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.