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Summary:

This last week, headlines were made about how Microsoft had delayed the release of Office for Mac 2008 until January of 2008, thanks to issues with product quality. But, given the pervasiveness of the Office platform, both on Mac and PC, I wonder just what features […]

This last week, headlines were made about how Microsoft had delayed the release of Office for Mac 2008 until January of 2008, thanks to issues with product quality. But, given the pervasiveness of the Office platform, both on Mac and PC, I wonder just what features could possibly be added to make me yearn for a new upgrade – beyond the feeling that I need to keep up with the Jones’s.

As I understand it, the major developments in Office for Mac 2008 will be that it’s designed for Intel-based Macs, and, hopefully, better compatibility with the latest documents created by Office 2007 toting Windows users. There’s also a new time management application, alongside Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage.

Big deal.

Love it or hate it, the current version of the Microsoft Office suite you have on your Mac is probably working for you. Word, Excel, PowerPoint… they all make sense. While the applications may crash on occasion, and there’s no doubt they could be simplified, or tweaks could be made, I’m just not expecting a massive overhaul of the Office family that would make me fork out the cash for the next generation of the software. In fact, I somewhat resent the fact that one of the main drivers to upgrade would be simply to make it “not break” when sent incompatible documents from Windows Office 2007. We would basically be rewarding Microsoft for making buggy software.

Are you planning to make an upgrade to Office for Mac 2008 once it debuts? And if not, can you think of what features you would want in your next Microsoft Office? Today, you’re the product manager. What features are you going to ask engineering to code?

  1. I’m not going to upgrade for the simple reason that I need VBA ( for Excel ) and that’ll be gone in Office 2008 for Mac
    I don’t care for new all the new features : I want to be able to script my spreadsheets !
    VBA, Applescript, I don’t care – bring it back ASAP.
    Meanwhile the free File Format Converter will do just fine :

    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx?pid=download&location=/mac/download/Office2004/ConverterBeta_0_2.xml

  2. How about less useless features, more stability and HIG compliance?

  3. Nadyne Mielke Monday, August 6, 2007

    Office 2004 will be able to read the new file formats as well. There’s a beta of the file format converters out now (for .docx and .pptx files, with support for .xlsx files coming), and we’ll update Office 2004 after Office 2008 is released so that the support will be native.

    One great way to get feedback to us is by using our product feedback website:
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/default.aspx?pid=feedback

    I’m not trying to stop the conversation here. :) I just want to say that you can send us feedback directly instead of hoping that we read (and remember, when planning time comes around again) the comments here.

  4. I’d love to dump MS office, but no-one has successfully created an alternative that will deal with complex .doc files in the same way so I’m stuck. And the change to .docx means an upgrade is inevitable someday. Bah.

  5. @Nadyne, your feedback is absolutely appreciated. I hope The Apple Blog community can contribute some good suggestions for you and the team, so your presence here is welcomed. Thanks for the note on Office 2004 compatibility. What about us Version X holdouts?

  6. Got me a copy of Office 2007 Enterprise for $25 from a special offer from my employer, a $700 value.

    Went straight to eBay! Hurray!

    I use my Windows box for a lot of things alongside my MacBook, but I hate Office. Especially Excel. Blarr.

    Just too much going on, and you can never find the formatting you need.

  7. Chris Fields Monday, August 6, 2007

    I’m curious what MS Office features compel users to stick with using it over alternatives such as OpenOffice?

    For instance, OpenOffice is expected to have a decently working Aqua port by the time Office 2008 comes out (maybe even a full non-beta release); beta releases are already currently available. And, as mentioned above, VB support will be removed in Office 2008.

  8. @Chris

    I plug OpenOffice almost every chance I get. Although I don’t personally use it since I don’t do that much documentin’, I have used it in the past and liked it a lot.

    Most people just don’t know about it, or really understand it. They see MS Office as the standard, and this OpenOffice stuff as secondhand.

    Though, if I were to put it on their PC (or Mac) they would never notice.

  9. The only thing I can think of to encourage an upgrade is the ability to export Powerpoint presentations to PC format that don not need tweaking. If they do that, OR if Keynote had a real PC player, I wouldn’t need to touch PC software of any kind.

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