Microsoft Stays Mac Course with Revamped Office, Virtual PC

UPDATED: The Windows giant announces Office 2004 for Mac with new organizational and sharing features, while saying it has started work on a follow-on release and has laid out Mac development for years to come.

SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft Corp., reaffirming its commitment to developing applications for Mac OS X, on Tuesday launched a new version of its Office productivity suite and an update to its Virtual PC emulation software during the Macworld Conference & Expo here.

Both Office 2004 for Mac and Virtual PC for Mac Version 7 are set to ship in the first half of this year and are part of a roadmap through 2007 of Mac products to come from Microsofts Macintosh Business Unit, said Tim McDonough, director of marketing for the unit, during an interview with

/zimages/4/28571.gif Check out eWEEK.coms Mac Office 2004 slideshow.

Office 2004 for Mac is Microsofts second Mac OS X-native Office version, following the release of Office v. X for Mac two years ago. The software was demonstrated here at Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs keynote address.

/zimages/4/28571.gifIn his keynote address, Steve Jobs called Apples new iLife 4.0 software "Microsoft Office for the rest of your life." Click here to read more about the package.

In the latest release, Microsoft has focused on new features for organizing and sharing information across the suite of productivity applications—Word 2004 for word processing; Excel 2004 for spreadsheets; PowerPoint 2004 for presentations; Entourage 2004 for e-mail, contacts and calendaring; and MSN Messenger Version 4.0 for instant messaging.

A new project-management feature in Entourage 2004 called Project Center will let users organize the e-mails, documents, task lists, contacts and meetings associated with a specific project. Snapshots of the Project Center also can be viewed throughout other Office applications, McDonough said.


In Word 2004, users will gain a new way to take notes with the Word Notebook Layout View. Appearing as ruled notebook paper, the view will let users flag and search information in notes, add images, create Entourage tasks and record audio that is then synced with the notes for playback.

Excel 2004 will gain a new Page Layout View, where users can view a spreadsheet as it would appear when printed and automatically reformat a spreadsheet to fit a printed page.

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