NPD claims Office 2010 retail sales have so far been "disappointing"

Early figures from analytics group NPD released today suggest Office 2010 sales have been "a bit disappointing" since it was made available to consumers two weeks ago.

According to NPD figures, sales have been below that of the first two weeks of Office 2007's launch, with suggestions the new release faces a much more "saturated market" that has been forced into upgrading at a "very high rate" in recent times.

"Selling such a heavily used product into a base that has already been upgrading at a very high rate is an enormous challenge," Stephen Baker, the Vice President for NPD Industry Analysis wrote today on the company blog.

"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."

NPD also suggests the launch time of Office 2010, during the Summer -- the quietest technology season of the year-- could also be a contributing factor to the poor results, given Office 2007 was launched in the much more busy holiday shopping season. 

There is some good news though for Microsoft, with the new Office 2010 key card, which allows users buying a new computer to activate the copy of Office pre-installed for a cheaper price, performing strongly, accounting for around one-third of all copies of 2010 purchased so far. And while sales have been below that of the first two weeks of Office 2007, they are, says NPD, "in line, and in fact slightly ahead of, sales trends of Office 2007 so far this year."

But in a blow to cloud-based office suites such as Google Docs and Zoho, NPD says the impact these are having on Office 2010 sales is minimal, with most consumers still unaware of their existence.

"These products have little awareness among the mainstream consumer who is the retail boxed version’s primary customer," Baker explained, noting that eventually, and "over time" some slowdown in sales may occur.

"Mainstream consumers have not embraced the concept of the cloud, nor are they likely in the short to mid-term, making most of the questions around free software moot."

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As a student, the only program in Office 2010 I've been using a lot recently has been Outlook (for email). I used the 2010 beta for a while, loved it, and bought my full copy as soon as the crazy academic deals came out (Office Pro Plus x64 for $65!). I'm also stoked that Visio got a 2010 update (and stoked that Visio is available through MSDNAA).
I'm sure as university session starts again in the fall I'll find a bunch more new/improved features - I already prevented a major screw-up with the emergency save on Word 2010.

You guys are a little short-sighted. This product is not for current 2007 users. It's the hold-outs still on 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Besides, back to school shopping season is just around the corner. Students/Parents of students will be opening their wallets soon enough.

MemphisNET said,
You guys are a little short-sighted. This product is not for current 2007 users. It's the hold-outs still on 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Besides, back to school shopping season is just around the corner. Students/Parents of students will be opening their wallets soon enough.

Precisely.

When it launched almost certainly meant no rush of *I need this NOW!* sales (high-school and college seniors are graduating, and other HS and college students are usually NOT thinking in terms of any software other than games, and certainly not productivity suites). Those customers that would normally consider it (businesses, especially enterprises) have a poor economy to deal with (so they are in no rush to upgrade/switchh, either).

It comes as no surprise. Look at the pricing! Then, add the insult of no upgrade path from Office 2007. What was MS thinking? I can a very long life for Office 2003 and Office 2007.

my company kindly purchased 2010 for me after i had beta tested for over a year. having used it for so long now, it just doesnt seem any different. sure, a couple UI changes, integrated Print Preview and 64-bit is cool... nothing else i use. idk, perhaps i should dive deeper into the new features.

The way I see it, Office 2003 had toolbars and menus. When Office 2007 came out with most applications branding the new ribbon and no menu, some people panicked, but eventually understood that the ribbon is more inviting for you to use more features and it is easier to use them instead of having to dig into long menus. But Office 2007 is not completely revamped with the ribbons since many applications such as outlook, Visio, etc still use toolbars and menus. Office 2010 was necessary to standarize the new GUI. It adds some great features like the insert screenshot and screen clipping streamlined across apps. It is more consistent than before and now includes a 64 bit version. However, Office is a very mature software and its functionalities many times exceed user's needs. For all I care, most people could do all they need on document creation and editing with just Wordpad in Win 7. So it is not a product that people will rush to buy, except if you are an student, for whom it is needed and is way cheaper, or a corporation with a proactive IT department, in a good financial situation.

See here's the thing. I run 2007 at home, and legitimately have it on 3 machines. It completely satisfies my needs and so as much as "having the latest version" is a bandwagon I generally follow, I have no need nor financial desire to upgrade.

I actually downgraded from 2010 to 2007, as it didn't run as quick as 2007. Didn't think much of the UI refresh and i had a few extra crashes in Word and Excel then i did in 2007.

However i didn't really expect too much in this revision or the next as you can only refresh a line after x number of years. 2007 is a solid office product with some great features over 2003, to me 2010 seemed to be about brining the ribbon to the apps that didn't make the cut in 2007, outlook, visio, project etc..

Outlook 2010 has a killer feature for me - multiple Exchange accounts. You don't need create multiple profiles any more. And this is goooood!

cpu said,
Outlook 2010 has a killer feature for me - multiple Exchange accounts. You don't need create multiple profiles any more. And this is goooood!

For me, it's not multiple Exchange accounts, but hands-off e-mail configuration for both POP3 and IMAP (it even handles GMail's rather tricky secured IMAP settings hands-off, which is something no other IMAP client does).

Just like everyone else, I don't see much of a change in 2010 either when compared to 2007. You also have to realize that people do not have $300 to $500 dollars to just throw away anymore. People are making due with what they have and are busy focusing on survival. When is America going to wake up and realize that you just can't keep high prices on items anymore? You have to come down to where the consumers pockets are right now and that is close to broke.

Well, it's summer. Students don't need it until the fall semester, and many large businesses take their time upgrading software.

While I've looked at Google Docs I haven't seen enough in Office 2010 to make me consider going to it over OpenOffice or Lotus Symphony. Since Microsoft doesn't see the need to offer upgrade pricing to their users anymore I really don't see the need to continue to buy their program. I stopped using Office on my home PCs around the introduction of Office 2000 and have tried several alternatives. WordPerfect Office, Lotus SmartSuite, Sun's StarOffice and many others were considered and tried over the years and I ended up using OpenOffice or a variant of that program. The interface changes brought about in Office 2007 made the program more difficult for old users to relate to and the introduction of the .docx extension made the program less compatible with older versions.

Microsoft has made a lot of money on the program over the years (I've purchased Word for DOS, Word for Windows 3.1 and upgraded to MS Office 4.0, 95, 97 and 2000). I just don't need all of the bells and whistles that come with the latest versions of MS Office and will continue to use free or low-cost alternatives.

Whilst I agree there are some good alternatives Office applications are still far superior. I currently use Google Docs for home stuff which is a great product but the editors are still very basic when comparing it to Office.
Personally though, paying £200 for a piece of software that I use very rarely at home is daft. For now Microsoft your making me stay with Google Docs.

SK[ said,]Whilst I agree there are some good alternatives Office applications are still far superior. I currently use Google Docs for home stuff which is a great product but the editors are still very basic when comparing it to Office.
Personally though, paying £200 for a piece of software that I use very rarely at home is daft. For now Microsoft your making me stay with Google Docs.

docs.live.com

At 9.99 through Microsoft Home Use Program, it was a no brainer, and much improved over 2007...like Windows 7, I believe this is like Office 2007 should have been...

MS Office's biggest competitor is MS Office. Nobody understands that better than Microsoft themselves. There were plenty of businesses that held off on upgrading from Office 2003 to Office 2007. I imagine there will be a lot more upgrades from Office 2003 than from Office 2007.

I will be upgrading to Office 2010 by the end of August for the beginning of the school season. Though thinking about it, I am still attached to my Office 2007 Ultimate and Student (I received Ultimate from Microsoft because of a project I did, and I bought Student when it was released with Vista)

Stetson said,
Has it really even been advertised? I wouldn't have known that it came it out if I didn't read Neowin.

true it does feel they just released it with no commercials, but to be fair I've never seen commercials and don't remember any for 2007. Microsoft only seems to advertise Windows and Xbox.

That said I just got my copy due to government discount, the only reason I would have gotten it anytime soon. 2007 was doing the job, but can't say now to $10 for 2010 pro lol.

Stetson said,
Has it really even been advertised? I wouldn't have known that it came it out if I didn't read Neowin.

On release, the CNN website was plastered with Office 2010 banner ads. Other than that, I don't think I've seen any ads for it.

I think I'll hold off on 2010, but I'm definitely thinking of going to it just to fix the Aero Peek issues in Office 2007.
And Outlook.

billyea said,
I think I'll hold off on 2010, but I'm definitely thinking of going to it just to fix the Aero Peek issues in Office 2007.
And Outlook.

I've used 2007 quite a bit and I don't recall any peek issues. What are they?

I like the new Outlook, but it takes quite a few seconds more to load. I'm not pleased.

i installed the beta of Office 2010, still use it and its awesome. I can't see my self spending the money to upgrade though and may have to go back to 2007 if it expires.

i feel like we are getting to a point with software, that there are fewer and fewer releases that make me need to spend the money to upgrade. Office is getting to the point were the number of incentives is a lot less compared to the price. Its even starting to show with OS's there is less of the "wow" factor for the amount spending

I think the issue is that a lot of people don't really need office atm. Office 2010 was released a week after school ended, I don't have a need for office 2010. Holiday season will probably give them a lot of sales.

Exactly. I tried the beta and actually found the interface to be a backwards step - I was very unimpressed. Factor in the high pricing, the lack of any compelling new features and how good a product Office 2007 was and still it and Office 2010 is a pretty hard sell.

The decision to scrap upgrades and considerably increase the price make it an easy skip. They completely missed the mark.

TOOLaudiofan said,
After beta testing 2010... there really isn't anything I need in it that 2007 doesn't have...
And the price, especially if you're an Outlook user.

TOOLaudiofan said,
After beta testing 2010... there really isn't anything I need in it that 2007 doesn't have...

Yup I personal think it was a waste of time 2007 is more than enough, I don't see any new features in 2010 that would entice to even take a shot at it. Man come on steve ballmer stop f**king up. First Vista, then the kin and now this. I really hope the window phone 7 phones or whateva the hell they are called is a success cause this guy is pretty much failing.

Oh and to people who want to say that windows 7 is a success and its a brand new system, I say its BS. Yeah windows 7 is stable but its only vista "done right" because almost everything is the same just with xtra features and a new visual layout. They could have atleast changed the sounds...

TOOLaudiofan said,
After beta testing 2010... there really isn't anything I need in it that 2007 doesn't have...

DirectX accelerated PowerPoints + older machines with decent graphics = heaven

TOOLaudiofan said,
After beta testing 2010... there really isn't anything I need in it that 2007 doesn't have...

After beta testing 2010, I got a free complimentary copy of Office 2010.

thenonhacker said,

After beta testing 2010, I got a free complimentary copy of Office 2010.

I was a beta tester and I didn't get that memo!

Biglo said,

Yup I personal think it was a waste of time 2007 is more than enough, I don't see any new features in 2010 that would entice to even take a shot at it. Man come on steve ballmer stop f**king up. First Vista, then the kin and now this. I really hope the window phone 7 phones or whateva the hell they are called is a success cause this guy is pretty much failing.

Oh and to people who want to say that windows 7 is a success and its a brand new system, I say its BS. Yeah windows 7 is stable but its only vista "done right" because almost everything is the same just with xtra features and a new visual layout. They could have atleast changed the sounds...

And you hit ti right on the money. Windows 7 is Windows Vista done correctly. Windows Mobile 7 is goign to fall flat. They should have focused more on making 6.5 better.

Biglo said,

Oh and to people who want to say that windows 7 is a success and its a brand new system, I say its BS. Yeah windows 7 is stable but its only vista "done right" because almost everything is the same just with xtra features and a new visual layout. They could have atleast changed the sounds...

Vista is NT 6.0, Windows 7 is NT 6.1 so you are ranting about the obvious ....

Biglo said,

Yup I personal think it was a waste of time 2007 is more than enough, I don't see any new features in 2010 that would entice to even take a shot at it. Man come on steve ballmer stop f**king up. First Vista, then the kin and now this. I really hope the window phone 7 phones or whateva the hell they are called is a success cause this guy is pretty much failing.

Oh and to people who want to say that windows 7 is a success and its a brand new system, I say its BS. Yeah windows 7 is stable but its only vista "done right" because almost everything is the same just with xtra features and a new visual layout. They could have atleast changed the sounds...

Then you obviously don't consider a jump to x64 (and so far, they are the only such productivity suite) to be reason enough.

I pointed out in the forums (especially in the thread I started concerning the x64 version of Office 2010) that x64 in terms of Office is vastly preferred compared to x32 (same suite) for performance reasons alone (even if, like me, you tend to use Word and Outlook most of all). However, because most users barely scratch the surface of the capabilities of even Word or Outlook, I can understand your reticence to upgrade.

The biggest reason for my crossgrading is a feature that was seldom used in 2007 (by most users) - PDF conversion. Why it was seldom used was understandable enough; it was dog-slow (in fact, it was so slow that add-in PDF conversion tools were faster than the native converter). 2010 x64 fixes the performance issues to the point that I've banished using a plug-in or add-in.

TOOLaudiofan said,
After beta testing 2010... there really isn't anything I need in it that 2007 doesn't have...

exactly... my company upgraded to office 2007 and i dont see a compelling reason for them to upgrade to 2010

I've been running Office 2003 then upgraded to 2010 Beta, so I thought it was quite nice and will pay for it when the beta expires. But yes, no need to upgrade 2007.