updated 03:45 am EDT, Thu July 19, 2007
Office 2008 challenges
When Microsoft releases Office 2008 for Mac OS X (currently in beta) later this year, upgraders will face significant challenges, including the elimination of Visual Basic for Applications scripts and macros -- a factor that will obviate cross-platform capabilities for many organizations. Use of a new file format, OOXML, will also present some issues. The new format is also not compatible with Office 2003 on Windows and Office 2004 on Mac OS X. In order to prepare for the document format shift, Microsoft has released a preliminary conversion package and plans a final version, while Apple reportedly will deliver a copy of TextEdit with Leopard that has the capability to open and save .docx (OOXML) files. Still, the tool strips Office 2007 files of their attached VBA scripts and macros. The Mac BU will ship an updated version of the conversion tool that will allow "editable access to VBA macros sent from Office 2007 users," according to eWeek though no date for that release has yet been set. Presenting an added hurdle, Office 2004 users will have to save documents in new .docm (for Word) or .xlsm (for Excel) formats in order to deal with Windows security concerns. Several users lament Microsoft's decision to encourage transition from Visual Basic to AppleScript; the latter is not cross-platform.