Tag Archives | Microsoft Office

Office for the Mac: The Same, Only Different

Microsoft’s Office 2011 for the Mac goes on sale today–the first version to support Office’s Ribbon interface, the first one in years with Outlook, and one that’s priced to move. The company provided me with a pre-release copy a few weeks ago, and when I’ve been using a Mac I’ve been running Office and mostly enjoying the experience. That wasn’t a given: I mostly avoided its predecessor, Office 2008, which was slow and not only lacked the Ribbon but had a floating-palette interface I actively disliked. (I was known to run a virtualized copy of Windows on Macs mostly so I could use Windows Office.)

For some people, the fact that Microsoft–a company who has been known to deride Apple’s customers as trendy spendthrifts–still makes Office for the Mac is apparently hard to reconcile. Microsoft’s press site has a story that seems designed both to reassure Apple fans that Microsoft loves them and Microsoft fans that it doesn’t love Apple fans that much.

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Microsoft Office 365: One-Stop Shopping for Desktop and Web Productivity

At an event in San Francisco this morning, Microsoft announced something called Office 365. It’s less of a new product or service and more of an attempt to make it easy for businesses of all sizes to offload IT infrastructure and acquire the Microsoft productivity applications and services they want on a pay-as-they-go basis. (It’s the successor to an existing offering called the Business Productivity Office Suite.)

Office 365’s components include Outlook and a hosted version of the Exchange server, a hosted version of the Lync unified communications server, hosted Sharepoint, the Office Web Apps, and the full-blown Office Pro Plus suite in its traditional desktop form. New Web-based tools will aim to make it easy to sign up for 365 and manage its various bits and pieces in one place. The company is beta-testing the service now and plans to fully roll it out next year.

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Microsoft Smears OpenOffice in Video

Microsoft must really be feeling some pressure from OpenOffice, because it recently published a YouTube video that spreads a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about the free open-source word processor.

Using case studies and press releases that have previously been published on Microsoft’s website, the video quotes OpenOffice users who had problems with compatibility, performance and tech support. The overall gist is that OpenOffice may be free, but it isn’t worth the trouble.

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Office for Mac Coming in October…and It's Cheaper

Microsoft said Monday that it was expecting to release Office for Mac 2011 in October, while at the same time cutting the price as much as 50 percent to bring pricing in line with its Windows counterparts. Two versions of the software will be made available, one directed at academics and the other for business.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 will include World, Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft’s instant messaging application for Mac OS X. The business version will include all of the above applications plus Outlook, which will replace Entourage as Office’s e-mail client on the Mac.

Pricing for the student version ill be $119 for a single license, and $149 for a family license which allows for installation on up to three machines. This compares to a single license price of $149 for Office 2008. For Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, a single license is now $199, down from $399, and a family license $279.

At any time, a user will be able to upgrade from the Student to Business version using online upgrade functionality, Microsoft said.

A $99 version of the business suite would also be made available, but only to those in higher-education. Proof of employment or enrollment in an academic institution would likely be required to take advantage of the discount.

Those who purchase Office for Mac 2008 after Monday will be eligible to upgrade to the new version at no cost, Microsoft said. To receive the free upgrade, the purchaser must register at Microsoft’s website.


Office 2010 Hits Store Shelves

The last bit of Microsoft’s Office 2010 rollout is now in place: The suite upgrade has gone on sale at retail stores, and is now being shipped in a pre-installed version on new PCs. (Even if the Windows machine you buy doesn’t include a paid-for copy of Office 2010, chances are pretty high that it includes a trial version which can be unlocked, or used indefinitely in a dumbed-down, ad-supported Starter mode.

For people who care about office-suite upgrades at all, I think Office 2010 is a good bet overall–especially the $150 Home and Student edition, which can be installed on three machines simultaneously, providing impressive bang for the buck as long as you don’t need Outlook.

But I seem to be way less impressed with the new Office Web Apps than the average tech pundit (here’s Walt Mossberg’s cautiously positive take). I get that Microsoft sees them as a complement to traditional Office rather than a substitute, and appreciate the much-better-than-average file compatibility and rendering fidelity. But too many very, very basic features are absent: For instance, I don’t quite understand how anyone could release a presentation app in 2010 that doesn’t let you draw a square or circle.

I attended an Office launch event last night, and Microsoft executives said they plan to beef up the Office Web Apps on an ongoing basis; I’ll keep tabs on further developments. And maybe the company’s contention that the current versions provide most of the features that most real people want is closer to being right than I think it is–if you try out the Web Apps (or Office 2010 itself) I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Microsoft's Office Web Apps Are Open for Business

Microsoft has announced that the consumer versions of its new Office Web Apps–browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote–are now available to anyone who cares to check them out. They’re headquarted at office.live.com, and you need a Live ID to access them.

I wrote about the Office Web Apps when I covered Office 2010 a few weeks ago. Certain things about them are impressive–mainly the desktop-esque look and feel and much-better-than-average support for Microsoft’s own file formats. Overall, though, I found them frustratingly rudimentary: Years after Google and Zoho jumpstarted the category of Web-based suites, Microsoft is entering the market that lacks features as basic as the ability to move elements around on the page. They’re far more interesting as adjuncts to Office 2010–a pretty solid upgrade–than as a self-contained competitor to other online productivity packages. Maybe that was Microsoft’s intention all along.

If you give them a try, let us know what you think.