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Microsoft to Deliver Office 2008 for Macs

Ever since Apple announced its intent to transition its entire Macintosh product line to Intel processors a year ago, speculation has abounded: will Microsoft continue to develop its version of Microsoft Office for the Mac OS X operating system, or, with the advent of Intel processors and Windows-running capabilities offered by Apple’s own Boot Camp and third-party virtualization solutions from the likes of VMWare and Parallels, simply decide that if Mac users want to run Office, they can darn well run Windows too.

Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit—informally known as the MacBU—put an end to speculation at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco by announcing that they intent to ship Microsoft Office 2008 for Macintosh during the second half of 2007—and, furthermore, the suite will support both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, and offer several Mac-first and Mac-only features..

“For more than two decades, Microsoft has been committed to delivering quality and innovation on the Macintosh platform while retaining unparalleled compatibility with PCs,” said MacBU’s general manager Roz Ho. “Office 2008 is, by far, the most comprehensive, Mac-complementary productivity suite we’ve developed to date. I’ve witnessed firsthand the progression of this product, and am excited to think about the possibilities that soon will be available to our customers when Office 2008 launches later this year.”

Microsoft announced that Office 2008 for the Mac will share a graphics engine with Office for Windows, enabling users to add professional graphics to documents with a single button click. The Mac version will also sport the Ribbon user interface adopted from Office 2007, integrating Mac-specific features and capabilities. Mac-only features will include a Publishing Layout View, enabling users to more easily create layout-intensive documents like newsletters, fliers, and brochures, Ledger Sheets which leverage Excel to let users handle common home and small business tasks, and My Day, enabling users to more easily keep track of daily activities regardless of what application they’re using. Microsoft also committed to compatibility with Windows versions of Office, saying Mac Office 2008 will use the same Office Open XML document formats as Office 2007. Microsoft plans to release a public beta of file format converters in the ffirst quarter of 2007, enabling existing Office 2004 for Mac users to read and write the new Office Open XML formats.

Microsoft also announced an update to the shipping version of Entourage its email, newsgroup, and PIM application for the Mac, making it aware of new start dates for Daylight Saving Time which go into effect in March, 2007.

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