Microsoft announced today that it will soon ship an innovative new version of its best-selling Office productivity suite. But the suite will run on Mac OS X systems only, not on the Windows PCs owned by more than 95 percent of the computer-using public.
Dubbed Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, the new suite consists of Microsoft Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004, and Entourage 2004, all of which feature slight improvements over earlier releases. Microsoft says it will release the suite to manufacturing on April 14 and ship it to US customers by late May. French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish versions will ship a few weeks later, according to the company.
"Customer feedback on early versions of Office 2004 for Mac has been overwhelmingly positive," Roz Ho, general manager of Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU), said. "We are really excited to get it out the door and into the hands of our customers. The entire MacBU has been working hard through research, development, and testing to build a new version of Office for Mac that meets our customers' evolving needs. I couldn't be more proud of the talented team of Mac users in the MacBU."
Because of the Macintosh's unique market position, Office 2004 for the Mac addresses the educational and consumer-oriented scenarios its users typically encounter. Excel 2004 includes major charting improvements, and both Excel 2004 and Word 2004 include Smart Buttons, a new automation feature that's similar to Smart Tags in the Windows version of Office. PowerPoint 2004 includes more than 100 new professional templates and smoother transitions and animations.
Users who are interested in preordering Office 2004 for Mac can do so starting today. For more information about the software, visit the Microsoft Web site.