Delays Hit Next Version of Office for Macs

The next version of Microsoft Office for the Mac platform has been delayed until next year.

According to a post on "The Office for Mac Team" blog, Office 2008 for Mac will be released to manufacturing in December, with commercial availability around mid-January 2008. The next version of Office for Mac was expected in the second half of 2007.

Craig Eisler, general manager of the Mac Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft, called the delay "a tough slip for us," but said that quality concerns made it necessary.

"As tough as it is, I firmly believe that this slip is the right call for MacBU. Delivering Office at the right quality level is super important to the entire team and to Microsoft's long standing commitment to the Mac platform, and it was clear from our June and July quality checkpoints that no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't release our product in time for the Christmas season with the kind of quality we wanted," Eisler blogged.

Eisler also said that "sneak peeks" into some of the new functionality and upgrades offered by the next version will be forthcoming, starting in September. Interestingly, he didn't use Microsoft's typical terms, like community technology preview or beta, to denote prerelease versions of products.

One of the most requested new features of the next version of Office for Mac (the latest version is Office 2004) is an e-mail client with more Outlook-like functionality. Currently, Entourage is the Mac equivalent of Outlook. But unlike other products in the Mac office suite -- Excel, Word and PowerPoint -- Entourage does not work much like its Windows platform counterpart.

As one poster in the comments section of the blog posting complained, "As long as the new Office has a real MAPI client that interacts with an exchange server to the same level that the Windows client I am happy. Please, please, please make this priority number 1. I don't care about the Project Center, I don't care about to-do lists, I just want to be able to read and respond to my email, create and respond to invites, etc. like a normal Windows users....but on my Mac!"

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].