Office 2008 for Mac: Under NDA, but this is what I can say…

Office 2008 for Mac (all three editions)

I’m fortunate to be under the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Reviewer’s Program. This means that I get to play with the Mac Business Unit’s (MacBU) latest builds before they go retail, which should be sometime on 15th Jan 2008, at MacWorld Expo. I hope to go so I can interview the MacBU team there.

Funny thing is, even though I’m under NDA and embargo until that date, I don’t have to share anything specific about it that isn’t already public (yes, I’ve checked with their PR reps). Having installed and given it a few runs last night, it’s actually renewed my pride as a Mac user. No longer will we have to feel like second-class citizens in an office environment.

You see, not unlike Leopard, this is one upgrade which will give you tons of spanking new features, while performing much much faster on an Intel Mac. I can’t say much for now, but I can definitely agree with Microsoft’s early press release about Office 2008 having Mac-first and Mac-only capabilities.

Can’t wait and see?
Microsoft has a preview site where they show you videos of almost every key feature of the new Office for Mac. I said almost because there are still various nifty tricks up its sleeve which I’m sure plenty of my academic and designer friends would soon love about the completely redesigned Office 2008 for Mac.

If you know you already want it…
Then go for their Super Suite Deal. Basically if you buy any version of Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac (yes, even their el cheapo “Student and Teacher Edition”), they’ll send you Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition (a $500 value) for free (just pay shipping and handling). To make things simple, there will be three editions (see screenshot above), but the ultimate bundle is the Special Media Edition. Obviously, you’ll have till 14th January 2008 to decide.

I’m tempted to say it’s about time, but the MacBU team has done such a supreme job with this latest iteration of Office that it seems like a completely new product altogether. Dare I say this feels like the best version of Office I’ve used, on any operating system.

BTW, do you have any burning questions about Office 2008?
Drop a comment and I’ll provide answers on 15th Jan. If don’t have answers, I’ll find out.

15 thoughts on “Office 2008 for Mac: Under NDA, but this is what I can say…

  1. Kevin, I’m positively drooling. Thanks for the heads up! I will probably get this along with a new MacBook Pro next year – after the Macworld Expo 😉

  2. “To make things simple, there will be three editions…” LOL! Microsoft is AWESOME! How about making things simple by making ONE edition? Thanks, but I’ll stick with iWork, which really IS “Mac-first.”

  3. Kevin, thanks for looking into that. But I don’t hold high hopes.

    The editions thing really isn’t too surprising… At least it’s ‘just’ three instead of the million and one editions of Vista.

  4. I actually have the beta and it isn’t all that impressive. There are problems with the file formats when opening in Office 2003 (Windows). And it completely killed a PPT I was working on. But maybe that’s because it’s a beta. =)

    On the Mac, I’m sticking to iWork’08. Office just in case I need it.

  5. Benjamin Koe: Thank you for your frank comment. I love the latest iWork too, but it’s likely that I have to use Office anyway for serious work. Blame the network effect.

    First, having started out using Mac SE, I’ve played with early iterations of Microsoft Office from crapshoot to decently useful. They varied greatly, almost as if Microsoft treated the Mac as a testbed for new software design. This version is impressive to me, especially from the performance, and secondly from the refreshing interface design. Since I work with various audiences (e.g. academic, design), I saw features which would appeal to them. I can’t reveal more, but let’s just say you might not have realized how Office 2008 has features that mimic other pretty well known Mac apps, all rolled together into its suite.

    Second, I hope you realized that Office 2008 for Mac follows the file standard of Office 2007 for Windows, where Microsoft made the switch to the XML file standard (e.g. instead of .doc, it’s .docx). I believe this is publicly documented, so you have to either “Save As” for Office 2003, or use an Office XML converter to make it compatible with older versions of Office. I do feel that this isn’t exactly a feature, but it’s an investment for the future, where Microsoft is going into Open Standards (e.g. XML).

    From what I gathered through discussions online, Office 2008 for Mac has undergone tremendous overhaul, taking into account a lot of user feedback the MacBU team received (e.g. slimming it down from bloatware). It will be a test to see if the newly redesigned Office will be favored by Mac users.

  6. what i am really concern abt is the speed. Powerpoint under office2004 runs like a snail on mac, and if office2008 provides a faster version, i don’t mind spending some money on the new version

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