Pros Streamlined interface, aesthetically pleasing
Cons Biggest changes are largely cosmetic, new learning curve, confusing packaging
Summary Though my purchase was specifically the Small Business edition, much of what I have to say can translate over to other versions of the Office 2007 System. In particular, my very initial experience with the box itself can also apply to Windows Vista. I have as of this writing not yet seen complaints about the IQ puzzle box that houses Microsoft's new products, but I fully expect it to become an ongoing topic and the subject of countless jokes and complaints. I also fully expect the packaging to change in a year or so in response to all of these forthcoming complaints. Aside from being bulkier than the simple DVD clamshell of its predecessor, the plastic casing of both new Office and Windows products is rather complicated and tricky. (First peel off two transparent labels along the sides. If you wish to preserve the "authentic Microsoft product" sticker on the top, use a knife or box cutter to cut along the seams and be careful not to hurt yourself. Then pull the red tape--and admire the accidental symbolism--to fold out the inner clam shell from the outer, opening it from the top to the side. This will reveal the CD (or DVD in the case of Windows Vista) plus packaging insert literature.)
Installation was faster than previous Office versions, and my first loading of Word 2007 went without incident. I did have problems first running Outlook; it froze while initially loading account settings on first startup, and on restart it offered to go into safe mode. In safe mode, the same thing happened. On restart it offered to reinstall. This was done, but the problem persisted. I then temporarily shut down Norton Internet Security, and it ran fine. On restarting Norton, the two programs made peace with each other automatically, and the two have worked in harmony. (Note that a few hours later for unrelated reasons, I uninstalled Norton and installed OneCare. This was done after several uneventful and successful Outlook start-ups.)
All of the packaging complexities and anti-virus conflicts aside, the program itself has so far been very stable and somewhat less resource-demanding than the 2003 suite it replaced.
I'll spare you the details of what's changed, as that's already talked to death elsewhere. If you're wanting to find out, though, Microsoft's web site offers a pretty accurate online demo; I tried it first to make sure I was willing to give up my familiar, customized toolbars and settings. The new interface is not as cryptic or hard to figure out as some make it out to be, and my biggest customization in Word 2003, a word count, was incorporated into Word 2007 by default. The long overdue addition of color buttons is nice--sure, it's extraneous, but still nice. I also fully expect in a few months to start using the one-button publish to blogs. The hardest part to figure out by far has been the box; once it's open, the rest is easy.
Outlook is the only program that was not given the ribbon makeover; I'm curious but relieved that they kept it's old format, as I'm not sure a ribbon paired with the layout would work as it does with Word.
I have not installed the Business Contact Manager plug-in for Outlook, nor have I yet tried Publisher; so far, I suspect my experience would be identical to one installing Standard (and running Norton Antivirus or its brethren).
"Buggy and Slooooow"on by tcnet
Pros Purchased for Outlook with BCM(will not install)
Cons Tecnical support
Summary Over 10 hours on the phone with MS and still no resolution. Do not buy until Service Pack 1 is released!!! Shuts my system down without warning. My desktop is a P4 3.2 GHz.and it is slow. My poor laptop crawls!!!