Microsoft has announced that it will continue to provide Mainstream Support for Office 2004 for Mac. The extension will mean that SMBs that rely on Visual Basic for Applications macros will be fully supported until the next version of Office comes out.
Microsoft has announced that it will continue to provide Mainstream Support for Office 2004 for Mac. The extension will mean that SMBs that rely on Visual Basic for Applications macros will be fully supported until the next version of Office comes out.According to a post on Microsoft's Mac Mojo blog, most Mac Office customers have upgraded to Office 2008. But Office 2008 doesn't include support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), so some users have stayed with Office 2004. VBA enables businesses to write macros to perform functions in the Office applications that aren't built in -- for example, to automatically pull data from Excel into a Word report or to perform complex Excel data manipulations.
Mainstream Support, which runs for five years according to the Microsoft Support Lifestyle Policy, was due to end for Office 2004 today. (Mainstream Support is Microsoft's primary post-release support phase and includes security updates and nonsecurity bug fixes. It is followed by the Extended Support phase, which is more limited.) But that would have left customers that rely on VBA without full support until the next version of Office for Mac comes out. That version, which will restore VBA functionality to the suite, is due out by holiday season 2010.
So Microsoft decided to extend Mainstream Support for Office 2004 through January 10, 2012, "specifically to ensure continuous cross-platform compatibility for Office 2004 customers reliant on VBA," according to the blog post. The blog post also states that it's Microsoft's policy to support Office 2004 and 2008 "side-by-side," so businesses can install both versions on the same machine. That way they can use the newer one with its additional features but still have the old one around for when they need specific VBA features.