February 10, 2010
From Yawning to Shuddering Over LexisNexis for Microsoft Office
In case you missed it because of all the Cobalt buzz, LexisNexis for Microsoft Office was also featured at Legal Tech New York. I wrote a yawn-worthy post and rejected an offer to preview it in-house -- just not my cup of tea. Greg Lambert took the offer and recently published his review on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. According to Greg, "Lexis’ idea is to build their research database information into MS Office so that lawyers are spending less time toggling between their document tools (MS Office) and their research tools (LexisNexis)." As reported earlier, LexisNexis for Microsoft Office is expected to launch this Spring. I'm still yawning. Another productivity app just doesn't get me excited anymore.
Handing Off Product Development to Microsoft. No official word on pricing but Greg speculates that LexisNexis for Microsoft Office may simply be an "add-in" with an installation charge. The product works with Office 2007 and will work with Office 2010 but not Office 2003. Anyone besides me concerned about tying a very expensive search service into an application that may not work with Office 20XX without some downtime or tying into an MS service that may not be sufficiently cloud computing secure for legal practitioners? Greg calls attention to and do note it well:
Lexis turned to the Microsoft development team to create a seamless method of connecting the MS Office Suite (Outlook, Work and even SharePoint) to Lexis. In case you missed the subtlety of that comment, Lexis is not programming the resource, Microsoft is.
I'm sure when MS re-engineers the post-2010 version of Office and/or SharePoint, the first item on its To-Do List will be "make sure it works with LexisNexis." Yawning now being replaced with shuddering.
Marketing LexisNexis for Microsoft Office. According to Greg, LexisNexis for Microsoft Office is being pitched as "‘Phase I’ of Lexis’ two phase project to rebuild their legal research product ‘from the ground up.’ The second phase will be the ‘New Lexis’ online research product that will be launched probably early in 2011." According to me, what else would you expect the Company to say in response to WestlawNext's coming out party in New York.
ETA for "New Lexis" 2011? So LexisNexis hands off development of this optional "add-in" to Microsoft, meaning I'll just "say no." More significantly, it now sounds like "New Lexis" won't be out for another year, meaning head-to-head competition in very expensive legal search from WEXIS will start in 2011. Just as well. TR Legal beat LexisNexis to the punch so (1) I can imagine LexisNexis would hold off launching "New Lexis" even if it wasn't experiencing some speculated development issues to get the full benefit of publicity next year and (2) this writer's small brained head would be spinning like a top if it had to grapple with two major roll-outs almost simultaneously. The folks in the Buckeye State will, of course, be spending much time comparing "New Lexis" features with the folks in the land of 10,000 invoices' WestlawNext this year. So will all legal information professionals eventually.
Do check out Greg's review of LexisNexis for Microsoft Office for much more detailed information. [JH]