Microsoft to delay Office for Mac 2008

Mac users must wait until next year for fresh versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as Microsoft moves its intended launch of Office for Mac 2008 to January from the second half of this year.

"We had hoped to hit the Christmas selling season, but now we hope to target Macworld (in January)," said Craig Eisler, who became general manager of the Mac business unit at Microsoft six weeks ago. "We as a group were not satisfied with product quality."

Details about any software development snags, as well as final pricing, were unavailable. Office for Mac 2004 is sold in three flavors at between $150 and $500.

The company demonstrated early previews of Office for Mac 2008 at the Macworld 2007 convention in January. Microsoft will not open beta testing to the public as it did for more than six months while building Office 2007 for Windows.

The 2008 release will be the first built for Intel-based Macs. The features and visual style of Office for Mac software differ from their Windows counterparts. Microsoft is introducing XML-based file formats, which require a converter to be opened in older Office software. A time-management, task-launching widget joins Office for Mac 2008 in addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the Entourage e-mail application.


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