BETWEEN THE LINES
By John Klossner
A NEW DAY DAWNS
In 2011, worldwide
units higher than the
combined sales of laptops.
desktops, tablets and
Office 15 Public
Beta Due This
Factory Conditions Elicit Little Outcry
AMID RENEWED REPORTS of poor working conditions in China at factories making products for Apple and other companies, it’s unclear
whether users will demand change.
Some Apple customers at the recent Mac-world/i World show in San Francisco seemed
to react with a shrug to a lengthy story in The
New York Times that alleged poor working
conditions at Chinese factories operated by
Apple contractors. The story described fatal
accidents and long hours, as well as crowded
living conditions in dorms near the factories.
The report is unlikely to change Apple customers’ buying habits, said Steve Hathaway,
a show attendee from Hercules, Calif. “Most
companies get their stuff made elsewhere
because it’s cheaper,” he said.
Asked if Apple customers would pay more for
products from factories with safer conditions,
Hathaway said, “Apple already has a premium
price; you’d think they should be doing some-
thing on their end of it to make it right.”
Victor Cajiao, who runs the website
TypicalMacUser.com, said he thinks attitudes
will eventually change. But, he added, this
isn’t purely an Apple problem: Many of the
factories with dicey practices also make prod-
ucts for other technology vendors.
Microsoft has kicked off a “
technical preview” of the next version of
its Office suite and promised that a
public beta will ship this summer.
The move is a repeat of the route
Microsoft took with Office 2010,
which was distributed to a select
group of testers as a technical preview in July 2010.
In a recent blog post that announced the preview, Microsoft said
little about “Office 15,” the code
name for the product, and nothing
about the new Word, Excel, Outlook
and PowerPoint component applications.
“I’m not able to share too much
about Office 15, but I can tell you
Office 15 is the most ambitious
undertaking yet for the Office Divi-
sion,” wrote P. J. Hough, the execu-
tive who heads the division. “With
Office 15, for the first time ever,
we will simultaneously update our
cloud services, servers and mobile
and PC clients for Office, Office 365,
Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project
Hough said the Office 15 techni-
cal preview was “already full,” but
added that “everyone will have the
opportunity to try the Office 15 pub-
lic beta later this summer.”
He did not specify a date or set a
month for the beta’s availability.