Smurf Is Back

After a long time off the radar my friend and kindred spirit Simon Murphy is back posting about Excel issues again.

I am sooo glad that he is back and have supported his posts with a few comments of my own.  I hope my comments support his arguments about the troubling trends out of Microsoft in their offerings called “Office” (which is actually now really called “SharePoint” I guess).  This is especially true of Excel and Access and Office Automation in general.

Oh sure, I’m excited about the potential of PowerPivot, but without a strong and promoted client Excel and client Access, and without a commitment to either VBA or another equally capable (or even better alternative – unlike their JavaScript plans) I think even PowerPivot will not lead to better, smarter, more productive and more “used” Excel solutions.  Rather I worry that the downward trend in Excel acceptance is a big loss for the business world everywhere and can only continue until they end up moving even PowerPivot away from Excel into it’s own “Cloud” application.  The marginalization of Excel may not be reversible anymore though.

I place this downward trend directly at Microsoft’s doorstep.  Only they can fix this and they will have to accept responsibility when people look back at the result.  The resemblance to this situation to that of Lotus Development back in the late 80’s is scary.

Here is a link to Simon’s blog.  Please read the last few month’s posts there for sure:


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
This entry was posted in Excel, Excel 2013, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Access 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013, Office 2013, Office Automation, PowerPivot, Spreadsheets, VBA. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Smurf Is Back

  1. Hi Dick,
    I’m an Freelance Access Developer for many years right know. As far as I can see the programming environment hasn’t changed for at least a decade. And that is really frightning.
    So there is the new thing called Power Pivot/Query/BI which I think is cool stuff. But to be honest neither one of my clients nor the IT guys I know use it in a productive environment. That scares me too.
    I also thougt that maybe Lightswitch could be the way to go for Access Developers. But to be true I haven’t heard much of it lately.
    Sometimes it seems that the Cloud and Sharepoint are the only things Microsoft cares about. That scares me the most.


    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Be scared … Be very scared 😉 …

      • Biggus Dickus says:

        Sorry about that first reply but I thought it was appropriate and funny (?) …

        I do think you should be afraid but I frankly don’t know what to do about it. Microsoft has moved Access into the SharePoint group now and I assume they will pick over the bones of the product and re-release it as a SharePoint data add-on designed for use for keeping Christmas card lists and Football stats. Despite their weak denials there is no doubt in my mind that Access on the client is going away, probably in the next version of Office. There is virtually no one left in the Access group there that has any history with Access so they have no idea what the product’s original “story” was and they have zero interest in what us “traditional” Access devs think. The only people they talk to now are the big name MVP types who have a lot invested in Access and are in no position to do anything but ride this out to the end and try to get as much of their money back out of Access as it goes down. They have no interest in what clients or people like you and I are doing with the product or how we will satisfy the needs in the future.

        I am completely discouraged and that is why I am trying to leverage the skills I have learned in Access and SQL Server into all the 30+ years of Spreadsheet development and design. Don’t know what else to do or what is a better goal given all the crappy alternatives being offered.


  2. Pingback: VBA – Quo Vadis | MS Excel | Power Pivot | DAX

  3. PowerPivot has always been part of the SharePoint group. I have a feeling they just also developed it for Excel to try and drum up more users. One of the problems I run into, is that my bosses like the capabilities of PowerPoint and it would be a great dashboard tool for report, but in a big corporate environment that is still on SP 2007, PowerPivot is a no-go.

    Lack of backwards compatibility, fragmentation of the office suite functionality (won’t go cloud – or even shared file – until I can use tables/conditional formatting/list goes on) is really making things difficult.

    • Biggus Dickus says:

      Actually PP is part of SQL Server’s analysis services group I believe … But wrapped up with Sharepoint bigtime now.

      Moving Office to the Cloud is a brave idea but we will be seeing totally different products there with totally different focuses. What drives that focus is not going to be the traditional Office way …. To a great extent I keep seeing solutions looking for a problem up there and if you have been a serious Excel or Access user it’s going to be a disappointment. That’d be fine if they also had a full parallel path on the client Office but don’t count on it …

      Hard to believe they would do this but they are…

      • Ahh, SQL Server, that’s what it was 🙂

        Seems like they are really missing out on using their cloud offering to push a more powerful desktop offering. If they could find a way to better link the two options it could have great potential. Have the desktop drive visualization on the cloud, be able to have others interact with data that is stored locally, so many options!

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