The long wait is over. Microsoft has released Office 2011 for Mac – one of the most anticipated software on the Mac platform. This latest version of the Office suite aims to bridge the gap between the Mac and PC versions. So has Microsoft surprised us all with its latest Office incarnation, or did the gap between its siblings get wider?

Urban legend has it that Mac users feel abandoned by Microsoft, as the software giant produces sub-standard software for their platform. This is certainly evident in the predecessors of Office for Mac, which is based on decades old Carbon code. Besides surviving on old technology, some of the core features that corporate users found essential, including Visual Basic have been left out in the Mac version.

But Microsoft’s latest productivity suite promises to deliver better compatibility with its Windows counterpart. Users of Office for Mac 2011 will find its completely revamped user interface familiar, yet similar to the Ribbon interface used in Windows. As promising as it looks, how will it function in the real world? Will Microsoft’s package make Mac users jump ship from Apple’s iWork suite?

Before we begin, let us take a look at the system requirements of the new Office for Mac 2011.

Processor Required
A Mac computer with an Intel processor
Operating system
Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later
Memory Recommended
1 GB of RAM recommended
Hard disk
2.5 GB of available hard disk space
Media drive
DVD drive or connection to a local area network (if installing over a network)/dd>
1280 x 800 or higher resolution monitor
HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS Extended or HFS Plus) 
Certain online functionality requires a Windows Live® ID.  
Certain features require Internet access (fees may apply).