Microsoft will release Office for Mac 2011 in late October, in three different editions and in 13 different languages. Microsoft is offering the productivity suite in three editions: Academic, Home & Business and Home & Student.
Office for Mac Home & Student Edition 2011 will retail for $119 for one install, along with a three-install Family Pack for $149. It will feature Word for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac, Excel for Mac and Messenger for Mac 8.
Office for Mac Home & Business Edition 2011 will retail for $199 for one install, along with a two-install "multipack" for $279. In addition to the software offered with the Home & Student Edition, the Home & Business Edition will include Outlook for Mac.
Office for Mac Academic Edition 2011 will retail for a presumably student-budget-friendly $99 for one install, and include all the software present in the Home & Business Edition.
Qualifying customers, apparently, can upgrade to Office for Mac 2011 if they purchase Office for Mac 2008 between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30, via the Microsoft Office for Mac Technology Guarantee program.
In late July, Microsoft provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse of some Office for Mac 2011's upcoming features. These included the Template Gallery, which lets users pick from thousands of Microsoft Office templates as a jumping-off point for creating new documents, and an e-mail-threading Conversation View in Outlook for Mac. In addition, the suite will leverage the Office ribbon, while offering the classic Mac menu and Standard Toolbar.
Microsoft released Office 2010 to consumers in June, but early numbers indicate the software hasn't been an enormous hit on the scale of Windows 7. Research firm The NPD Group suggested in a July research note that Office 2010's "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."
The softness of those numbers, however odd in the context of the Office franchise's ubiquity among businesses and consumers, suggests that Office 2010 may prove to be a victim of its predecessors' success: "Selling such a heavily used product into a base that has already been upgrading at a very high rate is an enormous challenge," Stephen Baker, an analyst for The NPD Group, wrote in a July 13 blog posting.
Users of Office for Mac 2011 will presumably have access to Microsoft Office Web Apps, a cloud-based platform for document viewing (and lightweight editing) created by Microsoft as a counterbalance to similar Web productivity software such as Google Docs.