Mac fans waiting for the latest version of Microsoft's desktop productivity suite for OS X will have to wait a little longer. The company's Macintosh Business Unit has confirmed that the delivery date for Office 2008 for Mac OS X has slipped from the second half of this year back to mid-January 2008, at the earliest.

"Our number one priority is to deliver quality software to our customers and partners, and in order to achieve this we are shifting availability of Office 2008 for Mac to mid-January of 2008," said Mac BU General Manager Craig Eisler. "We're successfully driving toward our internal goal to RTM in mid-December 2007, and believe our customers will be very pleased with the finished product."
The 2008 release will be the first built for Intel-based Macs, even though it has been more than a-year-and-a-half since Apple began transitioning away from its PowerPC-based Mac line. The current Office product for the Mac, Office 2004, has to run in Apple's Rosetta emulation environment on Intel-based Macs.

Changes expected in the new version include the introduction of XML-based file formats, and a time management, task-launching widget. Final pricing for the productivity suite is still unavailable, though more details about features and exact timing are expected as the product moves closer to launch.