The nail may just be in the coffin. Those of you who were paying attention last week may have seen the many screenshots of Office 2008 for Mac floating around. While it’s tough to gauge an application package as big as Microsoft Office on just a […]

The nail may just be in the coffin. Those of you who were paying attention last week may have seen the many screenshots of Office 2008 for Mac floating around. While it’s tough to gauge an application package as big as Microsoft Office on just a few screenshots, what we are seeing looks very promising.

Perhaps the most interesting screenshot shows off Office Art 2.0, the graphics behind Office 2007 for Windows and Office 2008 for Mac. Not only does Office Art appear to deliver some amazingly powerful graphics tools (like SmartArt), it appears that Microsoft has taken the power of OSX’s GUI to heart and built a (dare I say) beautiful application.

In addition to finally being a Universal Binary, Office 2008 will also bring Microsoft’s long-awaited OpenXML (OOXML) format to the Mac. This will (hopefully) mean more applications built on a standard file format. Microsoft is also including a few “Mac-first, Mac-only” features that, if nothing else, shows they’re serious about keeping their Mac software market alive.

Will Office 2008 crush what’s left of iWork? Not that Apple ever intended for iWork to become a serious competitor to Office, but where will Pages fit into my daily routine next to a more powerful (and much more widely used) Word?

In the end, I suppose it comes down to personal preference and what kind of work you do. Pages and Keynote certainly are niche products. But Redmond is sure giving many of us a reason to look beyond that niche and keep giving MS Office a chance.

  1. I have to say… it looks great from the screenshots. However, using it may be another story.

    I abandoned Office for three reasons. 1. No need for Entourage… much prefer iCal, Mail, and Spotlight as my project management. 2. Keynote is fantastic. Even if PP improves I’m not moving away from Keynote. 3. I tend to do small, graphically rich documents and Word bogs down as soon as I start adding lots of graphics. I rarely need to share documents for collaboration and don’t need most of what Word offers. I hope this next version is better but I’m far too happy with iWork to switch back.

  2. I;m sorry to say that NeoOffice, (the mac port of OpenOffice.org), is my Office. I never bothered with iWork, removed it from each of my Macs as soon as I got them. NeoOffice has a price I like, (free), and although it is in Beta stage, I have found it to be more than stable enough for everyday use. And Office 2008’s big selling point of OpenXML format is due to be integrated into NeoOffice, (and its big brother OpenOffice), by late February. Sorry Microsoft, OpenSource beat Internet Explorer with Firefox, and now Office is gonna be shot down too.

  3. I got a personal demo of some of Office 2008 from MS, and as I said on TUAW, it looks good. Office has always crushed iWork in terms of features, and now I think MS is finally realized that they need to make those features easy to access.

    Office 2007 (for Windows) is the best Office app ever, and I think the Mac version will be even better.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but has anyone, EVER used the M$ toolbar buttons for New, Save, Undo, and Redo? Why do these buttons need to be on a modern, revamped interface. Seriously, who looks at a document they’re working on and says to themselves “you know, what I really want to do while editing THIS document is start a new, unrelated blank one.” Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine.

    Have to agree with denny in that M$ Office simply doesn’t fit my needs (with the exception of Excel – which I would gladly dump if someone would another usable spreadsheet app, and not just a 1:1 copy). Hopefully, the increased competition will spur Apple to do more with iWork (which does fit my needs).

  5. Funny, we in my company are going the other direction. Our mantra this year is, “better deliverables in less time.” And from our experience, that means ditching Word and Powerpoint and doing more with Keynote and Pages. The latter two tools just deliver better and more professional results faster than the Microsoft ones. Oh, you can do everything that Apple’s products do and more in Office — you’ll just tear your hair out getting there.

    Just my two cents, but I find myself doing more thinking and less cursing with the Apple products. And I’m using their export functions regularly now to deliver PowerPoint and Word docs. Even with the little bits of cleanup required, I’m finding myself ahead of the game time and quality wise. Office 2008 is going to have a high bar to clear. Your mileage may vary.

  6. Scottie Biddle Monday, January 22, 2007

    As Much as I love Pages and can do a whole bunch with it, Word is what I’m used to. As a recent switcher I can see that Pages is aimed at presentation and Word is focused on th material you’re typing. Also, the Mac version of Word is much better than Office 2003, even in Rosetta. For school, all formatting instructions are given for Word. I really ahte when people say “A Mac? You can’t do anything on a Mac!” or like my music teacher “Apple sucks!” (I was explaning the GarageBand had notation capability). I cannot wait for Office 2008 and Universal Office!

  7. I don’t know about you guys but for me the UI is so glassy that I would have to weare sunglasses using it…
    You know, they take the cherry on the top and think that by putting it all over the cake, they would make it better.

  8. I really like having the New and Save icons on my Word toolbar– and use them all the time!

    I often have several document open at a time– and will create a New one and use text from the others–real multi-tasking. And the Save icon is a snap– and faster than menu hunting.

    Just downloaded NeoOffice’s latest. Have they solved the slow start up time? It really took forever in earlier versions. There were some other features that were clunky. I guess I’ll find out soon enough what improvements have been made.

  9. It’s nice to hear that iWork holds such a coveted place in the hearts of many of you. Since I’m in medicine, the creative aspect of iWork unfortunately doesn’t effect much of what I do.

    I think the devil may be in the details for M$ Office. If Office 2008 isn’t backward compatible and efficient in converting older file types, it may just end up being a disaster.

    I haven’t used NeoOffice in a while either, mostly due to the slow load times.

  10. As a professional Macintosh/Microsoft Engineer, I have had many years of installing, using and maintaining both Microsoft and Apple products. The key here is productivity. Here iWork reigns supreme. I use it 95% of the time myself. If you need to open or edit a Word document, use TextEdit – it can open, edit and save Word docs and is more compatible than any version of Word itself!


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