Anil Dash is right: MS Office 2007 is a ballsy upgrade. I have to admit that when I saw screenshots of the new ribbon UI, I thought it looked snazzy but didn’t think it would make a difference. After all, one of the surest ways to make a minor upgrade appear more substantial is to change how the toolbars look – something that Office has done with every version.
But I’ve been using the beta for a couple of weeks, and I’m impressed. I wrote a few design documents with the new Word 2007, and I kept finding little changes that made a big difference (like how mousing over a style gives you a preview of how that style will affect the current selection).
Usability is the most important feature of any application, and the improved usability of the new MS Office is by far its best new feature. I agree with Anil that Microsoft has made a risky bet by so radically changing Office’s UI, and it’s a bet that will pay off.
PS: Anil is also right that Jenson Harris has the best Microsoftie blog – I read every new post he writes, a claim I can make for only a handful of blogs.