Former Microsoftie Will Parker has an interesting post about the Microsoft Mac Business Unit’s work on a generally under-appreciated aspect of software publishing: the packaging.

Our study team handed a fresh, unopened Office X box to the subject and asked them to talk a bit about their work habits, their plans and expectations for Office X, and a little bit about the box design. They then asked the subject to open the box, install Office on their machine, and do some work.

One result of this study was a painfully funny Office X Blooper Reel — five straight minutes of people trying to get that damned plastic pack open and get at the CD, by any means necessary. Scissors tended to bounce right off of this thing, so Improvised Opening Devices were the order of the day – pocket knives, steak knives, paper trimmers, teeth, staple removers — even screw drivers made an appearance. Our research team lived in fear of blood spatters.

Not being an Office user, I never had to deal with this, but I’ve certainly dealt with enough other horridly packaged items to be able to put myself in these poor people’s shoes all to easily. Shrink wrap, and its many variations, is evil.

iTunes: “3 Floors Above You” by Meat Beat Manifesto from the album Actual Sounds and Voices (1998, 5:00).