight in Tofurky, Katie's famous mashed potatoes, three kinds of stuffing, and two pies-- after which we caught the last two hours of the Buffy marathon and then collapsed into a profound food coma...

  • 3414: Put That Puppy Out To Stud (11/26/01)   Still think they just don't make 'em like they used to? True, Apple's quality control appears to have slipped a few notches in recent years-- Cubes with "cracks," PowerBooks that electrically shock people, etc.-- but every once in a while we hear about some poor Mac that's been subjected to, shall we say, "unfriendly conditions" and bounced back like a champ...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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