Ageing Office for Mac to get revamped this year, but when?

There have been none of the usual signs of a new Office for Mac in the works, but according a Microsoft Germany exec, a new and long overdue version will come this year.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft will release a new version of Office for Mac this year, according to Microsoft's manager for Office in Germany, but there's still no firm dates for its arrival. 

Office for Mac users will be relieved — though possibly disappointed by how long it's taken — to know that Microsoft has finally confirmed it will update Office for Mac this year.

According to Computerwoche, Thorsten Hübschen, Microsoft's manager for Office products in Germany, said the company is already discussing the new Mac Office product with larger customers. He also said there should be news about the it in the second quarter of this year with a product released by the year's end.

According to the report, Hübschen said a planned 2013 version of Office for Mac never arrived because of a reorganisation in 2010 that merged the Mac development team with the wider business software group.

ZDNet has asked Microsoft to confirm a release date and will update the story if it receives one. However, last month it wasn't willing to discuss dates.

"The team is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac. There are no details to share on timing, but when it’s available, Office 365 subscribers will automatically get the next Office for Mac at no additional cost," a spokesperson told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley in late February.

The most current version, Office for Mac 2011, was released in September 2010 and, by Microsoft's usual release patterns, it's already getting long in the tooth.

Microsoft updated Office for Mac 2011 in February last year, which included support for Office 365 activation. At the time it told ZDNet the new Office for Mac typically ships 12 months after the new Office for Windows. Office for Windows reached general availability on January 29 last year.

Despite the supposed discussions Microsoft is having with its larger clients, there's been no evidence yet that Microsoft is close to meeting the release patterns it did with the Office for Mac 2011 product. As noted by Foley, although Microsoft could be expected to have a release to manufacturer (RTM) version of the new Office for Mac ready by around March or April 2014, there's been no sign of test versions that usually precede it. And last time, there was a five month gap between the RTM version and general availability.

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