According to a recent study by the industry analyst group NPD, initial sales of Microsoft Office 2010 have been "disappointing". This is despite widespread acclaim from both critics and users alike. Indeed, we deemed it worthy of a 10/10 score and an Editor's Choice award.
According to senior NDP analyst, Stephen Baker, the reasoning seems to primarily be because of a saturated install base with mostly satisfied customers.
In an NPD blog post he explained, "Selling such a heavily used product into a base that has already been upgrading at a very high rate is an enormous challenge. While Office 2010 has many compelling new features, it is always an uphill battle to sell a high installed base product based on new features alone,"
He also goes on to point out that part of the reason is a more incremental feel to 2010's updates. While there's lots of extra functionality under its skin, it doesn't have the clearly different look and feel that Office 2007 debuted.
Interestingly, the slow sales rate seems to have little to do with free alternatives like Google Docs, Open Office, or Microsoft's own online Office 2010. Something that Baker attributes to the general public's lack of awareness of these products (we'd tend to agree).
Of course, while we don't doubt the accuracy of NPD's findings, what the study doesn't seem to fully grasp is the nature of the modern market. For one thing the vast majority of sales of Office are corporate, and companies are seldom known for their rapid uptake of new versions of software. So with only a couple of weeks on the market, there's no surprise there. The other main point is that for home users Office has long since provided all the basics required so we know of few people that, owning a copy of Office that's not completely deprecated, would buy a new copy.
What are your thoughts? Have you been tempted by Office 2010, did you pick up 2007, are you still using 2003, or are you one of those savy people that uses the free alternatives?