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2/11/2010
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Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Expect Office Mac 2011 This Year

In a press conference this morning, Microsoft reiterated that the next version of its productivity suite for the Macintosh, Office for Mac, will be out in the fourth quarter of 2010. It will get some interface changes a la Office for Windows, some new features, and even a new component.

In a press conference this morning, Microsoft reiterated that the next version of its productivity suite for the Macintosh, Office for Mac, will be out in the fourth quarter of 2010. It will get some interface changes a la Office for Windows, some new features, and even a new component.Microsoft is touting the collaboration features of the new Office and its new co-authoring tools. In Word, for example, more than one person can work on the same document at the same time and see what paragraphs each of them is editing. Also, as previously announced, the new version will be compatible with Office Web Apps. Web Apps, already available for Windows Office users, allows online viewing and editing of Office documents.

Office for Mac 2011 will share other features with Office Windows, too, one of the most noticeable being the Windows Office 2007-style Ribbon. Mac Office 2008 took a step in that direction with the Elements Gallery, and Office 2011 goes the rest of the way -- Word, for example, has sections on the Ribbon for common font, paragraph, and style formatting commands. (See screen shot.) According to Macintosh Business Unit general manager Eric Wilfrid, 80% of Office's most-used features are in the default Ribbon.

Office_Mac_ribbon

Also as previously announced, a brand-new version of Outlook will replace Entourage as Office's e-mail/calendar/contacts manager component. Written in Cocoa -- the modern Mac application development framework -- Outlook will support Exchange Web Services and Windows .pst database files.

Office for Mac 2011 is still on track to be available by this year's holiday season. Pricing was not announced.

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