In order to understand why Mac Word 6.0 was a crappy product, we need to understand both the historical background that led to some key decisions, and we need to understand some of the technical problems that resulted from those decisions.
Schaut was there, and his article is a great read. I’m not sure what to make of his comments that Microsoft had to do focus groups to determine why people thought Word 6 wasn’t Mac-like, and that the answer was that it wasn’t Word 5. First, it should at least have been obvious that Word 6 didn’t look right. Second, in its day, Word 5 was criticized for doing things its own way, rather than the Mac way. I was a fan of Word 5, but I don’t think these criticisms were without merit.
Word 5.1a, from 1992, with the addition of inline spell checking (the squiggly red underlines) would cover almost everything I really need to do. Yet I could never expect anyone to produce a program like that, because too many other people need different things. Word 6 was one of the earliest, and the most drastic, results of trying to keep up with the endless demands of feature creep.
Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.