Design Your Next Microsoft Office

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?

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