A popular Office for Mac version reaches the end of the support line

A popular Office for Mac version reaches the end of the support line

Summary: All Office editions are not created equal. Microsoft's support lifecycle for Office on Windows provides for 10 years of support. But Office for Mac doesn't qualify for extended support. That means a widely used Office version has reached the unsupported phase sooner than you might expect.

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TOPICS: Apple, Microsoft
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If you’re using Office 2008 for Mac, it’s time to upgrade.

It might seem like only yesterday, but that Mac version was released more than five years ago. And under Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle, that’s the end of the line. Office 2008 for Mac reached its Mainstream Support End Date on April 9, 2013. No more bug fixes, no more security updates, no more service packs.

That’s a significant difference in support policy between the Mac and Windows versions. On Windows, Microsoft provides an additional five years of extended support for all Office versions, even the Home/Student/Teacher editions. Office 2007 is supported until October 10, 2017. Even Office 2003 is still supported, with an end date that matches Windows XP: April 8, 2014.

But Microsoft’s Mac software is covered under the rules for Consumer and Multimedia products, not Business and Developer products. If you look under the Extended Support End Date heading, you see “Not Applicable.”

What are your Mac alternatives?

Well, sticking with Office 2008 is an option. It won’t stop working just because the support deadline has passed. Potentially, that leaves you vulnerable to attacks like the Uyghur trojan, which was discovered earlier this year on machines running Office 2008 for Mac on OS X. The vulnerability was patched in 2009, but some Mac 2008 users never got the update. Human rights activists working in Tibet and Eastern and Central Asia were targeted with spear-phishing emails containing booby-trapped Word documents that installed a backdoor on unpatched machines.

There’s no evidence that similar undiscovered vulnerabilities exist in Office 2008. Yet. as long as you’re comfortable with the idea that newly discovered vulnerabilities in that version won’t be patched, proceed with caution.

Maybe iWork is good enough, or maybe you can make do with Google Apps or the Office Web Apps that are free with a SkyDrive account. The free OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice are also options.

If you plan to stick with Microsoft Office, you can upgrade to Office for Mac 2011, which is supported until January 12, 2016. If your Mac is one of multiple devices in your home or office, consider an Office 365 subscription, which allows you to install the latest version of Office on up to five devices (PCs running Windows 7 or Windows 8 or a Mac running OS X). That option gives you a license to use Office for Mac 2011 today and the right to upgrade to the latest version at any time.

Historically, a new Office for Mac has come out a year after its Windows counterpart. The 2008 and 2011 Mac Office versions followed Office 2007 and Office 2010, respectively. That suggests that a new version of Office for Mac will come out late this year or early next.

Topics: Apple, Microsoft

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47 comments
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  • Office 2011 is much better; people ought to upgrade if they can

    Office 2011 has real Outlook (not Entourage) and can do VBA macros. It is a full-fledged Microsoft Office.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • "Real Outlook" is junk just like PC Outlook

      Never understood the love for that POS, on PC or Mac.
      itguy10
      • Junk?

        Maybe because you never have worked with a real enterprise class email client before?
        dksmidtx
        • Religion again?

          Could you please explain what you believe an "real enterprise class email client" is?

          This whole "enterprise class" junk is boring.
          danbi
          • Something that can handle 10,000+ messages per hour.

            And handle error conditions properly.

            I crashed 5 redundant outlook servers in under 15 minutes with just ONE mail message. Took the organization about 10 hours to find out that the message the manager requested (mailing a staff photo) overloaded the server - and instead of sending back a "reject" message (which would have stopped the sending, and sent a failed delivery message to the sender), would crash instead.
            jessepollard
          • I call bullshit

            I am an Exchange administrator, and unless you used some archaic exchange version like 2003, all others would not go crashing because of the conditions you describe.
            sjaak327
          • No way

            Exchange doesn't resend the photos it uses pointers to a single file and I seriously doubt one email would crash all servers so hard.
            slickjim
          • Enterprise client

            "Could you please explain what you believe an "real enterprise class email client" is?"

            Features like integration with Lync, Sharepoint, Information Rights Management (IRM) and to be capable of recall a message are some features not available in other clients like Thunderbird or Mac Mail that many enterprises need. Plus, IMO, to have a single application for email, calendar, contacts and tasks is a big plus.
            dvm
          • open your eyes

            Axiom 1: Not all enterprises use Microsoft technology.

            Axiom 2: Even those who do, are not 100% blindly Microsoft-only.

            You did not describe what is "enterprise features". You describe features that are Microsoft-only. This makes such e-mail clients limited, especially if they do not support other non-Microsoft protocols.

            By the way, in case you did not know, both Thunderbird and OS X Mail clients support full integration with "email, calendar, contacts and tasks". Thunderbird in addition is very portable and multi platform - which makes it by the way the most appropriate enterprise e-mail client from "Outlook, OS X Mail and Thunderbird".

            As with everything related to computers, YMMV. For me, Outlook is pretty much useless, as the only platform in my enterprises that it can run on is Macs.
            danbi
          • Enterprise features

            I only gave examples with applications I work everyday. But I could add how outlook integrates with SAP, Siebel and Salesforce, just to name a few.
            http://www.sap.com/solutions/duet/featuresfunctions/index.epx
            http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/siebel/051145.pdf
            http://www.salesforce.com/sales-cloud/email-calendering.jsp

            So it looks like the Outlook "enterprises features" and integration with Sharepoint and Lync can be expanded to other non-MS platforms, while Thunderbird and Mac Mail still don't have similar capabilities.

            "You describe features that are Microsoft-only. This makes such e-mail clients limited, especially if they do not support other non-Microsoft protocols."
            So Apple and Mozilla can't do better than MS? They can't do something as simple as a message recall? It looks like MS is ahead vs Mac Mail and Thunderbird, right?

            "By the way, in case you did not know, both Thunderbird and OS X Mail clients support full integration with "email, calendar, contacts and tasks"."
            I know that. BTW, did you know that Apple added support for tasks (reminders) in the latest version (I'm still running Lion so I'm missing that)? Does it really was so hard to add a so simple feature? Returning to the point, my post mentioned that Outlook have all four in the same application, while in Mac Mail I have to open multiples applications (Address Book, Calendar, Reminders). And with Thunderbird you have to add Lightning and other plugins for calendar and tasks. I prefer the Outlook way with a single application.

            "Thunderbird in addition is very portable and multi platform - which makes it by the way the most appropriate enterprise e-mail client from "Outlook, OS X Mail and Thunderbird".

            It would be nice if Outlook would run in Linux and UNIX, but multi platform is not the only criteria for an application being used in the enterprise. Integration with other applications, management and functionality is very important, and that's something Outlook is ahead of the competition.

            "As with everything related to computers, YMMV. For me, Outlook is pretty much useless, as the only platform in my enterprises that it can run on is Macs."
            Too bad, since Outlook does much more than just email.
            dvm
          • Message recall

            is not available on the Mac version of Outlook.

            Additionally, Outlook crashes A LOT (both on Mac and Windows) and is really poorly written.
            cmwade1977
          • Outlook for Windows

            You are right. I should have made clear it I was talking about Outlook for Windows. Regarding crashes, I have Outlook in Mac and Windows and don't have problems with it, even tough I used it daily.
            dvm
      • Probably because...

        ...you've never done REAL IT work.
        GoodThings2Life
        • Real Work

          Again people are using "real work" without defining what that means to them. What one person considers "real work," another would consider playing.

          If people want their posts to be meaningful, they need to define their terms.
          Webminotaur
      • I disagree...

        I'm the last person you'd expect to be a Microsoft fan, but, I do like Outlook for Mac. Before Microsoft upgraded Outlook for Mac, I was an Entourage user since Office 2000. Apple Mail is lame in comparison. I like the tight integration of the email client, address book and calendar. Apple runs these three functions as three separate programs which annoys me to a high degree. I can easily create emails with graphics, mixed text styles, and hyperlinks in Outlook. Outlook also has some decent tools for dealing with junk mail. Plus, if you ever worked in an Exchange environment, Outlook is a must. I don't think you've spent enough time using it to make a comprehensive evaluation. With a company name called MacXperts, I'm no big fan of Microsoft, but I do like Outlook.
        gtdworak
      • Why do any of you responders take anything seriouslsy from itguy10 or danbi

        since, they have absolutely no credibility regarding anything to do with Microsoft?

        Whatever the topic, if it concerns Microsoft, then, danbi and itguy10 will be on the attack. Microsoft could put out a OS or an application or a piece of hardware which functions perfectly, but, with danbi and itguy10, it's going to be a POS, or overpriced or too buggy or a copy of somebody else's work.

        danbi and itguy10 should be treated like the 5 year olds in the room full of adults. Acknowledge they're there, but treat them like the children they are. especially when it comes to an adult conversation which they have no clue about.
        adornoe
        • Yes

          Although I don't recognize itguy10 as a regular poster, I do recognize danbi.

          A while back I got on danbi's case for his manner of expression. Since then I've noticed a 100% improvement. He doesn't try to make his points by putting someone else down like some immature posters.

          If you'd read his post "open your eyes," you would see he is speaking highly of non-Microsoft products. Also, he states that he uses Macs in his enterprise. Also, his first post, "Religion again?" merely asked that the poster define his/her/its terms.

          So, who then is "the 5 year olds in the room full of adults" coming "to an adult conversation which they have no clue about"?
          Webminotaur
  • Or, perhaps, OpenOffice or LibreOffice is 'good enough'?

    From the article:
    "Maybe iWork is good enough, or maybe you can make do with Google Apps or the Office Web Apps that are free with a SkyDrive account.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I added that

      It was supposed to be in the original post, but was left out by mistake. Thanks for pointing that out.
      Ed Bott
  • My 2003

    My no ribbon version is ending its support. I will NOT upgrade. If necessary I will go to open office.
    hayneiii@...