The difference between Vista and Office


One of the challenges in retail is when customers buy a PC with Windows on it and think they also have Microsoft Office.  They get home all excited to write their first letter on Word and find to their dismay that it isn't installed.  From their point of view, they bought a PC with Microsoft on it and assume it will have all the applications.  This is why Office Ready PCs are a good thing because the customer does get this preinstalled. Even if they don't opt to buy Microsoft Office, with an ORPC they can use the trial and later convert it to a licensed copy online.

Gill Le Fevre, she of the Microsoft Office newsletter - yes she is a real flesh and blood person - has been running the work experience program this week on campus.  She asked the students (aged 14-18) to work in groups and come up with an explanation of the difference between Windows and Office, that would help the “average” PC shopper.

I thought I’d share the winning two explanations with you:

“The CD player”

A PC is like a CD player – when you buy it, you don’t get any music with it and have to buy that separately. Programs, like Microsoft Office, are like CDs – you buy them according to your own taste and can then play them on the CD player.

“The fishbowl”

A PC is like a fishbowl. On it’s own it doesn’t do anything. You first of all need to add water – water is like Windows. Once you’ve got water, you can then add fish (fish represent the programs you could add to a computer).


makes a change from every IT analogy being about a car 🙂

Comments (7)

  1. Quikboy says:

    Well some people that get the trial copy don’t seem to be aware it’s a 30 day trial. I see a lot of people on the Yahoo! Answer site asks why their version of Office won’t work on their new computers anymore.

    Some users explain that it’s a trial, and recommends them to use OpenOffice instead, since it’s free and will do "just enough".

    That’s why I think PC makers or retail stores should just include Home & Student by default. That way, people still get their legal copy of Office, and there’s no issues with discovering that they’re using a trial and it’s not permanent.

    People don’t like the hassle of discovering they have a trial, and having to pull some more money out for a real version, putting in the key, and all that. They expect this to work the moment they buy their computer.

    That’s my opinion at least.

  2. Xavior says:

    I was going to make a smartass comment about flushing the fish into a series of tubes to compare it to the internet. Then I thought, "What if the internet were the ocean, and the people were the fish?" then that would be pretty neat.

    This has like nothing to do with office though. I use OOo

  3. Cuberdon says:

    "One of the challenges in retail is when customers buy a PC with Windows on it and think they also have Microsoft Office.  They get home all excited to write their first letter on Word and find to their dismay that it isn’t installed."

    Oooops, I was one of these users: I thought that when you get a PC and an Operating System, you always have some nice and much needed tools with it, like an office suite, a software to burn CDs and DVDs, a tool to do some photos manipulation, a PIM system, an e-mail client, some nice games and much more…

    Well, maybe this is the way I used to think because I am using Linux ;-))


  4. dstrange says:

    well I take your point Cuberdon, you think an OS should include a productivity suite but to push back on the rest of your comment Vista does burn CD/DVDs, has photo editing built in, has Windows Live Mail, some nice games and much more…

    Also mostly new PCs do ship with Microsoft Works which wins awards as a productivity suite in its own right.  It’s just that people love Microsoft Office and don’t realise that Office is not Windows.  

  5. Marc says:

    While I was studying I worked in IT Retail, and it was common for people to assume a new PC came with Word.

    It was also just as common for them to say "Oh never mind I’ll, I’m sure my uncle/husband/son/grandma has a disc, now give me some discount!.

    It was quite a hard sell to get them to buy office as well, especially when the demo PCs usually had Works bundled for free. If you just need to write letters, and don’t need Macros or other advance functionality then it does the job.

  6. Odd Non Thinking About Microsoft says:

    "Microsoft support for ISO Open XML

    Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:37 PM by dstrange

    seems to be a good deal of chatter recently about our support for the modified version of Open XML that resulted from the rigorous ratification process.  "

    "rigorous ratification process" That’s just funny.. Microsoft stuffs ISO’s technical comiitees with it’s business partners, TC’s stil have objections, Microsoft lobbies at ISO’s management, sweaping TC’s objections from the table. And this was a "rigourous ratification process.". Yes.. and Mugabe was elected by honoust elections.

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