Microsoft Office for Mac Update to Arrive in 2014

Ignored no more. In what's sure to be welcome news to Office for Mac users, Microsoft is reportedly preparing an update for the long-in-the-tooth productivity software suite.

Microsoft's Office for Mac 2011 was launched in October 2010. And while it largely caught up with the Windows editions at the time, since then it has fallen behind the company's cloud-enabled, often-updated Office 365 offerings.

That's set to change this year, according to Thomas Cloer of Germany's Computerwoche. Microsoft's German Office chief, Thorsten Hübschen, revealed to the site that a new version for Apple's operating system is on the way.

Microsoft's Mac business software division was folded into the company's business software unit in 2010, and ultimately shuttered. Along the way, a planned Office for Mac 2013 failed to materialize, and just three days ago, the company closed the book on its Office for Mac blog.

In a March 10 post, Microsoft wrote:

"The Office for Mac blog is moving. If you'd like to stay up to date on the latest updates and announcements, head over to the Office Blogs. You'll still be able to access previous Office for Mac posts here, but as of today, no new posts will appear."

Now, Microsoft seems ready to revisit one of its signature software offerings for Mac OS X.

Cloer wrote that "Hübschen told Computerwoche that there are now development teams for each of the Office applications, which each produce versions of their product for different platforms." Mac OS is one of those platforms, and the report further indicated that Office may finally be headed to rival mobile platforms. "Other possible targets for the future may include tablets running iOS and Android," Cloer added.

A Microsoft spokesperson told the site that the "team is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac." Although she couldn't reveal exactly when Microsoft plans to release the software, she offered that "when it's available, Office 365 subscribers will automatically get the next Office for Mac at no additional cost."

Meanwhile, it is rumored that Microsoft is preparing to make even more waves on the Mac with its note-taking software, OneNote.

"The company is preparing to release a free, full-fledged OneNote for Mac application 'soon,' according to my sources," said Cnet's Mary Jo Foley in a March 12 report. OneNote, also part of the Office suite, is also available as a stand-alone app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android phones. The software captures, stores and syncs text, Web clippings, images and videos into customizable virtual notebooks.

The move could put the company on a collision course with a popular mobile notes startup. "Microsoft is battling other note-taking applications, especially Evernote, in the quest to be users' cross-platform note-taking app of choice," wrote Foley. The company plans to drum up support for OneNote by opening up more "programming interfaces to encourage third-party developers to write applications that build on OneNote," according to her sources.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...