Microsoft is planning to release Service Pack 1 for Office for Mac 2011 next week, with improved syncing support.
Microsoft is planning on releasing its first service pack
for Office for Mac 2011 the week of April 11. According to an April 6 posting
on Microsoft's Office For Mac blog,
Service Pack 1 (SP1) will offer "increased stability, security, and some new
features to the suite," including improved Outlook syncing support.
Once Office for Mac 2011 supports syncing between Apple Sync
Services and Outlook for Mac, users will be able to sync their Outlook
calendar, notes, contacts and tasks with any device supporting Apple's Sync
Services, including the iPhone and iPad.
However, those syncing their iPhone or iPad calendars with
the new version of Apple's MobileMe cannot sync with the Outlook 2011 SP1
calendar, something the posting attributes to "the broken link between MobileMe
and Sync Services." However, Outlook will remain capable of syncing MobileMe
Mail via IMAP, as well as Contacts and Notes.
"We know we have more work to do, specifically around better
integration with additional services," Pat Fox, senior director of Office's
Product Management Group, wrote in the posting. "We recognize that for some of
you these are an important part of your workflow, but we don't have any
information to share on potential future updates."
He also called out Office for Mac 2011's newfound support
(with the Service Pack) for Exchange-based server-side rules, an Outlook
Redirect button that redirects messages to intended recipients, Outlook editing
of existing messages, the Outlook Resend button, and "Solver integration support
Microsoft originally released Office for Mac 2011 in October
2010. For the first time, the Mac version of Microsoft's productivity software
included Outlook for Mac, in addition to the old stalwarts of Word, PowerPoint,
Excel and Messenger.
Tweaks to those productivity platforms included the Office
"ribbon" interface, imported from the PC version, and support for SkyDrive and
SharePoint 2007 as file storage. Office 2011 also features Visual Basic for
Applications, which was excluded from Office 2008.
Although Office has long held a dominant position in the
productivity-software realm, it faces the prospect of increased
from cloud-based services such as Google Apps. In a bid to counter
Microsoft is pushing hard on Office 365, a cloud-based platform that
organizations to stay up-to-date with the latest versions of Microsoft
SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. Whether this
"Office-in-the-cloud" model can take off in the same way as the
original desktop version,
though, remains to be seen.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.