Microsoft offers Office for Mac 2011 to TechNet, MSDN subscribers

Summary:Microsoft's latest Office release is now available for download by TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Normally, that's not news. What makes this release different is that it's for Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, and it marks a significant first.

Microsoft's latest Office release is now available for download by TechNet and MSDN subscribers. (As my colleague Mary Jo Foley noted earlier today, it's also been released for retail sale.)

Normally, that's not news. What makes this release different is that it's for Office for Mac Home and Business 2011. This is the first time in my memory that any Mac-related business software has been available through the standard versions of either subscription. (The only exceptions I can find are two old, pre-Boot Camp versions of Virtual PC for the Mac.)

I have both a Mac and a PC on my desktop and plan to set them up side by side using Synergy to share the mouse and keyboard seamlessly (if the software works as described).

If you have a TechNet subscription, you'll find the Office for Mac 2011 download under the Applications heading. For now, at least, it's also under New Downloads. (To learn more about TechNet and MSDN, see this article from last year: Seven perfectly legal ways to get Windows 7 cheap (or even free).)

Update: I've just completed the installation of the Office software on my Mac. Everything went fine until I tried to claim a product key for the product. The Downloads page says I'm entitled to 5 products for the Retail version of the product. But clicking the Get button to acquire the first product key doesn't work in Safari on a Mac. When I tried Firefox, I got this error message:

I'm not sure whether this is a temporary glitch or whether some TechNet accounts are blocked from activatiing the software. Meanwhile, I have 30 days of trial usage (complete with nag screens at startup).

Update 27-Oct: This glitch seems to be fixed, and the TechNet system is now generating product keys properly.

My account is TechNet Professional (Retail). According to this list, Office for Mac 2011 should be available:

Available to Levels: TechNet Professional (SA); TechNet Professional with Media (Retail); TechNet Professional (Retail); TechNet Professional with Media (VL); TechNet Professional (VL); TechNet Professional (Certified Partner); TechNet Professional (Gold Partner); TechNet Plus Consumer Service Professional Pilot; TechNet Standard (VL); TechNet Standard (Retail); TechNet for Action Pack; TechNet Professional (NFR); TechNet Professional (NFR MCT); TechNet Professional (NFR MVP); TechNet Professional (NFR FTE); TechNet Professional (NFR Bundle);  

Update 5-Nov: The downloadable list of products included with each edition has not been updated to include Office for Mac 2011. Microsoft says they are "working to update on a monthly basis" but may be late this month because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

For MSDN subscribers, the picture might be more complicated. MSDN comes in a very wide range of editions at a very wide range of prices. My account type is listed as Visual Studio Professional with MSDN account. When I go to the MSDN Downloads page, the Office for Mac 2011 download is listed, but its status is Unavailable, with this note in the Details section:

Available to Levels: VS Pro with MSDN Premium (Empower); VS Premium with MSDN (MPN); VS Pro with MSDN Premium (MPN); BizSpark Admin; BizSpark; VS Ultimate with MSDN (VL); VS Premium with MSDN (VL); VS Premium with MSDN (Retail); VS Ultimate with MSDN (Retail); VS Ultimate with MSDN (MPN);

Those are all pricey products. There's a pretty good case for non-developers to prefer TechNet [Standard or Professional] over the lower levels of MSDN.

I've just downloaded the Office 2011 package and I'm looking forward to using it in more detail. That won't be soon, though, as I'm headed off to PDC10 tomorrow and I don't have a MacBook handy.

Any questions you want me to ask at PDC? Any first impressions of the new Office for Mac that you want to share? Use the Talkback section.

Topics: Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, Microsoft, Software, Software Development

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

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