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Sales Of Office For Mac Highest In Nearly 20 Years

While announcing the soaring sales, Microsoft also released Service Pack 1 of Office for the Mac.

Microsoft on Tuesday said Office 2008 for the Mac is the hottest selling version of the productivity suite in nearly 20 years.

In announcing the soaring sales, the software maker also released Service Pack 1 of Office for the Mac. SP1 in general improves the suite's stability, security, and performance. The company also gave a peek of the product's roadmap by saying it would have Visual Basic for Applications in the next version.

VBA is an implementation of Microsoft's Visual Basic programming language that's built into Office applications. By embedding the VBA integrated development environment into software, Microsoft provides a familiar tool for developers customizing the suite. Microsoft dropped VBA from Office for the Mac after version 2004.

Microsoft said sales of Office 2008, which launched in January, are nearly three times what the company saw with the launch of Office 2004. The suite is selling faster than any version in 19 years. "As we set our course for future versions, we are working closely with customers and will also expand our staff to ensure that Office for Mac remains the most powerful and compatible productivity suite for Mac customers," Craig Eisler, general manager of Microsoft's Mac business unit, said in a statement.

While Microsoft did not give a reason for the sales boost, Apple has reported soaring sales of Mac computers. The Mac and iPod maker last month reported a 51% increase in Mac shipments in the first quarter over the same period last year. The company shipped 2.3 million Macs, which drove a 54% increase in revenues.

SP1 provides a variety of application-specific updates. Within the Excel spreadsheet program, the update provides compatibility with files exchanged between the 2008 version for the Mac and Excel 2003 and 2007 for Windows. There is also more reliable printing for elements on the Mac version's workbook.

Within Word 2008, SP1 improves printing accuracy when orienting tables with cell shading. The reliability of the document map has been improved, and the notebook layout has updated formatting.

Within PowerPoint, the presentation application has been fixed, so it doesn't crash when printing documents to high dots-per-inch (DPI) printers. The overall printing speed has been increased tenfold on some large presentations, and Microsoft has added the ability to view PowerPoint slides on Windows Mobile phones.

SP1 is available for download on Microsoft's Mactopia site. The update will also be distributed through the company's automatic update service.

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