Danny O’Brien, as an aside while talking about something else, makes a wonderfully resonant statement:
One of my big bones with MS stuff is that it always makes me feel like I’m eating out of the trash bins outside a cubicle farm. All of their software is designed to help busy executives plan their lives. Everyone I know uses it to try and write birthday cards and chat with their friends. When people use Microsoft Office they use it anywhere but in an office. Microsoft knows this – but it also knows that the money comes from their corporate clients, so there’s a limit to how much it can bend its software toward a wider customer base. Ultimately when you use MS software, you’re not the end user MS perceives at all: we’re just living off the scraps Microsoft leaves out after feeding its big customers. This is especially true of their super-smart agent tech. Every demo I’ve seen presumes so much about how it’s going to be used in an office environment that I can’t imagine using it anywhere else.
Part of what I like about what Apple is doing with Mac OS X is that they’ve redefined “productivity” away from the office and towards helping people do other things with computers: photos, music, videos.