Microsoft is providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the features in the upcoming Office for Mac 2011, through a series of videos on its Mac Mojo Website. A July 28 posting on the site indicates that the productivity suite is tracked for release in the last quarter of 2010.
New Office for Mac 2011 features include the Template Gallery, which lets users pick from "thousands" of Microsoft Office templates as a jumping-off point for creating new documents, and an email-threading Conversation View in Outlook for Mac. "Additionally, the new file-based database is faster and provides more stability with Time Machine support," the Mac Mojo Team wrote in the July 28 posting.
Office for Mac 2011 will also leverage the Office ribbon, "designed as an evolution of the Office 2008 Elements Gallery," while also offering the classic Mac menu and Standard Toolbar.
Microsoft has long been claiming that Office for Mac 2011 will include many of the features present in Office 2010, including the ability to access documents online through Microsoft Office Web Apps. Office 2011 will also allow co-workers to co-author documents from different locations, with features designed to prevent lost edits and other productivity issues.
In June, Microsoft released Office 2010 for businesses and consumers, but data from third-party analysts indicates that sales of the software may be lagging, at least in some respects, behind that of predecessor Office 2007.
"According to NPD's Weekly Tracking Service the results are mixed," Stephen Baker, an analyst for research firm The NPD Group, wrote July 13 on the company's blog. "Units and dollars are down from Office 2007's initial two weeks of sales but are in line, and in fact slightly ahead of, sales trends of Office 2007 so far this year."
Baker went on to suggest that Microsoft may very well be a victim of its own success: "Selling such a heavily used product into a base that has already been upgrading at a very high rate is an enormous challenge," he wrote. Until Windows 7, which was seen as a cure-all for both the aged Windows XP and the maligned Windows Vista, Office has a reputation as a relatively trouble-free platform.
In a June 15 news release, Microsoft had claimed that, based on its own internal survey, around 75 percent of Office 2010 beta users planned to purchase the retail version of the software within six months. "We predict this will be the biggest consumer release of Office ever," Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft Business Division, said at the time.