Mac Office compatibility: When 'no comment' just isn't good enough

Mac Office compatibility: When 'no comment' just isn't good enough

Summary: Reports are cropping up all over that Office 2004 for Mac users cannot exchange documents created with the new Microsoft Office 2007 suite for Windows, due to file-format incompatibilities. Microsoft is continuing to decline to comment on when it plans to fix the problem.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Reports are cropping up all over that users of older versions of Microsoft's Office for Mac suite cannot exchange documents created with the new Microsoft Office 2007 suite for Windows, due to file-format incompatibilities.

The Mac Business Unit has promised that it will provide converters -- that sound similar to the compatibility pack that Microsoft already has made available for Office 2003 users, enabling them to read documents in the new Office 2007 file formats. But, the Mac BU folks are declining to provide any kind of information on when these converters will arrive.

(Update: Microsoft released its converter timetable at the end of day on December 5. The Office for Mac file-format converters will be released in late March/early April 2007, according to the company.)

APC Magazine quotes a Microsoft Mac BU spokeswoman as saying "Unfortunately it is still to early for us to say when the converters will be available."

Sometimes, a no comment is just not acceptable. In my opinion, this is one of those times.

Microsoft made the Office 2007 bits available to business customers on November 30. That means, as of last week, there is a subset of Microsoft customers who are creating, saving and sharing documents using the new "Open XML" file formats that are now the default in Office 2007.

I put in a query to the Office for Windows team to see if they might be a little more forthcoming regarding the Mac-Office converter timing. That team sent my request back to the Mac BU PR team.

There also is no new information on the Microsoft Mac BU blog on Microsoft's plans to remedy the situation.

One thing we do know: Microsoft has said it expects to ship the next version of Mac Office six to eight months after Office 2007. Based on how Microsoft is counting, that could mean any time starting in May 2007. Hopefully, Mac Office users won't have to wait until then for the promised file converters.

Topic: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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48 comments
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  • This is all about dirty tricks and competition. We

    can not be sure what MS and Apple are doing here, but we do know that MS has to be getting nervous about the continuing rise in Safari Usage, and the gloves are about to come off. The percentage of people on alternative browsers and OSes is going up, and that ruins Microsoft's plans to create dependencies on Windows for Rich Internet Applications.
    DonnieBoy
    • Say what???

      Mac Office has always trailed behind Office for Windows. Get real!!! Did you think Microsoft would put it on a Mac before they had it on their own OS? Sheesh...
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • He, Mozilla figured it out a long time ago. The deliver on all platforms at

        about the same time. Are you trying to say the people at Microsoft are stupid??? Are you trying to say it is all spagetti code and they to not have it architected right???

        I guess I could believe you.
        DonnieBoy
      • RE: Mac Office compatibility: When 'no comment' just isn't good enough

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    • Rising Safari Usage

      Yeah, bet the high-ups at Microsoft are really having sleepless nights about the rise of Safari, that and the sudden rise in the price of plain bagels.
      Moosehouse
      • Microsoft is down to arround 80% in market share now. Not something that MS

        is taking lightly. That makes a lot of things they want to do a little harder. It sure makes it harder to convince developers to develop rich web applications that only work on Windows.
        DonnieBoy
    • MS Should Be Nervous

      I'm getting ready to jump ship to Apple myself. So are a lot of folks I've talked to. We are sick and tired of the Swiss Cheese OS of dear old Microsoft. This article indicates to me just how nervous the people at MS are getting.

      Bye, bye, Windows!
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      • RE: Mac Office compatibility: When 'no comment' just isn't good enough

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  • Another example of being forced

    to use what you really don't need or want. Amazing! So by introducing this incompatibility (oh there is a suprise!) Microsoft is attempting to force users by creating problems with thier own software!

    And how many times have we seen this? This is a ploy by Microsoft to inconvenience those that are not using thier OS. WHY can't the 07 format communicate with the 03 format? After all the 03 format existed before the 07. Where is the touted backward compatibility?

    Oh some twit will chime up that you can save as, not good enough. The 03 format should be the default. After all, not everyone uses the latest and greatest. I know SMB's that are still using Microsoft Office 97, because it's paid for and does what they need. Nothing more, nothing less. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • MS had better be carefull. The easiest way to read/write all formats might

      be with WordPerfect. They just might put a competitor in business with their arrogance.
      DonnieBoy
    • Forced how???

      The existing version of Mac Office continues to work just as it always has. Oh, you mean you WANT the new features and to exhange them with others? Well then it's time to pony up a few bucks, just as Mac users WERE FORCED to do with OS X.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • So is the new format necessary? Seems like the Fox is watching the chicken

        coup here. The one that benifits from the new file format, gets to decide you need it.
        DonnieBoy
    • Just use Mac logic and it is all okay

      When presented with the disgusting practice of artificially and onerously tieing OSX to Apple's TPM, the response by the Mac zealots is:
      [i]It is Apple's product, they can do whatever they want with it.[/i]

      So, this is MS's product, they can do whatever they want with it. If the Mac users want to continue sharing documents with those using Office 2007, they'd better buy Vista, Office 2007, and start dual booting. They shouldn't mind, they are already used to paying ridiculous amounts of money to use their computer. :)
      NonZealot
      • *shakes head*

        You know, the more you post, the more you sound the same. Every single post you make is almost identical to the previous one. And none of what you say has any facts to back it up. You always say the cost of ownership of a Mac is more than a Windows based PC, which I have not seen any evidence of. The machines cost nearly the same (not counting home built PC's which do not have software, labor and R&D cost to jack up the price) And to get a full version of vista, it cost nearly 4x more than a full version of OSX. And from what I have read of your post, you have very limited experience even using a Mac, which means you have no real knowledge to base your attacks on, you simply throw things out and hope it stirs people up. Quite frankly, you remind me of some punk kid in school who has to pick on others so that he himself is not picked on.

        Yes, technically MS can change file formats all they want, but if they want to keep their users happy they need to consider making it so users don't have to buy the latest and greatest the very day it comes out. Most companies will not be updating to vista for quite some time, and those that do, will need to worry about those that have not being able to open their documents.
        Stuka
        • Check your facts

          [i]And to get a full version of vista, it cost nearly 4x more than a full version of OSX.[/i]

          The only version of OSX you can buy is the $129 upgrade version (which lets you upgrade the version that you were forced to pay for with your Mac). $129 is more expensive than the $99 Vista upgrade version. Nice try with the lie though!

          [i]if they want to keep their users happy they need to consider making it so users don't have to buy the latest and greatest the very day it comes out.[/i]

          Mac users are barely Microsoft customers. Quite frankly, the loss of 10 Mac Office users will hardly make a dent on Microsoft's bottom line. ;)
          NonZealot
          • wrong

            The $120 dollar version lets you install a full copy on any Mac with built in USB. This includes several years of models that came out *BEFORE* OSX ever came out. It is not an upgrade, you do NOT require a previous copy of the OS in any version what so ever. Ad, most places sell it for $99 dollars. And, your $99 upgrade version of Vista is for the bare bones basic package. Not the full blown premium package. Apple does not sell cut down versions of their OS.

            And in case you didn't notice, Office 2003 (which is windows only, Macs got Office X and Office 2004) cannot open Office 2007 documents either without getting conversion software to allow them to read (not write) to the documents.
            Stuka
          • OSX is the only OS Apple ever made?

            [i]This includes several years of models that came out *BEFORE* OSX ever came out.[/i]

            Because I remember using System7 (the worst OS ever made). I didn't say it would only upgrade previous versions of OSX:
            [i]which lets you upgrade the version that you were forced to pay for with your Mac[/i]

            Nope, no mention of OSX! Sorry Stutka, I'm sure you really thought you had me there. :(

            [i]And, your $99 upgrade version of Vista is for the bare bones basic package. Not the full blown premium package.[/i]

            Yeah but the higher packages come with Media Center (no equivalent is installed with OSX) and/or the ability to join Windows domains (something that is totally impossible with OSX). Now, what does that say when the bare-bones version of Vista is as good as the only version of OSX? Yikes!
            NonZealot
          • hmm

            I get one my Windows 2003 domain here at work just fine with my iBook. I access the file servers, the printers, everything fine...

            Apple made OS8 and OS9. A lot of machines shipped with OS9 that will run OSX. And as I recall, Vista won't upgrade any versions of Windows either. You have to own a Full version of XP. There are other things that the higher versions of Vista come with besides the media player. The medium end ones all cost more as well. Its kind of sad that you have to spend twice as much just to get a version of vista that has their new 'aero' UI (which as I recall, basic does not include)

            And, last I checked, whenever you buy a Dell, HP, etc they come with an OS which you also have to pay for. Hmm...
            Stuka
          • Does it hurt to be so wrong?

            [i]I get one my Windows 2003 domain here at work just fine with my iBook. I access the file servers, the printers, everything fine...[/i]

            Uh huh, and you can do that with the basic version of Vista too. There is a difference between accessing domain resources and joining a domain and no, OSX can't do it.

            [i]And as I recall, Vista won't upgrade any versions of Windows either. You have to own a Full version of XP.[/i]

            Nope, any license for 2000 or XP will suffice.

            [i]Its kind of sad that you have to spend twice as much just to get a version of vista that has their new 'aero' UI (which as I recall, basic does not include)[/i]

            It isn't twice as much and it includes Media Center. This is also pretty typical of a Mac zealot who seems to believe that transparent windows will make or break an OS.

            [i]And, last I checked, whenever you buy a Dell, HP, etc they come with an OS which you also have to pay for.[/i]

            It doesn't have to be a Microsoft OS. Also, there are many places (like [url=http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=336&] TigerDirect [/url] ) that will sell you a computer with no OS on it at all.

            Looks like you were 0/4 this time. Try again stutka!
            NonZealot
          • 0/4?

            I never said transparent windows will make or break an OS, only that its sad that you have to pay so much more to get them (I am referring to one of the middle versions, not premium which does come with media center, although Apple has front row which is similar, although not as capable).

            And I fail to see your argument of somebody having to get a Mac with MacOS on it. Apple isn't charging you for an OS when you buy a Mac. Its included with the hardware because Apple is primarily a hardware company that makes software to go with it. What is it that is so bad about getting an OS with a machine anyways? Your argument is not making any sense here. If you mean only being able to buy a machine with one OS is bad, ok. But that does not apply to Macs, as many places will sell a new Mac with Windows XP (home or pro) pre-installed and ready to dual boot into whatever OS you want, you can install Linux too if you like.

            And I am not a Zealot, I use both systems (typing this from XP Pro). I am simply stating that you have no real experience with a Mac and simply blurt out whatever you think may be right. I realize you hate Apple for some unknown reason and are very much an MS zealot, but why can't you come up with better responses than the same thing over and over again? (ie: "Macs cost way more to use!")
            Stuka