Microsoft starts testing Office 2008 for Mac

Microsoft Corporation has started private testing of Office 2008 for Mac, the first version of Office for the Macintosh that runs natively on both Intel- and Power PC-based Macs. As well, the new software adds support for the XML file formats that Microsoft added to Office 2007, which hit store shelves in January. Microsoft did not say how many people are taking part in the private beta or whether it will have a public test version, but a representative said Friday that the company is still on track to have the final product out sometime in the second half of the year. A new feature in Office 2008 for Mac is a program called My Day, which gives users quick access to calendar information without requiring them to first go into the Entourage e-mail program. As well, improved page layout controls in Word and new Excel templates, called ledger sheets, are on the way. Microsoft has taken longer than its normal 18 to 24 months to come out with a new version of Office for the Mac – Office 2004 for Mac debuted in April 2004.

News source: ZDNet

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Am I the only one who looked at this headline and thought "Heh, good April Fools."?
(That's apart from the obvious one involving "Microsoft" and "testing"... :cheeky: )

Nope. I saw the article a few days ago so I new it was true. But I don't remember reading "testing".

They really could have better made 2004. Then again no one would have reason to buy 2008.

I really hope this release is better than Office 2004, but judging by those early screen shots, it's not looking too promising. My complaints with Office 2004 are as follows:

1) This office suite would rather be Microsoft Works:
You start Word 2004 up, do you get a blank document to start with? No, you get a ugly little "task wizard" with pre-built templates and an actual blank document obscured.

2) Interoperability with the "real" Microsoft Office - Ha!
There are only two major reasons to run Microsoft Office on the Mac. The first one is simply because Office is the best suite hands-down, but the second is interoperability. With the hideous non-consistant UI, they broke the first one pretty well, and sure enough they blew the second royally. Documents do not render the same as the do on Microsoft Office 2003 for Windows! Infact, just about everything is wrong! Table borders are screwed up, font spacing is different which adversely affects the layout of most documents.

3) The damn rendering engine:
This ties into my second point, the rendering engine in MSO 2k4 is on crack! Nothing actually renders the same as on it's Windows counterpart AND the so-called 100% zoom in both Excel and Word produce text so tiny it's impossible to read, all for the sake of fitting the ENTIRE page on one SXGA screen.

4) Completely half-baked Excel defaults:
Excel opens in page view by default! There is really no conceivable reason anyone would ever want this - at least anyone who uses a spreadsheet program frequently.

And finally... I never thought I would say this, but with Office 2004, Microsoft has created a product that almost makes look like an attractive option. *barf*

Please fix Office for us Mac users!

VT-Vincent said,
You start Word 2004 up, do you get a blank document to start with? No, you get a ugly little "task wizard" with pre-built templates and an actual blank document obscured.

You can turn that off if you want...

The rendering engine is definately being fixed. they were apparently using a much older Mac OS one. They're porting everything to the newest Xcode and so it will be UB native and will be much faster and a pure cocoa app. The rendering is the biggest peeve I have with it. The MS Mac blog promises they're fixing it.

surprise surprise?.. a few hundred employees working on windows products as opposed to 20 on mac

i'm looking forward to iwork 07 myself though.. i do use 2004 but i notice that the movement isn't as smooth as it is either in windows natively or pages.

OMG OpenOffice FTW!!!!!!1111

I mean, OpenOffice is much more aligned with Apple's "just works" motto... unlike Microsoft Office, which is way too hard to use and has hardly any features at all!

Office 2004 works well enough for me, but I have an Intel-based iMac, so Office 2008 sounds like it will fare much better in the long run.

its about the flipping time i mean from Mac Office 2004 to Office 2008 for Mac its a rather nonerrecycled rubbish gap but nevertheless I'm looking forward to this.