When Office 2011 for the Mac ships this holiday season, it will be available as a 32-bit product only, Microsoft officials said in a blog post on June 8.
Microsoft is attributing the decision to the fact that it hasn't transitioned the Ribbonized Office 2011 user interface completely to Cocoa yet. (Microsoft officials are saying they didn't manage to do this because they've been consumed with trying to make the Mac and Windows versions of the products more compatible with the forthcoming release.)
From the post:
"Because Apple's frameworks require us to complete the move to Cocoa before we can build a 64-bit version, Office 2011 will be 32-bit only....The largest difference between using a 32-bit and 64-bit version is the memory capacity available for your content. Most users with typical or even larger-than-average document content will not notice a difference in performance. Where 64-bit can make a difference is for people working with huge amounts of data, such as those creating very large Excel files with data in millions of cells, or PowerPoint presentations with thousands of high resolution images."
Interestingly, Microsoft has been advising Windows users to go with the 32-bit version of Office 2010, rather than the 64-bit version, unless they have these very large data requirements.
Office 2011 will feature Outlook (instead of Entourage), a Mac-customized version of Microsoft’s Ribbon interface; support for the Personal Folders (.PST) e-mail archiving protocol; and the ability to co-author documents with others using SkyDrive and SharePoint, the Softies have said.
In other Apple news this week, Microsoft announced that Bing will be one of the search engine providers listed in Safari on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Looks like the rumored deal via which Bing would have become the default engine on those platforms never came through (or at least hasn't yet).