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iWork beats MS Office to Open XML support

updated 11:35 am EDT, Mon August 13, 2007

iWork beats MS Office

Apple last week released the latest version of its iWork business software suite with support for Microsoft's own Open XML format. Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) has yet to offer support for the company's own format, leading one industry analyst to describe the situation as "embarrassing" for the Redmond-based company. "This was the ultimate insult to injury," said Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research. "Not only has Microsoft not delivered the ability to read and write Open XML in its Mac Office, but at the end of the day, Apple was the one who delivered." Microsoft's planned Mac Office launch was recently delayed until mid-January of 2008 due to the shift to Open XML as Office 2008's native file format, as well as a slow shift in releasing conversion tools for support of older Office installations, according to Macworld UK.

The MacBU defended itself however, with one team member Brian Jones.

"The Mac Office folks have a ton of stuff they are working on for the next version, so it's not surprising that you aren't seeing full Open XML support until they reach that point."

Jupiter's research analyst paints a different picture, however.

"Office for the Mac is just not a real priority for Microsoft," Gartenberg said, adding that the situation is "not likely to change anytime soon."

The MacBU's marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre cited development issues as cause for the delay of Office 2008 for Mac.

"The transition to the new file format is one of several reasons the development cycle is longer with Office 2008," Lefebvre said. "Office 2008 will run natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs with a Universal Binary [and] this transition necessitated a switch to a new set of development tools as well. The combination of these two technology shifts definitely impacted our schedule."

Gartenberg answered this claim as well, saying that "what this really shows is Microsoft's inability to ship software on time these days." The analyst further speculates that Microsoft will find it exceedingly difficult to win back those users who migrate to Apple's iWork while waiting for Office 2008 for Mac.

"Microsoft's let down its Mac customers," Gartenberg concluded.

by MacNN Staff




  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft? Let us down?

    Say it ain't so!

    Seriously, for once an analyst gets it right with regards to Microsoft, though the MacBU has been slipping into irrelevance for a long time -- their problem is most shoddy management, and terrible product managers.

    Add to that, that they really don't have any talent in their coders anymore, especially in the MacBU, and what are you left with?

    Essentially, iWork '08 is simply Apple ascertaining that their customers have appropriate office tools, since MS is certainly not delivering.

    The only 'feature' iWork needs is some setting to, by default, save a document in the same format it was opened from (to facilitate inter-office compatibility).

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iWork '06 vs NeoOffice..?

    ...NeoOffice always seemed to work better for me at translating MS formats than iWork '06 - hopefully this is a good sign of things to come from Apple...

  1. burger

    Joined: Dec 1969



    iWork beats MS off.... I'm so easily amused.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MSFT/Mac leverage...

    I know, I know, there are still a lot of Office Mac fanboys out there who say that the Mac platform will suffer if MSFT dumps Office Mac. I'm beginning to think just the opposite will happen. If Office Mac is discontinued we would see a stampede from developers rushing to fill the void. If Open Office and NeoOffice can produce a decent product think what the Unix community could do if it really had some serious R&D money and support from Apple. What if the open source crowd was turned loose on iWork with Apple's blessing?

  1. robttwo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    out of the blocks

    imagine, if you will, seven of the fattest, blubbery-ist, waddling people you can think of. They are in 4-point stances with their flabby feet jammed into the starting blocks. The starter's gun cracks, and off they go.

    the eighth competitor doesnt have to be an olmypian to beat them. just reasonably in shape.

    end of lesson.

  1. clebin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    People calling this a loss for Microsoft are very misguided.

    Apple could've gone down the OpenDocument route and promoted a real standard in education.

    Instead Microsoft has someone supporting their semi-documented "standard" - hiding the real problems and legitimising OOXML - after pulling the wool over the eyes of EU and successfully lobbying American government.

    This is a case of Microsoft losing the battle but winning the war.

  1. umijin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hmmm... I can't even get the trial version of the Keynote 08 to open Mac PowerPoint files from the "open" dialog box. I think Apple needs to take care of those issues first, or people like me can't dump PowerPoint.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is bullshit !!

    The delay for Mac Office had nothing to do with M$'s decision to switch to XML native formatting_

    It was because they were having so much trouble attempting to deliver what they promised with Vista that pushed back Office development [Mac and Win]_

    In addition to wanting to have their product run on their own OS before their competitor's for the first time in history_ As nearly every iteration of M$ Office has been released on the Mac BEFORE it was released for Winodws [not to mention better and more features for the Mac version as well - but that's for another article]

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