Microsoft has publicly announced on their website that Office 12 will be removing menus and toolbars in exchange for a new UI element called the “Ribbon” (though note that Microsoft doesn’t mention “the Ribbon” by name on their website).

This move is in an effort to make Office’s hundreds, if not thousands, of features easily available to the user, instead of requiring the user to wade through dozens of submenus and dialog boxes in order to find the option or feature they’re looking for. However, I have heard that there are some disadvantages: in the early beta versions of Office 12 that are currently available the Ribbon is a lot less customizable than the toolbars and menus that it replaces.

So will this daring UI breakthrough set the standard for applications of the future, or will it be doomed to the same fate as Clippy?