Mac Microsoft Mac BU Announces Intent for Office 2008 for Mac at Macworld

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Julio Franco

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Today at the Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced its intent to deliver the first Universal version of Office for Mac for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs – Microsoft Office for Mac 2008.

It’s Coming: Mac BU Announces Intent to Deliver Office 2008 for Mac
New version brings enhanced compatibility and Mac-first, Mac-only capabilities.
SAN FRANCISCO — Jan. 9, 2007 — Microsoft Corp.’s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today revealed at Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 the news Mac fans have been waiting to hear: A new version of Office for Mac is on its way. The Mac BU announced its intent to deliver the first Universal version of Office for Mac for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs — Microsoft® Office 2008 for Mac. Scheduled to be available in the second half of 2007, Office 2008 for Mac will allow Mac users to work smarter and more efficiently with new and enhanced tools that are simple, intuitive and easily discovered.
“For more than two decades, Microsoft has been committed to delivering quality and innovation on the Macintosh platform while retaining unparalleled compatibility with PCs,” said Roz Ho, general manager of the Mac BU at Microsoft. “Office 2008 is, by far, the most comprehensive, Mac-complementary productivity suite we’ve developed to date. I’ve witnessed firsthand the progression of this product, and am excited to think about the possibilities that soon will be available to our customers when Office 2008 launches later this year.”
Microsoft conducted extensive customer research to determine which enhancements to make to its Word, Excel®, PowerPoint® and Entourage® applications. As a result, Office 2008 for Mac is packed with new tools to help Mac users better manage the business of life.
Shared Technologies With Office for Windows
Office 2008 for Mac shares a new graphics engine with Office for Windows®. Office Art 2.0 provides users with the ability to add professionally designed graphics with a simple click of a button. Like the 2007 Microsoft Office system and its new user interface (UI) with the Ribbon, Office 2008 has its own new UI that introduces Elements Gallery, a feature that emphasizes discoverability and gives users quick access to tools and Mac-specific features within applications in a visually appealing, simple way. Both features leverage Mac OS capabilities to retain a Mac-like look and feel users are familiar with while taking advantage of new technologies.
Part of the Elements Gallery is a tool called Document Parts. Documents Parts simplify and automate some of the most common, but often difficult and tedious, document tasks — such as adding a table of contents or headers and footers — so users can produce manuscripts and papers that look professional.
New Mac-First, Mac-Only Features
Microsoft continues to deliver new Mac-first, Mac-only features aimed at providing customers with a unique, engaging and definitively Mac experience. Office 2008 for Mac will carry on the tradition of Mac BU’s productivity software, helping users get organized and work smarter through these features:
• Publishing Layout View lets users create incredibly layout-rich documents such as newsletters, fliers and brochures by uncovering desktop publishing layout tools and providing text box entry.
• Ledger Sheets enable anyone to use Excel to handle common financial management tasks. Home and small-business users can balance checkbooks, track accounts or manage investment portfolios more easily than ever.
• My Day allows users to track priorities and stay on top of daily activities no matter what application they’re currently working in. My Day is a stand-alone application that doesn’t take up much screen space, offers at-a-glance schedule and task viewing without launching Entourage, and lets users color-code everything for visualizing daily priorities.
Commitment to Compatibility
To improve collaboration between Mac customers and their Windows-based PC counterparts, the Mac BU has continued to make compatibility with Office for Windows a key priority. Like the 2007 Office release, Office 2008 for Mac will use the Office Open XML Formats, which were just approved in December by standards body Ecma International as an international standard. In spring 2007, Microsoft plans to release a public beta of the file format converters for the current version, Office 2004 for Mac, so users can read and write the new Office Open XML Formats. Six to eight weeks after Office 2008 for Mac is launched, the Mac BU intends to ship final versions of the converters.


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Sounds good, except they fail to mention they have dropped all Visual Basic support for the Mac. Which is going to cause issues with Macros. I read an article a while back about it, and dropping Visual Basic is a very bad thing for Microsoft to have done because of the implications in the buisness sector.

Edit: Screw MS Office, Visual Basic macros supported in next version of NeoOffice (2.1), to be released in Q1 2007. Article here:
Support for interoperability with Microsoft Office 2007 OpenXML formatted documents and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is drawn from the ooo-build project, a branch of that includes several features which Sun has not yet integrated up-stream. ooo-build is a collaboration between many individuals & vendors spearheaded by Novell.
More information on the Boycott Novell blog entry More Bad News for Mac MS Office Users.
To me, while the automation features are nice to have, it’s the fact that macros are portable across platforms that has helped the Mac versions of Office succeed in the market. With today’s versions of Office for Windows and OS X, macros written on the Windows version will work on the Mac version, and vice versa. (There are some exceptions for very complex macros, but most macros work the same on both platforms.) In any sort of mixed-platform environment, this is a very important capability—calling it mission critical for many wouldn’t be an understatement.
Interesting that Microsoft and Novell recently agreed to work together on things, but now instead of Office continuing to allow VBA macros on the Mac Office users will have to use NeoOffice's spinoff of OpenOffice which has a branch dealing with ooo-build spearheaded by Novell. Seems like they (Microsoft) are going about this the wrong way.
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