Microsoft’s Mac Business unit (Mac BU) announced today that they now plan to ship Office 2008 for Mac in mid-January 2008 right around Macworld and not late this year as originally planed. Back in January of this year the company had issued a press release stating the product was scheduled to be available in the second half of 2007. The announcement means customer on the Mac will be waiting a few months longer for full compatibility with Office 2007 for Windows. One of the biggest issues at the moment is that Micrsoft added a new native format to Office 2007 for Windows, the Office Open XML Format. For now, current Office for Mac owners must use the recently updated Open Office XML converter to convert Open XML documents to a format that is compatible with Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac and Microsoft Office v. X for Mac.
While news of the delay may be disappointing to some customers, Microsoft’s Mac BU felt it was the right choice saying their decision based on the Mac BU’s commitment to deliver a high-quality product. “Our number one priority is to deliver quality software to our customers and partners, and in order to achieve this we are shifting availability of Office 2008 for Mac to mid-January of 2008,” said Mac BU General Manager Craig Eisler. “We’re successfully driving toward our internal goal to RTM in mid-December 2007, and believe our customers will be very pleased with the finished product.”
Microsoft Office 2008 is highly anticipated among Mac users as it will bring full compatibility with the new Office Open XML Format. In addition, the new Office will offer the Mac’s answer to the “ribbon” offered in Office 2007 for Window’s. Office 2008 for the Mac will add the Element Gallery which, like the ribbon, is a new UI element designed to help expose functionality and give users quicker access to relevant features when working within an application. Office 2008 for Mac will also include Office Art 2.0, a new shared graphics engine with Office for Windows as well as several new “Mac-only” features. Publishing Layout View to help users create more layout-rich documents like newsletters, fliers and brochures. Ledger Sheets in Excel to make it easier to manage Home and small-business tasks, and My Day, a feature that will help you track priorities and keep up on tasks.
Customers can stay up-to date with the latest developments on Office for Mac and the Mac BU’s other projects by visiting the Mac BU’s Mac Mojo blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo.