Office for Mac 2008 delayed until next year

Office for Mac 2008 delayed until next year

Summary: The next version of Microsoft Office for Mac won't hit in the latter half of 2007, as originally expected, according to Microsoft. The new ship target for Office for Mac 2008 is January 2008. That also means the promised Open XML file-format converters for the Mac are pushed back, as well, given Microsoft's original converter timetable.

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The next version of Microsoft Office for Mac won't hit in the latter half of 2007, as originally expected, according to Microsoft. The new ship target for Office for Mac 2008 is January 2008.

Microsoft officials are attributing the delay to insufficient quality of current test versions of the product. ArsTechnica quotes Mac BU head Craig Eisler with a further explanation:

"'There was no one thing that caused the push—it was more of a perfect storm,' Eisler told Ars yesterday. 'The switch to Intel processors, the switch to different tools in the development stream, the switch in formats with Office—all of it presented different roadblocks for the team, and we wanted to make sure we could address all of those issues.'"

Update: Eisler provided more information in a blog post to the Mac Mojo blog on August 2. He said Microsoft is aiming for retail availability by mid-January, and volume-license availability in Q1 2008.

"We’re in an “all hands on deck” mode right now to ensure Office 2008 gets finished on time, and so you will not see final versions of our RDC client or file format converters until sometime after we ship Office," Eisler said.

"Starting in September, we are planning a series of “sneak peeks” to show you more of the features and functionality of this release. I’m very pleased that we can soon start sharing more of what the team has been up to – stay tuned," he added in his blog entry.

The 2008 version of the Office for Mac product is set to sport its own Ribbon-like user interface that will feature a new Mac-specific "Elements Gallery." The other key Mac-specific feature is My Day – a new stand-alone application that offers a task list manager for at-a-glance schedule and task viewing.

On a related note, I've been puzzling over the status of the promised file converters allowing Mac Office users to read Microsoft Office 2007-formatted documents.

In January, Microsoft officials said Microsoft was planning to release a beta of the Windows-to-Mac file-format converters this spring. The final version of the converters wasn't slated to hit until six to eight weeks after Office 2008 for Mac ships, they said.

On July 31, Microsoft posted a new (0.2) beta of the Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac. That beta allows Open XML files to be converted to a format "that is compatible with Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac and Microsoft Office v. Xfor Mac." The converter doesn't seem to handle anything other than the word-processing components of the Office suites, however.

If Microsoft sticks to the original converter timetable, the Office Mac converters won't hit until spring 2008, at best. Will there be OOXML converters for functions other than word-processing? If so, when?

Topics: Microsoft, Apple, Hardware

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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17 comments
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  • What I want to know is...

    will Microsoft put some of the key features they left out of Entourage that were always part of Outlook, such as: Read Receipts, Out of Office Reply, Deleting attachments within Exchange accounts, to name a few. Can anyone tell me why certain features that are available in Outlook are omitted or have to be implemented via Rules in Entourage? Is this Microsoft?s way of saying, if you want these features don?t use a Mac, buy a Windows PC so you can have all the features we purposely left out of the Mac version to coerce you into using Windows? I know this seems cynical, but why else would Microsoft do this? This is one of those things that really irks me about Microsoft.
    gtdworak
    • Entourage vs. Outlook

      Unlike Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Entourage is not a parallel development with the Windows version. Entourage comes from a completely different product ancestry and has a completely difference code base.
      frgough
  • WebDAV

    I think the reason is that Entourage uses WebDAV like Outlook Web Access does. Not positive on this, but I think that Entourage implements everything that Outlook Web Access does using WebDAV.
    t_mohajir
    • Should have replied to message above

      Sorry, I clicked the wrong button. I was trying to respond to the post above about why Entourage doesn't implement all the features that the Outlook client does.
      t_mohajir
  • Mac Office 2008 won't support VB scripts...

    Mac Office 2008 won't support VB scripts, which will make it next to useless in a corporate environment or non-Windows using clients.
    olePigeon
    • but NeoOffice already does...

      but NeoOffice already does, and i like it better than current version of MS Office, doubt ill spent any money on Office 2008
      doh123
    • yep

      that is unbelievable. i am a debate coach with a team of half mac and half pc users. our template with multiple macros won't work on the mac. what am i supposed to do? this is ridiculous.
      hansonjb
      • Try FileMaker instead

        It's completely cross-platform and you'll get a way better user experience than Office
        macros.

        There's a trial version available for download at http://www.filemaker.com
        RealNonZealot
  • It seems that MS is telling the Mac users...

    ... you're second class citizens. It'll be late, it'll incomplete and have limited functionality - but hey!! On Windows it is **soooo*** much BETTER.

    I'm so glad I don't use any MS products anymore. Besides, does anyone actually NEED to upgrade Office? What will you get that you don't have now?
    bportlock
    • Well

      You are second class citizens. If you want Office buy a PC. Play with the big boys not the trendies...
      Blogsworth
    • Second Class

      Office on the Mac has been a second-rate product for years, now. The only thing it had going for it was the formatting palette, and compatibility with Windows. Two years ago, compatibility was a big deal. Not so much anymore. I've just made the move to NeoOffice because I was sick of Word's performance under OS X. It is absolutely ridiculous that you can out-type a word processor in this day and age.
      frgough
      • It's the WOW factor!

        [i]"It is absolutely ridiculous that you can out-type a word processor in this day and age."[/i]

        WOW! It didn't realise it was *that* bad!!
        bportlock
  • Oh, please, no.

    NOT the ribbon interface. Blech. The ribbon interface is MS's response to the fact that the Windows UI sucks.

    Enhance the formatting palette and leave the ribbon interface where it belongs, over with that crappy OS and its junk interface.
    frgough
  • What about wizards?

    I know people who could really use some of the wizards that are available only on the
    Windows version. The wizard for legal papers is something you'd think MS would
    have in the Mac version, I see lots of lawyers with Macs and Office. How hard is it to
    add the wizards to the new 2008 version?
    Mr_Dave
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