Technologizer

If Microsoft Says Chromebooks Are a Con, It’s a Compliment to Chromebooks

If Google's laptops were as bad as the new "Scroogled" campaign says, Microsoft could safely ignore them.

  • Share
  • Read Later

Once again, Microsoft has launched a new fusillade in the anti-Google campaign it calls Scroogled. This one involves an attack on laptops based on Google’s Chromebook platform, and features a celebrity tie-in: a simulated episode of the History channel’s Pawn Stars in which Rick and the Old Man turn up their noses at a prospective customer’s Chromebook. You can watch the video above and see the supporting materials — including discussion of the things Windows PCs can do and Chromebooks can’t — here.

This is the first “Scroogled” bit that I enjoyed watching. It’s kind of clever. And I’d rather watch the Pawn Stars guys than the performers in Microsoft’s other “Scroogled” videos, who feel like characters in a negative ad produced on behalf of a politician I wouldn’t want to vote for.

And yet…

The Pawn Stars bit’s supplementary text refers to Chromebook “cons” and the possibility of being “fooled” into buying a Chromebook, as if the people who find these machines intriguing are patsies. I get the same angry, patronizing, unappealing vibe that I did from past waves of “Scroogled.” (As I’ve written before, “Scroogled” does more to hurt my impression of Microsoft than of Google.)

Which isn’t to say that there isn’t a case to be made against Chromebooks. I was a skeptic for years, in part because of some of the issues Microsoft points out, such as the fact that they’re designed for (mostly) online use. Microsoft raises some other reasonable issues on the “Scroogled” site — though I do find it peculiar that it says your Office docs will look terrible given that it’s perfectly possible to run Microsoft’s own Office Web Apps on a Chromebook.

I still wouldn’t want to use a Chromebook as my primary computer. But neither do I reflexively dismiss them. They’ve gotten better and sell for lower prices — well, except for the Chromebook Pixel — and Google has refined its pitch. Though they’re still far from being a suitable replacement for a Windows laptop (or a Mac) in every instance, there are scenarios in which they’re not only not a con, but the better option.

Especially for casual, decidedly ungeeky users like my mom. Earlier this year, her creaky old netbook finally bit the dust. She asked me for advice on a replacement. After considering scads of options — everything from the cheapest possible Windows laptop to an iPad to a MacBook Air — I concluded that a Samsung Chromebook was the computer most likely to make her happy, regardless of price.

And it’s made her very happy. She’s an ideal Chromebook candidate: She does mostly web stuff, Gmail and light word processing and does her computing at home on her Wi-Fi network. She doesn’t need any of the things Windows computers can do that a Chromebook can’t — and definitely doesn’t need the additional complexity and security headaches of a Windows machine. Or, for that matter, the learning curve of a Windows 8 one; a Chromebook, weirdly, provides her with a more familiar environment than the latest-and-greatest Windows systems.

Maybe the most interesting thing about this “Scroogled” anti-Chromebook push is that Microsoft feels the need to make it at all. Previous rounds of “Scroogled” have addressed categories where Google dominates and Microsoft is an underdog, such as search and webmail. They may have been grating, but Microsoft was punching up, not down.

But the new one is about PC operating systems, an area where Microsoft still rules and Google has a truly tiny market share. If Chromebooks were as useless as the new “Scroogled” material suggests, they wouldn’t have an audience and Microsoft could safely ignore them. Instead, by saying that Chromebooks are crummy knockoffs of Windows laptops, the company is saying that they matter. That’s a big deal — and, in a roundabout way, better news for Google and Chromebooks than it is for Microsoft and Windows.

55 comments
scott41863
scott41863

Microsoft does not need to worry about Chromebook's any more then it needs to worry about Mac's. Neither have significantly taken market share from Windows OS. The threat of Mac's controlling the PC market has never happened. Even though Apple fans constantly claim victory on many occasions. When in fact even now Windows 8 a notably un popular Windows OS has already surpassed all OS X market share. This has never meant that Mac's or Chromebook's are bad. Its simply proof that while Windows OS has competition, the real challenge is on Google and Apple to gain market share. Having used a Chromebook for several months. I can say that its not a threat to people who do high degree's of productive work on a PC. Chrome OS is very limiting and married to Google. If a OS like Apple's OS X cannot make inroads on PC's. I doubt Chrome OS can considering its handicapped design.  

kimdotcom
kimdotcom

m$ sucks. john keys sucks. scroogled.co.nz

MC
MC

It's free publicity for Google. It took me a moment to realize they were bashing the Chromebook, and then the reasons for bashing were not really legitimate if you already own a desktop.


It also doesn't help that pawn stars turns my stomach. So seeing those two interact with the customer immediately put me in the mode of "oh they're trying to screw her over."

captncarp
captncarp

Google must be agape at Microsoft for all the FREE publicity they are getting from MS's attack.  What a nice Christmas present.

I went out and bought two (2) Chromebooks in the last month.  Both I and my wife are very pleased with them.  She only goes on line about twice a week and she is thrilled she doesn't have to do all those updates that MS hits her with every time.

DMC 

anthonydavidpirtle2
anthonydavidpirtle2

I didn't need my chromebook to replace my old Windows laptop. My android tablet long since did that. I just wanted something with a keyboard that I could comfortably type on in my lap at home and occasionally in a hotel room, something that had a full browser with all my extensions, the actual (as opposed to mobile) internet, and better multi-tasking ability. My chromebooks (I've owned two so far) have been a perfect fit. They do exactly what I need them to do without worrying about updates and patches, viruses and anything else that might bog them down. And they do it all for less than a Windows machine. I don't know how I'm being conned here, but perhaps I'm missing something...

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

I have a news flash for everyone. High quality always on internet is NOT universal in every market. Where I livf, the Cloud can be a useful backup device but trying to use it as your primary storage is just downright foolish.


simmo
simmo

I think people are looking at this from a single viewpoint, instead of the plurality of users. Some people here say that a tablet is better, but sit with a child who needs to type and have a screen up in front of them, and it is a great cheap internet device

similarly, pass one to a  retired parent, and never have to worry about sorting their security updates/back up

the very weaknesses mentioned here are also the strengths of the device - no Windows on it/no hard drive to lose or corrupt. I'm pretty sure there is some competing statistic that says cb's are the leading 'laptop' at some sub-$300 sales figure, and so there's clearly a lot of sense in the product to the person shopping at that level. Just because it doesn't suit someone who would pay 1k for a macbook pro doesn't mean it is useless

I use a windows computer all day in the office, and have done for 16 years, and at home use an imac and a professional tower - there's still use for a disposable laptop for my 4 year old to smash about and learn computing on/to throw to guests when they turn up and want access to a computer (without me throwing my own system open)

I do think the advert is especially stupid. 'laptop' is a word we use for a computer we put on out lap. No one has a monopoly on the word's meaning - someone should send MS a dictionary

DigoriePiper
DigoriePiper

It must be particularly galling for Microsoft that their own embedded lightweight OS, Win RT, has been an utter flop despite some nice hardware. Google/Samsung come along with a dirt cheap ARM based laptop and hit the sweet spot between tablet and laptop. Sure you can buy cheap intel laptop but it will be heavy, noisy, hot, slow to startup and shutdown and awkward to use with a poor keyboard and screen and, of course, a constant security risk. 

My next iPad will be a Chromebook as I'm fed up of typing on a screen. 

rayebersole
rayebersole

The thing I never understand as an IT professional is why we suggest that a one lane road is okay to buy because that is all we do. You don't build your infrastructure to just do what you need now, you build it to do what you need it to do in the future. So, why get a Chromebook when you will need something more to do something in the future possibly?

That doesn't mean get a Surface Pro, but their are a lot of other options that are not much more expensive that you can buy and will have the 6 lane road.

jnffarrell
jnffarrell

With admirable ferocity and persistence,  MS/PR has locked onto its own buttocks with a grip that would do credit to a junk-yard-dog. For people who would laugh at a dog biting its tail in the street, its funny. Others might say "Bring in the Vet".

andrewpmast
andrewpmast

Interesting to point out... Windows 8 will not let you log in if you're not on a network, unless you first create a local user account, because it uses a Micro-Shaft server to authenticate. My gramma doesn't even know what the hell that means so she's just as f***ed if she isn't online unless her grandson comes over and adds a user account. Oh wait, she's not on a network. Now he's bridging his cell phone to get on the network long enough to create a local user account so that she can log on. Now she has two user accounts, so when she's finally on the network, which one should she be using? They are just as screwy with Windows 8.

normcf
normcf

Business customers like "boring", conservative vendors.  Companies like Oracle and Cicso come to mind.  CIOs are currently just paying microsoft year after year as the price of doing business.  But, these CIOs definitely do read these forums, and the tech news, and this kind of thing stimulates their thoughts about what they're paying for.  Many do not yet take ChromeOS seriously, or even know of its existence, but now that microsoft has "validated" ChromeOS, they can start to mull things in the back of their mind.  I doubt we'll see fast change, but if a CIO has many employees sharing a role that can be simplified by a browser device, they may start to calculate the savings.  The classic example is an office of customer service people that answer the phone and work on a intra web interface exclusively.  Making a change for these people could have significant financial savings while at the same time making things simpler and more secure.  Currently ChromeOS has a tiny installed base and a small market share.  microsoft would be best to ignore it as trivial until it becomes a real issue.  OR, maybe this is a sign that it has already become an issue and the numbers are not yet reflecting it.  

pnstalum
pnstalum

I started using a Chromebook full time early this year, we now have 3 in the house.. that is 3 "traditional" laptop sales that have been missed. There is nothing I do at home that it can't do on my Chromebook including photo editing and management (Pic Monkey, Pixlr, Google+), Drawings (LucidChart), Project Management (Gantter), office Productivity (Google Docs); Music (Google Play Music, Spotify), Web Browsing (Chrome), plus a host of other misc stuff. I use it 100% for home and 90% for work. The only thing I can't do at work is interact with a few custom programs... but even then I can use Chrome RDP to log into a terminal services session. My daughter wrote her school paper on Google Docs and Shared it with her teacher. Her teacher made comments right on the document that my daughter can interact with... all in real time. I have family in town and my sister in law was using my Chromebook last night and her quote was "wow... this is fast, is it because you you don't have much software on it?"... I said no, it is a Chromebook and it was all I could do to pry it out of her hands so I could do some work. It's hard to work on a Windows computer now... slow and complicated, and always seems to be updating at the most inconvenient time. For Microsoft to be attacking with negative adds so early, says something... They have missed the boat again and need to attack - but they only come out looking desperate and confirm they are stuck in a legacy paradigm.  Oh, and the kicker is all the cheap Chromebooks look a lot better than the "budget" Windows laptops.

arthdenton
arthdenton

I've been an IT guy for over 20 years and I'm typing this on an HP Chrome 11. It's our second Chromebook and we are likely to get a third soon.

And, no, I don't do 'work' on it but it does 99% of what I expect it to do when I don't do work. Chromebooks are great because they are malware/bloatware free, don't need constant patching, are super-light, super-cool and come up in seconds.

As for Microsoft's campaign... all I read into it is extreme desperation. Coming from the company that kept claiming that our privacy was their number one concern only to be found of actually volunteering and begging the NSA to take the backdoor keys to their services (Outlook.com, Skype). Pathetic if you're asking me.

JoeBelkin
JoeBelkin

MS main problem is it assumes people are morons - ALL their ads start with the premise that how can you be so stupid we have to point this out to you. Apple ad strangths are generally - here's the product, here's what it does. Now, maybe you don't like the ad, the product, etc but at least you know what they are trying to tell you & sell you. Look at the ads for BING. Because their ads are so fast paced and confusing, even the man on the street versions are confusing. If the premise is we are better than Google - then just show an ad that very plainly points it out and answers it but hey, why not muddle the ad message when you can spend a lot of money - especially with singing and dancing ads for Surface, easily the largest waste of $300 MILLION dollars this year. The problem with this premise for their anti-CHromebooks ad is many fold. The 10% of the population who know what the CHromebook and has either decided for/con about it does not need MS to explain the pros/cons of a Chromebook. The problem is now by calling it out, they are doing free ads for Chromebooks - so now an additional X% of people will suddenly think - I have to look into this thing MS hates - why do free ads for your competitors unless you are an idiot. WIN OS is already at the low end tier (no one is willing to upgrade the OS, they'll just buy a $399 laptop) - now by calling out chrome - at $299 or lower, Ms has basically helped chromegoog sell another 500,000 units. MS is the dumbest consumer company bursting out of the belly of a decent enterprse company.

CharlesBoyer
CharlesBoyer

It seems like Microsoft's marketing strategy these days has a huge component of denigrating their competition -- the "Scroogled" farce and of course their negative Siri/iPad ads.  Even though Microsoft has a wide range of good products, the ads smell of desperation.

portermiked
portermiked

I use an HP 11 Chromebook as my only computer. I have been since 2011 when the Series 5 came out. For college, it's done everything I throw at it. My girlfriend has my old one, I use a new HP 11, we don't have a Windows or Apple computer in the house, and we don't really *need* one. A) you would be surprised what you can do online now & B) it's just *easy*. Chromebooks aren't going away. This only further validates them as an option. Microsoft really did a great job spreading the word that there IS and alternative out there.

tbsteph
tbsteph

Do your Mom a favor and buy her just about any tablet - your choice.  They all run circles around a Chromebook.

DougLittle
DougLittle

To me microsoft has a quality problem that isn't being addressed:  blue screen,  sluggish performance,  flaky glitches,  a never ending stream of updates, and changes for the sake of change (ie ribbon) and  it's pricing it's product like there is no alternative.   Thery're wrong:   I'm very happy with my Ubuntu desktop and chromebook.  Both work,  have everything I need, and don't cost me a penny.     No incompatable drivers,  update, virus or other quality problems to deal with.  Now only if I could get my work to change to linux.





khfaraaz82
khfaraaz82

Here is why I love my Google Chromebook -

1. My Chromebook does NOT show/throw a blank BLUE screen at me, like how my old windows laptop & desktop used to.

2. I do not have to pay for MS Office anymore, I use Google docs for free from my Google Chromebook.

3. I do not have to worry about security as Chrome is much more safer that Windows. I do not have to pay for Anti Virus software with my google chromebook. We all know about windows OS without anti virus, God save us!

4. My chromebook has never hung so far. My windows laptop hung at its will!


CHIP72
CHIP72

@DigoriePiper Your last comment is the key comment here - while everyone talks about how chromebooks are a threat to standard Windows PCs (which is most definitely true), they are ALSO a threat to tablets, or more specifically tablets with a device-based operating system.  Not only are chromebooks better than tablets for data/information input, but they are also even simpler than tablets.  Google or its OEM partners could easily introduce chromepads to compete with iPads and Windows 8/RT tablets (and its own Android tablets), but I think Google doesn't want to confuse the market, undermine Android at this point in time, and wants to increase Chrome OS' off-line capabilities.  I do think it is inevitable that Chrome OS will replace Android as Google's primary operating system focus however.

Google is aiming to eat BOTH Microsoft's AND Apple's lunch with chromebooks (and eventually chromepads and chromephones).

LS650
LS650

"So, why get a Windows laptop when you won't need something more to do something in the future possibly?"

You're projecting your needs case onto others. Not everyone has the same needs as you, and not everyone wants a more complex machine .

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@rayebersole : Let me turn the tables on your argument. Why should I buy a 5000 pound SUV because it can tow a boat, hold 7 passengers, carry a dog, and travel long distances if I don't have a boat, will never have a boat, have no children or pets, and live in a city where I never drive more than 50 miles a day? A Nissan Leaf would be a lot better choice, as well as being cheaper to own, insure, and easier to park. 


Ironically, there seem to be a disproprtionate number of IT professionals in the Chromebook world. 


VinnieGZillah
VinnieGZillah

@rayebersole Agreed!!   Precisely why I own a macbook pro. Not that everyone is so technical that they need all the operating systems, but essentially I wanted something that I could run mac for work and windows for play. Today I usually only run the windows partition and a linux drive for contract jobs. Is that way more technical than most users? Of course! However each of these systems individually on and real laptop can do all the things a tablet can do, and more. Swiping is cute, but I'm not a thieving fox. I've graded papers that came from tablets and they're always a mess. The games I play on PC could only work on a PC or a Mac -not an iPad, not some kind of mini thing. Tablets have done a great job of replacing portable DVD players and portable TVs, but outside of that market I don't see them really being the future of anything. They're great for entertainment, but portable computing will likely still need Laptops.People who really enjoy reading will still buy a lot of books. Tablets are just extra things to buy with disposable income. My Macbook and I'm sure any dell remain very portable -just close the lid.

SMP
SMP

@rayebersole 

Chromebooks are the future, and legacy Windows is destined to be the legacy system - even Microsoft calls Windows "legacy Windows". The future trend is to use networked always connected computers with data on centralised servers. That is exactly what a Chromebook is. If you are going to build infrastructure, build it on something that will be an enduring standard, and build it to run on corporate servers and allow as wide as possible communication access worldwide and using any device - smartphone, tablets, laptops, and various other devices. The only infrastructure that allows that is the Internet and various Internet protocols - Chromebooks are built on these protocols.   

LS650
LS650

That's odd - I'm pretty sure that a Chromebook is "a real computer".

Can you explain what your definition of "a real computer" is, exactly?

godisafairytale
godisafairytale

@criptonian  Haha how long does it take for a $250 Windows laptop to boot up? My Chromebook takes 7 seconds. How much does the typical consumer pay for antivirus software every year? I pay $0.00, because my Chromebook doesn't get viruses. How many critical system updates, Java updates, Flash updates, and endless popups about updates do you get in a month on a Windows computer? My Chromebook gets zero, it updates itself automatically. How much slower does a $250 Windows laptop get over the course of a year when you fill up the drive? My 2-year old Chromebook actually got faster than the day I bought it.

  So yeah, they make a whole lot of sense for most people, who don't want to deal with all that crap. Just sayin.

andrewpmast
andrewpmast

@criptonian It's a good question. If you don't have another laptop, it might not make sense. But, I have Windows laptops, for work and music. But, if I'm using a laptop in my living room or kitchen, I don't even touch the start menu. All I do is click Chrome and browse the web. I don't use iTunes. I'm surprised they'd even mention that, given their battles with Apple. Why not emphasize their awesome Windows Media Player! *snark*

DavidAddison
DavidAddison

@normcf I guarantee you my CIO is not reading this forum.  He is enjoying his Thanksgiving holiday because everything is running fine in our IT department that supports Windows-based laptops and servers.


pnstalum
pnstalum

I should also point out that Microsoft's real issue is that all of my kids friends use, Apple Macs... Google Chromebooks, iOS Devices and Android devices... I can't think of a single one that uses a Window Computer, Phone or Tablet. That is what they are growing up with and are used to using. They see Microsoft as a dinosaur, "old" technology like we might with DOS or the Commodore 64... technology moves on, most companies have a hard time adapting and are eventually replaced as leaders.

ListWalker
ListWalker

@CharlesBoyer The anti-Microsoft crowd never ever had a problem with the "Apple vs. PC" ads that every single time said, in essence, "PC" is a stuffy, overblown, irrelevant fart with a "wish I was an Apple" complex.  While they of course were used to "denigrate their competition", they weren't given anything near the laser-like "tisk tisk tisk" focus Microsoft's foray into the same turf has earned them from the Apple/Android fanboys.  Guess it makes all the difference what side of the line you're looking from.

LS650
LS650

... Unless you have to type more than a couple of short sentences. At that point the Chromebook's keyboard suddenly becomes much more practical than a touchscreen.

anselm2003
anselm2003

@khfaraaz82 1) Windows 7 and 8 don't have blue screen issues; 2) Google docs is not compatible with office formats, the worldwide standard for documents; 3) Windows 8 comes with free anti-virus software; 4) Windows 7 and 8 are highly stable


rayebersole
rayebersole

@SMP @rayebersole The Chomebook is the future of nothing. You sound like a Google groupie. I work in a corporate structure and we wouldn't put a Chromebook anywhere near it. It doesn't join a domain, it can't be managed, It is nothing, it can't do anything you really need to do in the business world as a tool.


LS650
LS650

That's funny, because this Thanksgiving our IT department had staff working overtime dealing with problems due to the latest security patches from Microsoft.

SMP
SMP

@DavidAddison @normcf 

Yeah, high maintenance Windows keeps a huge number of IT support staff in paid employment to keep it running. That is why schools  that have deployed large scale  1:1 Chromebooks have found Chromebook annual TCO to be about 30% of a similar Windows laptop deployment. This is primarily due to the high labour costs associated with provisioning, locking down, maintaining and supporting Windows laptops/desktops. Chromebooks were also found to make students and teachers more productive than Windows, because of reduced learning time, reduces user maintenance tasks, reduced support issues and downtime. 

The same will apply to businesses, but they tend to be locked in to a few existing Windows applications to a higher extent, and so change will be slower. One solution to this may be to use a Windows terminal server with Ericom Access Now, or host virtual Windows desktops on Citrix servers to handle these few applications on the corporate LAN/WiFi, and use Chromebooks, Chrome browser, or BYOD device. This is the cheapest and most secure way to run Windows applications, and it will save an IT department a bucketload of time because system admins will no longer have to provision, secure maintain and support client devices, and can instead focus on servers and security..


DavidAddison
DavidAddison

@pnstalum That's fine until they try to get a real job.  Besides Google, which Fortune 100 company doesn't use Microsoft products to get work done?  (Apple uses Office and Azure so you can't count them)  BTW, I'm a hiring manager and I will not hire someone who doesn't have skills using Microsoft products.

arthdenton
arthdenton

@ListWalker @CharlesBoyer

The Apple ads (and, for the record, I don't use Apple stuff) were implying that Apple was light and cool while Microsoft was boring and stiff. Microsoft's anti-Google ads seem to validate Apple's suggestion. 

The pawn shop ad seems to say: hey, we are Microsoft and what you need in your life is 'a laptop' and 'a laptop' is what we say it is'. Like I said, it's boring, patronizing (the 2 beefy old men explaining the facts of life to the naive young little girl) and overall pathetic.

cb70002
cb70002

@anselm2003 
Win7 never blue screens ?? Give me a break dude... And Google docs isnt compatible ??? Dude looks like you are way off your facts...

Chromebooks are lightweight and super fast... They do best what they are designed to do. instead of being a clunky fat slow os with terrible ux

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@rayebersole : You are only betraying your ignorance. Even though Chromebooks are targeted primarily at consumers, there are companies who are deploying Chromebooks -- if they meet their business needs -- at far lower TCO. 


@SMP : More applicable to @rayebersoleis "Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt."

SMP
SMP

@rayebersole @SMP 

rayebersole:

There is an old saying - if you don't know what you are talking about, it helps to keep your mouth shut. Keep this secret, but most employed people who work in a "corporate structure" including the typing pool staff and the janitor. However, it doesn't mean they know anything about computer systems, particularly those they haven't used.

Chromebooks (or for that matter Chrome browsers on Windows/Mac OSX, or Linux) join a Google domain when you log into a Google Apps for Domains account. The domain administrator can set privileges and access rights to Google sites, files, storage, email routing restrictions like who can email. I switched my previous employer from a Linux based inhouse file and print server infrastructure with a Linux in-house email server, to Google Apps for Domains, with huge savings in system maintenance and hardware costs, and a big increase in reliability. They stuck with Windows clients though since Chromebooks weren't available when they switched. With Chromebooks they would have made another big saving  in maintenance cost and reliability by running the few essential Windows apps on a few high end Windows workstations for those who needed them and on a Windows Terminal server for the small number of Windows apps the others needed.


godisafairytale
godisafairytale

@rayebersole @SMP  @rayebersole @SMP Actually, it can be managed. Quite easily: 

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/devices/features-management-console.html

That's what makes it so perfect for schools and businesses. 22% of school districts in the US are now using Chromebooks. It's because they're incredibly affordable, easily deployable, easily usable (almost no training required), and supportable. They update themselves automatically without intervention and are nearly immune to viruses. 

     I've had my Chromebook for a year and I love it. Please explain what the "other 5 lanes" are that you describe. 


LS650
LS650

Odd. Our HR department hires staff based on their skills, abilities, and past experience.

Being able to use only one word processor would be considered a weakness, not a strength.

TimJordan
TimJordan

@DavidAddison I don't know of one company that uses Windows for more than a glorified dumb terminal. All applications which we build now a days are all web services. And all these applications can use Chromebooks. Why would a CIO not save where he can. You fear change. You should not be so scared. You beat Goliath didn't you! Linux is not that scary. Learning C, C++, Python, Ruby or Lua is not that hard. You will survive change. All you need is a little faith. 

SMP
SMP

@DavidAddison @pnstalum 

Well, I guess you must run a typing pool then. I personally wouldn't hire people on the basis of Word touch typing and formatting skills. I am looking for people with professional, managerial and leadership skills outside the typing pool, and someone who cannot learn to use more that how to use MS office doesn't cut it. 

The days when knowing MS Office was a ticket to a job as you are implying never existed outside the typing pool - most janitors and minimum wage employee can use MS Office, but it isn't a ticket to a good job. even for them now that the average one can afford a Windows PC and a copy of MS Office.