Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Finally Arrives

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-01-14 Print this article Print

The product shares Open XML file format found in the Office 2007 System family of products.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac hits the streets January 15 after close to four years under development and a year after Microsoft released Office 2007 for the PC.

"What we tried to achieve with Office 2008 for the Mac is to help users get their work done more simply, and compatibility was a big driver here. Everyone is looking for the product to deliver great compatibility," Amanda Lefebvre, the marketing manager for Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, told eWEEK.

Compatibility is important for those users who share documents across platforms, she said, noting that the product works natively on both Power PCs and Intel-based Macs and that speed has been improved across-the-board, Lefebvre said.

This latest version of Office for Mac also shares the Open XML file format found in the Office 2007 System family of products.

"A lot of the work we did on this release was on the file format to ensure that users had a good compatibility experience. While this is new and users will have to figure out how to work with it, overall it will be a pretty seamless experience for customers," she said.

Asked how compatibility would work between documents in the current Office 2004 for Mac format and the new Open XML format in the 2008 product, Lefebvre said the team had created downloadable converters for Word and PowerPoint, both of which were in beta format, with an update for Excel expected to be delivered soon.

To see a Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac slide show, Click here. 

"Office 2008 users can also save to these older file formats, and we expect to be able to deliver an integrated converter for 2004 in the first half of the year, which will give a seamless experience as documents will be automatically converted behind the scenes," she said. 

Office 2008 for Mac also shares the same graphics engine as the 2007 Office System, allowing it to take advantage of the graphics tools and effects like glows, shines and reflections, as well as the Smart Art tools, which allows graphics to be shared between people working on the same documents.

The Office for Mac team had also re-engineered the product's user interface, which now includes the Elements Gallery, a visual thumbnail of design, format and other options and which is essentially a one-click tool to create professional documents, Lefebvre said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel