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Microsoft releases Office for Mac 2011 to manufacturing

updated 02:40 am EDT, Sat September 11, 2010

Mac Office expected to ship in late October

Microsoft on Friday released its long awaited Office for Mac 2011 to manufacturing, keeping in line with its expected release date before the holiday shopping season--some time in late October. The company, which has been working on the next-generation Office suite for the Mac for nearly two and a half years, said that the newest version of Office Mac users will be its "best release yet," bringing new features such as a new template gallery, reintroduced Visual Basic support, a new Outlook for Mac application, connections with online Microsoft services, and a new Ribbon interface as well as Sparklines and photo editing.

Supporting earlier reports of an October 27th release date, it has completed "final testing and the product is officially getting sent on its way to production and to customers," according to Geoff Price, Product Unit Manager at the MacBU, the company's Mac-focused business unit.

The software, created with help from development teams around the world (including Redmond, Microsoft Silicon Valley, Beijing, Dublin and Tokyo) will remain 32-bit, meaning that the entire Office suite has not been completely transitioned over to native Cocoa. Unless the entire suite is written in Cocoa, it cannot take advantage of 64-bit processing and larger memory configurations.

Price's blog post also includes a brief video that the MacBU team put together to "give a behind-the-scenes look at RTM and some special features that didn't make the cut (our "deleted scenes" if you will)."

Owners who purchase Office 2008 for Mac between Aug. 1, 2010 and Nov. 30, 2010 are eligible for a free upgrade, while other users will have to purchase the standalone versions. The Home and Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Messenger, but does not include Outlook and is being priced at $120 for a single user, or $150 in a three-installation Family Pack. The Home and Business edition includes the new Outlook for Mac, but is $200 for a single license, and $280 for a "Multi-Pack" supporting just one additional computer.

by MacNN Staff



  1. godrifle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How shocking would it be...

    if the company *didn't* say it was their best release ever.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not worth it

    There are so any better and cheaper alternatives to M$ c***. The release will be buggy probably create horrible conflicts in the system leading to crashes.

    I say avoid this like plague.

  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    I attended an Office 2011 demo presentation a few months ago targeted at IT professionals, and had about an hour to work with a couple of the elements (Word and Excel). I was really impressed. Speed is tremendously improved and overall polish was very high even for an early beta at the time. There were some quirks but I'm going to hold off judgement until I receive the final version.

    If you rely on Office as an integral part of your business, but prefer to use Macs, this is a very positive release. If you're comfortable using the ribbon interface in the Windows version, or rely on macros, the transition to the Mac version should be pretty seamless. MS kept the Mac version of Outlook tightly under wraps so I have no idea how good of a version it is, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Anything would be an improvement over Entourage, really.

    Also: Members of the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft, including at least one senior engineer, frequent ArsTechnica's Mac board. There's often some pretty high level conversations between them and end users about various issues -- if you're an adult and can refrain from typing "M$" for Microsoft, it's a great way to influence the future direction of Office on the Mac.

  1. alexkhan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Should Be Good

    I agree with andrewbw here. Microsoft has nothing to gain by putting out a shoddy version of the Office for the Mac. It's a good source of additional revenues and profits for Microsoft and they know that Apple is here to stay. Also, although Apple and Microsoft will continue to compete vigorously in various areas of the expanding tech and consumer electronics market, they do share one big common enemy: Google. That means Apple and Microsoft will play nice with each other if their combined effort can thwart Google at every turn, but not at the expense of each other, of course.

  1. CaptainHaddock

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not holding my breath…

    I have to disagree with the above commenters. I've been using the latest beta, and it's ridiculously slow and buggy. I think Excel takes about 10 minutes between launch and becoming usable, and that's on fairly recent Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro. The ribbon also never seems to show the right tools, and text formatting simply doesn't work much of the time in Powerpoint.

  1. IxOsX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is it better

    My question... For most of you, is MS Office for Mac better than the free OpenOffice 3.2 for Mac, or Windows, or Linux?

    Just asking, because last versions of OpenOffice 3.2 looks to me more than good, so I do not understand why so many people only sees MS Office as the only solution, knowing that by using the MS solution, will be harder and harder in the future to jump out, because of the NO standard formats that MS use to generate incompatibilities.

    Anyway I think is always good to have the biggest amount os alternatives available for Mac users. So like or not MS Office 2011, MS Office pack is very welcome.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Just asking, because last versions of OpenOffice 3.2 looks to me more than good,

    Looks, as in "Well, it looks good enough" or as in "I've used it for a while and find it a good, competent replacement"?

    I've always found OpenOffice to be sllllloooooooowwwww, esp. to open the app. Probably because it was written in Java.

    And the fundamental problem I have with OO is just that they don't try to make a better office application. All their goal seems to be is 'do what MS does'. At least iWork is 'different', and not just for the sake of being different.

    so I do not understand why so many people only sees MS Office as the only solution, knowing that by using the MS solution, will be harder and harder in the future to jump out, because of the NO standard formats that MS use to generate incompatibilities.

    Except people haven't had issues with reading/writing Word documents from other editors, so I don't see that as an issue. And they did open up their 'xml' formatted documents, didn't they.

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