Microsoft’s productivity suite will get a much needed major update as it has been almost four years since the last release.
Office:mac 2011, released in 2010, has not been followed up with a revamped version. Incremental updates came, but the most any one of those updates did was make it usable as part of an Office 365 subscription. Now, the company confirms that things are about to change.
When Office:mac 2011 came out, the Mac business unit at Redmond was disbanded. This means that there wasn’t any development of major new features, Microsoft wasn’t exactly focused on bolstering Office’s credentials as a bonafide cross platform productivity suite. This worked perfectly in Apple’s hands, it completely revamped the iWork suite, making it one of the best available choices for Mac users. Besides, the seamless synchronization with iOS devices ensures that Mac users can pick up work right where they left it off even if they were on the go. On the other hand, Microsoft continued to improve Office for Windows, its gone out so far ahead that there’s no feature parity between the Mac and Windows iterations anymore.
Thorsten Hübschen, a Microsoft executive who oversees Office products in Germany, told Computerwoche at the CeBIT trade fair that a revamped Office for Mac is going to be released later this year. He revealed that the company already has development teams for each Office app, with each team producing versions of the app for different platforms, Windows and Mac obviously included. While he doesn’t say exactly when the new Office for Mac is going to drop, Hübschen claims that the company will have something to show in the second quarter of this year, which isn’t that far off. Redmond has already started talking to enterprise customers about a new Office for Mac, it was also revealed.
A representative for Microsoft also confirmed that development work for the new Office for Mac is underway. No release timeframe was given, but the representative did say that when it goes live, Office 365 subscribers will get it at no additional cost.