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Microsoft delays Office 2008 until Jan 2008

updated 03:00 am EDT, Thu August 2, 2007

Office 2008 delayed

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit on Thursday announced that the next Mac version of its industry-standard Microsoft Office suite will be delayed. Saying the decision was purely "quality driven." The company told MacNN that the release of the highly anticipated Office 2008 for Mac suite has been pushed back from its originally projected late 2007 release date to early 2008 -- "hopefully" in time for the annual Macworld Expo Conference, which takes place in early January. As recently as June, the Mac BU said that Office 2008 was "on track" for release in the second half of 2007.

In a briefing with the Mac BU's new General Manager (GM), MacNN learned that mitigating factors for an on-time release included issues related to the new Open Office XML file format and problems with transitioning the Office code-base to an Intel-optimized Universal Binary. However, Microsoft's Craig Eisler, who replaced Roz Ho as GM of the Mac-focused devision earlier this year, emphasized that pushing for an earlier release would have compromised the quality of the product. A mid-December RTM (release to manufacturing) date has been set, which should make the software available by mid-January.

"Document fidelity is important to the Mac BU and they are working towards ensuring that files produced in Office 2008 for Mac are held to the standard of the new Office Open XML format and compatible with Office 2007 for Windows," Microsoft told MacNN.

The transition from Office 2004, as a set of CodeWarrior-compiled applications, to a full-fledged, Intel-native suite -- built using Apple's own Xcode development environment -- presented serious challenges for the Mac BU team, according to Microsoft representatives.

"Developing a Universal Office suite means coding for two separate platforms. The move from CodeWarrior to Xcode was a significant milestone and meant that the development team at the Mac BU had to learn new tools to continue development of Office 2008 for Mac," company representatives explained.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released an update to its standalone Office Open XML drag and drop converter. The update includes improvements to converting Word documents and the additional ability to convert PowerPoint .pptx files. As previously announced, the Mac BU is working to include the ability to convert Excel .xlsx files in the drag and drop converter. The Mac BU confirmed that the delay in Office 2008 would also push back the final release of the converter: Microsoft intends to release the final utility about 6-8 weeks after Office 2008 ships.

Full Leopard compatibility?

Addressing compatibility concerns with Apple's upcoming Mac OS X Leopard release, Eisler said that the company is "working closely with Apple to deliver the best possible experience for our mutual customers." However, the Microsoft employee also said that the Redmond-based company does not have any Leopard-specific features to announce at this time.

While the Mac BU is working with Apple to deliver the Office 2008 release, it would not comment on whether the productivity suite would be 100 percent compatible with Apple's Leopard operating system. Earlier this year, Apple delayed the release of its Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" operating system, as it reallocated development resources to ensure the timely release of the iPhone.

Currently, Office 2008 is in a closed beta cycle. The release was announced during Macworld 2007, and shares a new graphics engine with Office for Windows, as well as introducing Office Art 2.0, which enables users to easily add pre-designed graphics. The upgraded suite also features a new user interface that offers an Elements Gallery, emphasizing discoverability while providing quick access to tools as well as Mac-specific features within applications.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. tbo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    good riddance

    Bye bye. They're out. "Quality driven" means: no funds and no plans.

  1. wr11

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Wait what?

    2008 delayed until 2008? How convenient.

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    yikes.

    this is pretty lame. i was hoping to get a new site license before the end of the year. i was really expecting October based on what they were saying at MacWorld 07.

    it certainly slows adoption of Intel Macs as well. though Office 2004 is on the stabler end of the scale as far as Rosetta apps go... it is still incredibly slow starting up. and i end up avoiding loading it if possible. that won't work for everyone however. and i don't trust it for Powerpoints at all really.

  1. doctor9

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    so what's new?

    Does this really come as a surprise? Adobe did it, Quark did it, even Apple took time getting its apps Intel-ready. Considering the amount of bloat in Office, I definitely understand the issue of development time needed to convert to the new Universal Binary code.

    NeoOffice lives on!

    /

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Who Needs It

    The format wars of 1994 led me to despise Office. Who needs it? Microsoft knows exactly that they are disrupting the use of literally billions, perhaps trillions, of pieces of work performed over the last decades. The IT departments of big business must be ecstatic.

    All in the name of "Open Source of course.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    To h*** with MS

    Garbageware at its best. There are TONS of better alternatives ready TODAY! NeoOFFICE anyone! ;)

  1. Spook E

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Joke

    Are you guys serious about neoOffice? While i'm amazed at the work that is going into it, it is still a long way behind anything else out there at the moment.

    Let's just hope the OpenOffice people get the mac version hurried along. I still for the life of me don't understand why apple don't just take it, develop it up for mac, and make it a follow up to AppleWorks

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Delayed?

    This is a good way to hurt Apple by delaying adoption of Intel Macs.

    However the argument that Apple and Adobe took time to get their apps ported is nonsense. For one Apple and Adobe are finished and two, Microsoft employs more programmers then anybody in the world. They could have had it done long ago if they wanted to!

  1. chucker

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    delayed?

    Hey come on, give them a break,

    they probably just had to reallocate some of their engineers from MacOffice to the ZunePhone :-)

  1. DarylF2

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    2 Years...

    Apple shipped its first Intel Macs in January 2006, and I'm sure companies like MS has pre-production development machines for at least 6 months before that.

    And they're not going to release Office for Intel Macs until January 2008?

    That's really sad... I think it shows how screwed up Microsoft is internally.

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