Modern word processing software has gone from simple typewriter emulation to desktop publishing with features to create pamphlets, letters, even whole newspapers. Problems with these newer programs arise from users acclimating to constantly evolving document formats, with businesses spending large sums of money to stay current and upgrade whole fleets of computers. The question remains whether the software is growing faster than the consumer's ability to adapt to it.
Problems With Programs
A big problem with word processing software is the near-yearly need to upgrade to the latest version of a given program to remain current with the newest features and to view documents created with the most current software. Microsoft Word, the word processing software created by the industry giant of the same name, has run into legal trouble over a patent dispute which allows users to more easily convert older documents created with out-of-date versions of Word into the newer document format. According to pcworld.com, in December of 2009 Microsoft was ordered by a judge to remove this type of software patented by Canadian software firm i4i in addition to paying the company more than £188 million in damages.
The Untimely Shutdown
Every word processor user has come across the problem of the catastrophic shutdown. The project has taken all night, it's nearly complete when a system error occurs causing a restart of the computer or a plug is accidentally pulled loose, cutting the power to the processor. If the writer forgot to save his work as he went through the project, the entire night's work is lost without hope of recovery. While recent software developments have worked to eliminate this problem (an auto save feature is now standard on MS Word 2010) older programs will still be susceptible.
So Many Options
Modern word processing programs are nothing like the typewriters that came before them. Often it may seem too difficult to navigate the program's many features and simply "get to work." This results in some PC users going with a much older version of word processing software, which leads to problems when trying to convert the file to newer formats for business and printing. Intimidated users who attempt to use newer, feature-laden word processing software could unintentionally alter the formatting of documents and ruin projects without realising it until it's too late to salvage the work.