The story so far…

It's been a busy couple of days for me, but I've had a chance to catch up on the 68 comments responding to my late Friday post. I'd like to call out a couple of comments that made my evening last night when I wrote this – one was where Nick Caraway grants me an honorary MBA, but figures my time in MacBU will be "brief" based on my post. But the prize for most colorful comment has to go to Lucky Lou, who, after smacking me (and all of Microsoft, for that matter) for not offering up information in my post, would like me to "show some nuts for once and err on the side of not being the total wusses you're known to be". He ends by telling me he is rooting for the "overpaid white guy figurehead".  Cool – we in the nut-less, wussy, overpaid white guy figure head category hardly ever get rooted for. πŸ™‚

On the serious side, one of the themes I found could be summarized as "more transparency, more data". That is the goal of this blog and we are working towards that. While we can't answer every question in real time, we are listening and we are using that feedback to inform our decisions – and we really appreciate the dialog. I know things are relatively quiet on the blog – the team is heads down getting Office 2008 ready to ship. I'm trying to step into the void for the next few months, and things will liven up once the team is out of crunch mode.

The overwhelming request was "EXCHANGE!" We hear you, and we know this is super important to a lot of folks, and it is important to us too – like the rest of Microsoft, we use Exchange here in MacBU. We have been committed to Exchange support since our Entourage X Exchange update over four years ago, and we continue to work with our enterprise customers to set our priorities. We have a number of things planned for Entourage in Office 2008 and beyond that we are excited about and can't wait to share with you when the time is right (yes, I know for a lot of you the right time is right now, but for us, it isn't the right time – yet). Oh, and if you haven't seen it, we have a resource kit that provides guidance for using Office 2004 for Mac with Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Live Communications Server, Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server, and related products.

That's all for now – more later.

Comments (75)
  1. MacGeek Pro says:


    Any chance you folks could spare a couple minutes away from Office 2008 to look into why Messenger crashes on me whenever I close a chat window?

    I admit that I am using the Safari 3.0.2 Beta for Mac, and the problem started when I started using Safari 3. However, as Messenger is the only software that has had ill-affects from Safari 3, I refuse to uninstall the goodness.

    I am using Messenger for Mac 6.0.2 (070116). Also, I have sent a crash log after every crash Since early June.

    To note the importance of this, the program crashes _every_ time I close a chat window.

    And heck, since I’m posting, I’ll add some feature requests for Messenger 2008–1) Tabbed chat windows. 2) Style it so it feels like it belongs on a Mac. 3) Catch up to the Windows version in features.

  2. Stan says:


    Could you spare a screenshot teaser of the new Entourage?

    – Stan

  3. Sladuuch says:

    You indicate your understanding that we want more data and more transparency, and then you don’t give us any.

    Then you say that you appreciate the dialog.  What dialog?  All I see is you guys writing amusing anecdotes about your co-workers  and how difficult yet rewarding your work is, while we yell and scream for full Exchange support.  That’s hardly what I call a dialog.

    Then, you turn around and say you’ll "step into the void" for a couple of months, right after you gush ebullience about more communication, while implying that Office is still several months away from completion and still giving no indication of what’ll be in it.

    Finally, you offer up your current work on Entourage to those clamoring for full Exchange support.  If what you already sold was sufficient, then why would we be complaining?  We deal with this stuff every day, we know what doesn’t work, and no amount of self congratulatory back-patting for all the work you HAVE done will make up for it.

    Can you see how all of this is not encouraging to us?  Can you?  Please?

  4. Andrew Cafourek says:

    First off…I love the idea of this blog!  I don’t know how long it has been up and running (I just stumbled on it about 2 weeks ago), but I think it de-mystifies Microsoft…people tend to think of MS as the evil giant and Apple as the fanciful spryte frolicking about in fields of daisies, but I think the idea of this blog and the others I’ve since discovered for Live beta projects are helping ‘soften up the image’ a bit.  So kudos to you and the crew!  

      Also, are there any plans for a Mac version of OneNote?  I started using the program awhile back when a Microsoft rep gave me a demo on my college campus and I loved it for years until my Dell died and I switched to my lovely Mac Book Pro.  I still use my notes from OneNote but it is only on my PC at home and even since I’ve been out of school, I think of many times when I would love to have OneNote on my laptop!

  5. Brian says:

    Yeah please do something about MSN Messenger, it totally sucks compared to the Windows version. Some things that you could include are:

    1. Offline Messenging Support

    2. iSight Support

    3. Video Multi-chat like that in iChat

    4. Support for themes

    5. More "Mac" feel


  6. John Baxter says:

    MacGeek Pro, there were reports of Safari 3 beta on Macs breaking iChat, so it appears Messenger is not alone.  I haven’t been following along–my 3 Macs create paychecks (mine).  So the iChat part of the problem could have been fixed.

    My Vista machine (cheap laptop) isn’t so important–all it does that matters is feed Sony eReader and help answer Vista questions at local computer club.  I do have Safari Beta there–having kicked the tires I’ll likely remove it and await the real thing.  That said–the display of found text is compelling.

  7. Janus says:

    There is a notebook mode within MS Word 2004. Quite handy.


    What is your Office progress? When is it going to be released? Screenshots, ANYTHING?

  8. Scott Whitlock says:

    Wow, I wasn’t with Lucky Lou until this post…now, surprisingly, I am. That was extremely bad form on your part. How can someone ask for feedback and get defensive when it’s not all good, or when people express frustration, most of which the MacBU is responsible for? And I’m with the first commenter here as well. We don’t want to hear your self-congratulatory stuff. Save that for your internal team. There are far too many deficiencies in Office for Mac (both the 2004 and so far 2008) to be congratulatory in any way or shape, and it sounds like too much brainwashing and marketing to me.

    If you want an indication of how these things should be handled and how you build a true community around your product, you could learn a lot from small Mac companies like Nisus and Omni. They are responsive, they are nimble, and they really listen to their customers. And people buy their products by choice, not because they feel like they have to. Although I realize there is a scale issue here, this post has just proven that Microsoft (and the MacBU that represents it) still, after all of these years, just doesn’t get it.

  9. JT says:

    Will the (targeted) release of Office 2008 coincide with the release of Jaguar in October?  I’m a product manager myself, so I understand that nothing is for certain when it comes to release dates, but I was curious to know if that’s the plan.

  10. SteveB_UK says:

    Your ‘wait i’m here’ sounding very promising, but I have got to admit that your response today has been disappointing and feels like your slipping into the relm of the other MacBU posters (I have them all bookmarked) where they talk about other things non MacBU related or MS Product related to the point where I think what was the point in posting that?

    The MacMojo was created to give us an insight into the MacBU department but to be honest, it has not.  In the ‘wait I’m here’ post there were a lot of comments about Exchange to which today your response has been we here you, but that is it.  

    I commented about how I use Messenger a lot for work, but you did not even mention it.  Are you telling me that all you do in MacBU is office?  Is there no one seconded to working on Messenger?

    The last update we had about Messenger was on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 by Mary Starman.  I certainly think we deserve better treatment than this – I get more support from the Windows side of your business.

    Disappointing Craig, i’m sorry to say – you giveth hope, you take it away…

    Please have the balls to tell us stuff – after all – you are suppose to be in charge, or is this just a one hit wonder because you are new and it will die down once your settled in?

    Messenger and Exchange – please give us answers.. and don’t say we’re working on it and have no idea when it will be ready…

  11. P says:

    So, you have no new information? Are you worried that the 1.2M Mac Users

    Repeat after me: 100% fidelity with Exchange, 100% fidelity with Office 2007 file formats.


  12. Harvey Dent says:

    Better Messenger w/ iSight/AV support. Do we really have to wait for that? Is it part of a broader strategy towards mac users from your corpo? It smells like that… lots! So I should not really expect a response from your side.

  13. Tom F says:

    Exchange! EXCHANGE! Please give us an Exchange client we can be proud of, one we can give to our Mac-switcher bosses without having to apologize for the lack of basic features they remember from Outlook, such as storing contact Distribution Lists on the Exchange server.


  14. Mark Johnston says:

    Any integration with MOSS planned? Our company is rolling out MOSS so it would be nice to access it and Exchange easier from the Mac also on my desk.

  15. me says:

    The things that are highest on my wish-list right now for Office:

    – Use the potential of my machine. Esp. when dealing with *long* presentations or documents (I’m talking many hundreds of pages) word and powerpoint can’t keep up with my typing and the machine clearly is spending all it’s time in roseta instead of doing something useful.

    My old powerbook is faster than my new MBP … only in office now (since adobe released CS3).

    – Allow me to edit all the animation features of the wintel version of office 2003 (esp moving objects about on a path) in office 2004. I never understood why they editing them got left out.

    – Any converter to make the clipart that you can download from Microsoft work (all you get now are error messages about the format)

    – In the future the new XML format will become handy to be supported, but that’s still at least months away.

  16. Stephen Harbage says:

    Hi Craig,

    I appreciate it must be hard to know what to respond to and know what to say as you know that if you don’t deliver on what you promise there will be a lot of bad press.

    I look forward to your ‘more later’ and really hope that that includes answering more of our questions about other products including detail about the must-have full Exchange support.

    I think that you are spot on about the importance of dialogue between users and the MacBU. I hope you can understand why it is we have a hard time trusting you guys as part of Microsoft. I personally feel that you have a long way to go to build more trust, but really look forward to you working towards ‘more transparency, more data’.

    In this spirit, I’d love some answers about my own feedback:

    1. Your engineers seem to dump files all over the system and don’t put them into the right places. Please can you make sure your teams follow Apple’s developer guidelines on this more closely (e.g. users have noticed that the Office File Format Converter Beta (Word) doesn’t install properly (see Vic’s post here: and I personally have seen files like the Office 2004 update logs ending up on my Macintosh HD folder for some reason!

    2. I couldn’t agree more with everyone else about the Messenger support and their requests, it is seriously behind and badly needs updating when compared to the Windows version. Would appreciate a word on this.

  17. Aaron says:

    One word: MAPI.  Next time you release Entourage is needs to have a MAPI client in it.  MS did it once before, do it again.  How much harder would it really have been to write a proper MAPI client in the first place instead of the crippled WebDAV client we currently have?

    Also, since you can’t seem to give information in a useful time frame, when you release the next version PLEASE make sure you list all the places Entourage fails to match Outlook on the blog when you release it (not the next day, or two weeks later, the same day).  It’s not like people aren’t going to figure it out, and you might earn some brownie points for at least letting us know what to expect.

  18. doughlaundry says:

    Hmm, I can’t help noticing that the clamouring for full Exchange compatibility is growing by the week/month. At what point will the MS MacBU own up to just how little work to Entourage 2004 is going into the 2008 model?

    Perhaps we’ll be so dazzled by MyDay that we won’t notice it’s business-as-usual at the back end.

    Or perhaps MyDay takes up so much screen estate that we won’t be able to see Entourage anymore. Out of sight, out of mind.

    Yes, it’s an idiotic post, but without anything else to go on, the mind wanders.

    To the other business/enterprise users of Entourage: If YOU had an amazing Outlook:mac ’08 edition waiting in the wings, would you:

    a) Keep it under wraps. It’s just the first Exchange email client since 2001, after all. No biggie.

    b) Mention it to a few well-placed rumor sites/tech bloggers in the hope that this will settle the minds of your customers, without giving any commercially sensitive info away.

    c) Shout it from the rooftops: Because this is what everyone wants!

    Yeah. Thought so. It’s not happening, people.

  19. Harvey Dent says:

    It seems there´s a sense of disappointment amongst mac users. As long as I remember Microsoft is a software company so I just cannot understand why it has kept releasing underdeveloped software to a certain community of users. Specially when, if I may say so, this community buys waaaay more original software than win users in percentage. Most of people refer to Exchange but… Office is still not right, it runs real badly under Rosetta on intel macs. I have posted about Messenger already which is more like a "patch" Messenger to hide the disaster the policy of your company  is when it comes to develop quality, solid, full-featured software to us. Hope this situation gets solved with your short-term next releases.

  20. says:


    I am a lawyer who also performs the network administration functions required for my small law firm.  We exclusively use (and have used since 1984) Macs along with Microsoft Word (and since the late 1990’s, Excel and Power Point).  Call me crazy, but with every new release of Microsoft and Adobe (Photoshop, Acrobat, etc.) products, I have found it worthwhile to perform a clean install of the entire MacOS system whenever installing the new Microsoft or Adobe product in order to avoid lingering pieces of the "old" Microsoft or Adobe product that could cause conflicts with the system itself or with the "new" Microsoft or Adobe product.  Since Microsoft and Adobe (and Apple, itself) only release major new updates every few years, it is not that big a deal for me to do in order to have the piece of mind that there is no "junk" that could cause problems for me or my employees.  With that said, Microsoft has committed to delivering MS Office 2008 "by the end of the year."  I know that you are not ready to provide an exact release date and I respect that, but I think that you should know that there are probably a lot of people like myself who are waiting to install Leopard pending the release of MS Office 2008 (I do not know what I would have done had Apple shipped Leopard in June, based upon their original schedule).  I believe that a release of MS Office 2008 at the same time as Leopard will give Microsoft a marketing boost since many people will purchase Leopard and MS Office 2008 at the same time if both are available.  Can you tell us if you are planning to release MS Office 2008 along with Leopard?  Thanks.  J.P.

  21. Bryn says:

    AT LAST Exchange is being viewed as the #1 issue. I find it difficult to understand how so much stress and problems can be created by trying to get two products made by the same company to interact properly.

    Whatever happens dump WebDav and use the HTTPS delivery mechanism standard found in Outlook 2003 and Exchange. It just works. Entourage’s mechanism doesn’t. Anything less should be viewed as Microsoft intentionally building an inferior product for a competing OS platform.

  22. Kerry Dawson says:

    I’m impatiently waiting for Office 2008 for the Mac. One thing I would like to ensure is that we have robust sync with the Palm. Right now, there are two ways to do it, neither of which is great. First, we can use the Entourage conduit and although fast, it leaves out detail that the new Palms support. Please create a conduit that supports all the functionality in the new Palms including coloured calendars, locations etc. The second way we can sync is using sync services. However sync services syncs only the most basic information. This needs to be dramatically enhanced so that all categories, coloured calendars, locations (in fact, all field information) is transferred to sync services so that it can populate our Palm’s or whatever accordingly.

    Mobility is now so essential so the more robust the information is that we are carrying with us, the more valuable.

    Excitedly looking forward to Office 2008.

  23. Bob Johnson says:

    Essentially what you are saying in your posts is that you’ll release the next version of Office when you are good and ready and not before—and you don’t seem to want to address whether the new version will be any more compatible with the Windows-based version of Office than the old version is now, which is not very. And, you certainly aren’t communicating what’s happening with Entourage, Exchange, Messenger…

    To be perfectly honest, I  find it ludicrous that I remain a willing customer when you obviously don’t care enough to communicate essential information.

    But, hey, I’m just one guy, you don’t need me—and I’m getting pretty good at workarounds.

  24. Jake says:


    I can appreciate the balancing act… we need to know certain stuff ASAP because it affects our business plans, and you don’t feel you can tell us certain stuff…"yet".

    I think there’s an issue of trust that is severely broken.  It’s pretty clear by reading some of the comments that many don’t trust MS.  But it’s also clear to me that your team doesn’t trust us.

    I worked for about five years on the Windows team.  (Windows 2000 and XP)  For better or worse, leadership would make public statements about what would be in the upcoming OS.  In some cases, those features had to be dropped either because we couldn’t get it to work right or it was putting too much of a delay on the schedule.  At that point, we had to eat crow and publicly admit we couldn’t do what we said we wanted to do.

    Yet people still appreciated the transparency, and having information as early as possible helped people plan, even if the plans had to change.

    The risk in telling people your plans in certain areas (especially crucial areas like Exchange that people are begging for) is that they’ll get upset if the feature doesn’t make it in for even the most valid reasons.  

    But I think that’s a risk MS, and your team in particular, needs to take.  At this point in your development schedule, way too much is hidden.  And I think it goes back to trust.  You don’t trust your customers enough to say, "This is what we’ve got planned to ship, but I need to stress that things may change, because…"  

    If things do change, people will be upset.  But that’s never going to change and since people are already upset, I would hope that you’d choose to have people upset because you’re too honest and transparent rather than being upset because you’re too secretive and throwing a wrench into their business plans.

    I don’t say this as a slam, but sometimes I wonder if the Mac team suffers from an inferiority complex at MS…that you don’t fully appreciate how important your little slice of Microsoft is to people…and that migration planning is a lengthy process that, for some, can’t even begin until certain facts are known.

    Personally, for my company, we’re switching to Macs as our primary platform only if Office Mac features are on par with some features we depend on in the Windows Office software.  But we can’t begin to create an accurate budget because even at this stage (with a shipping window of Fall 2007) we have no clue what to expect or even if Fall 2007 is still realistic.  This information affects other purchases that need be carefully planned quarter by quarter.

    So that’s my take on it: We don’t trust you, you don’t trust us.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen nothing in these recent threads that point to anything changing on either side.

  25. gilbert says:

    even if the MBU released a single screen shot, everyone here would demand more, complain loudly and bitch and moan about how MS failed you once again.

    be patient and wait, or go take a nap.

    keep up the great work, craig.  i look forward to seeing the results of all the hard work you folks at the MBU are doing.

  26. MAC says:

    I want messenger for mac which is better then windows live messenger.

  27. R. Mansfield says:

    I don’t know why the MacBU is SOOOOOO secretive about features in the upcoming Office 2008 release. It’s not like there’s any significant competition that might steal them or that revealing them might stall sales of the current version. You’ve got a pretty captive audience you must admit.

    Plus, the Windows team was very open about Office 2007 for more than a year before it was released with screenshots, betas and more. Why don’t Mac users get the same kind of openness?

    By the way, Messenger crashes on me, too, when I close a chat. What’s up with this?

  28. Dave Hagan says:

    I was wondering if you can make Entourage have the ability to use Apple’s address book as an option.  This one little thing prevents from using Entourage, otherwise I would use it.  Also can you fix the issue with Office where on network home directories it depends on the Creation Date of the OLE Registration Database, therefore if they don’t match, it has to "Configure Office Components."



  29. Ron B says:

    Craig – boy can the Mac community be up front and pointed. That I think is something you would have to consider as a good thing, though you may not like what we say. On the other hand, hopefully it will keep the MacBU on its toes and pointed to a release goal of the 4th Qtr.

    Personally, I don’t for one minute think that will happen, but it would be nice. I think the product will most likely be released in January 2008.

    One thing (actually two) I would like to see and hope is corrected has to do with Word. Currently when I use Word 2004 and I am typing away – for some odd reason it (Word) has a tendency to jump, especially if I am in a template that wraps to the next line. Now I notice this does not happen with Office 2007 which I use under VMware. Hopefully this can be corrected in 2004 as it has been with me for over 2 years.

    Number two – I saw this in another thread, make that several – but I never remember those links. The parties were complaining about 2004 footnotes jumping from one page to another page as their document got larger. One person noted this has been a feature forever. Most likely you guys are aware of this and it will finally get fixed and make a lot of writers happy.

    Good luck in getting 2008 out in time – what ever time frame that may be.

  30. Lucky Lou says:

    Hey, thanks for the press. Too much Lewis Black, Dennis Miller, and other comedians in my media diet, I guess. I was trying to be funny AND biting, but not mean, but if I had their talent I wouldn’t be posting in tech nerd forums. You guys can probably trace the IP addresses of the commenters here and pretty much figure out exactly who we are and where we live, so I don’t want to go too far and have the men in suits in the black van sent to come get me. I’m really on your side. Really.

    A quick note of background and context before my comments: I have been a Microsoft user on Macs since Microsoft Word in 1987, and have pretty much religiously used the products since then. I’m intimately familiar with what the MacBU has been through from a consumer’s point of view at least, and my sole goal in dealing with MS is to help improve the product. Over the years I have converted from an MS supporter to a skeptic to a basher and back to a supporter. I like what you’ve done in Office 2004. It works great. I want you guys to do well and I know 2008 is going to be just fine, whatever it turns out to be, if not what everyone wants. I’m not a feature malcontent. There’s enough comments from others here to more than cover for what requests I’d make (Exchange…).

    What’s turning into a problem for me with you guys is exemplified in the last post you made and in your follow-up. You clearly don’t get it. You seem to snicker at my comments raking you for your failure to deliver any kind of content which the users are requesting, and then go on to offer absolutely the same empty hot air, leaving us with this sole tidbit of insight: "We have a number of things planned for Entourage in Office 2008 and beyond…" Wow, really? And, what, you’ll tell us more when the time is right? Amazing.

    I think the point is that if you are going to have a blog and act all gee-whiz and grass roots with the little people, then bring something to the table. If your point is to say you’re busy working on stuff and can’t tell us what yet, that’s not really going to work, and not worth creating a blog for. Why not just shut it down until you have something to offer? You’re putting up a booth at a tech fair with nothing to say except "Coming soon…" and we already get that from the existing avenues of MS communications. You’re trying to co-opt an existing web technology for MS gain without making any contribution in return. You’d think you were Microsoft or something. Wait a second…

    Yeah, I’ve gone overboard, along with a few others. You’re just trying to have a little corner of the web, and here we are ragging on you on your first day and even being snarky about it. Sorry for that.

    What this does show you is that you’ve got a passionate audience, one who is invested in seeing you succeed because you’re so part of us succeeding. Your product can make our lives even better and we want to be a part of shaping that process or at least hearing about it as it happens. We care, and man, we hurt, too. Help us love you. We really want to. You could turn this thing right around and we’d have you up on our shoulders. Sure there’s guys who are never happy, but there’s plenty more of us willing to drink the Kool-Aid if you’ll just break out the freaking punch bowl!

  31. Robert says:

    Exchange, Exschmange.  I’d love to see more robust support for "Track changes" mode in Word.  (I’m sure it’s far too late in the dev cycle to do anything specific, but I might as well speak up.)

    When a 20-30 page Word doc (in Word 2004) gets more than a single user’s worth of changes in "Track changes" mode, scrolling and editing gets really slow.  After a few rounds, it’s just painfully slow — on a G4, a G5, a Core Duo and even the Quad Xeon Mac Pro.  Yet Word on the PC has never had such problems with slowness in revision mode.

    Still, some praise is due: at least Word 2004 doesn’t crash under heavy versioning load like Word v.X did! Word v.X was just crushed by heavy versioning; sometimes I had to take the document to WinWord to get all changes accepted into a final version.  Ah, those were the days πŸ˜‰

    Anyway, good luck getting Office ’08 out the door.  I look forward to it. πŸ™‚

  32. CDC says:

    Wow, what a terrible response from Microsoft.  How is it possible an entire team of upper managment of a small fraction of Microsoft calling themselves the Mac Unit can justify such a response.  Why does this unit exist?  It seems that with a small purchase of Parallels combined with Office for Windows, we can do it all without this crappy unit.

    Disgusting software that lacks features, stability, and security.  And what’s a real kicker is that this unit wants to charge Students $199CDN for a 4 years old piece of software.  You wouldn’t buy fruit that is 4 years old, why would you buy software that is?  

    I would recommend that any home user that don’t require the higher end Exchange needs, should just pocket the $$$ and go download yourself the free "Neo Office" the mac version of Open Office.  

  33. CraigE says:

    Hey all – I didn’t mean to be cagey right after I talked about transparency – I wanted to communicate that Exchange support is one of our primary points of focus for Office 2008, even if we aren’t quite ready to announce specifics.

    Scott Whitlock, Lucky Lou – obviously, we don’t know each other, so you don’t know my personality – but believe me, I wasn’t offended.  I was laughing my a** off when I read Lucky’s comment – not at the content, but at the emphatic phrases as my brain started to string them all together.  By the end, I couldn’t wait to use "nut-less, wussy, overpaid white guy figure head" in a sentence.  I have an… um… unusual sense of humor. Anyway,  Lucky Lou, if you are at Macworld in January, I’d love to buy you a beer (you’ll have to contact me, though, it seems that our guys in suits with black vans had a systems failure and can’t find you πŸ™‚ ).

  34. Mikey says:

    Exchange support would be nice, but so too would be the same kind of filtering in Excel.  Perfroma a Data…Filter in the Windows version  and you get scroll bars in the pick list allowing you to scroll to the bottom of a long list by click/drag.  Do this on the Mac and you can only hold down the arrow and then wait while it slowly displays each line.  The windows version also provides check boxes to allow multiple selections in Pivotables.  The Mac version needs a refresh in these   areas.


  35. Harvey Dent says:

    Like us mac users were not used to secrecy about products, release dates, etc.

  36. Scott Whitlock says:

    I’m not drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid…:)

    Craig, there’s nothing I can say back that Lucky Lou didn’t say much more eloquently (maybe you guys should hire him–he’s with it), especially the part about not co-opting this space for marketing gain without giving a bit back to us.

    I think the major problem here is that you are, indeed, Microsoft. And that’s not inherently a problem (most of us forgave you for that at Office 98), but that means we are going to inevitably compare ourselves and how we are treated to another standard — how Microsoft treats Windows users of Office, which is a hard standard to live up to. As one of the other posters pointed out, Office 2007 was extremely well-advertised, public-beta’d, etc. That team knew what they were doing, because people were invested in that product even before it came out — and they didn’t even remove a significant feature like VBA, which is going to throw a monkey-wrench into a many organization — because a lot of them were beta-testers from the public-beta. And, that release was so much better because of it.

    We, as Mac users, will probably not get that luxury (if history is any indication). We feel no personal investment in 2008, because one, we don’t really have a handle on it, two, we won’t even get to use it before it is released (and therefore, have had no input whatsoever in any sort of real way of how it should work or not work), and to top it all off, the info that IS coming from you guys does sound a little cult-like and poisoned Kool-Aid’ed. "Believe us, it will be good. You do not need a Universal VBA. You are in good hands. Applescript is easier. Just drink the punch. All that talk of cross-platform transparency was just a hoax. It is sweet and tasty. There is a resource kit to help you. We care about what you say. Just don’t ask to test it before release. The punch has been tested by others privately. You’ll like the punch. We promise."

    Don’t get me wrong. Reluctantly, I will once again buy your product, if only to get a Universal version of Word. If that is all you want, then fine, you have gottem your wish–or wishes because many of us are probably in the same boat. Office 2008 will most likely be stunning success for this very reason. MacWorld will sing its glory. And we will all grit our teeth and shell out the funds.

    But the problem is that I’m not going to feel good about buying it. I’m constantly going to be looking out for another tool that can free me from you, that can read your file type just good enough, etc. And, finally one day, I might just find one, whether that be a newly tooled Nisus Writer (whose interface and user experience is both more pleasant and much smarter) or OpenOffice (whose compatibility is quite good and who can still use VBA) or something else. When people feel like this, they’re not your customers, but your slaves. And that is your missed opportunity and your challenge.

  37. Nick says:

    Thanks for welcoming suggestions for features to include in Office 2008.  Compared to most, this is pretty minor, but  would be very convenient: to enable "format painter" functionality within Entourage, especially for composing messages.  Copying text into an email often results in multiple fonts/colors/etc.  Be great to be able to rationalize all that with a format painter button.  Thanks.

  38. MatthewP says:

    So I’ve not read all the posts/responses/etc, and I apologize if I repeat anything that’s been said.

    Really, there are just a few notes about functionality and formatting that I wanted to express about Mac Office… specifically Entourage, since that is the app I use most. First off, I know that a lot of people have complained about exchange server compatibility issues. I’d like to say that besides this I think it’s a great product, and I am eagerly awaiting the Office ’08 release.

    There are a few features that I thought I might suggest for Entourage ’08. Firstly, it might be nice to support multiple formats for phone numbers per address card. Currently, you set one format, and then have to tailor individual phone addresses that might not meet that format. For example, not everyone in my address book is from the US, or some individuals work numbers have extensions. Including fields for country code and extension might clean up in the interface.

    This brings me to my next point: integrated SMS/VoIP from the address book. Regarding this issue, I realize that it may be difficult for the mac BU itself to provide this, but is there a way to setup a plug-in for say Skype, for example? The international SMS could be achieved a little easier perhaps. I know that there are plug-ins to Apple’s address book for these features, and I’m a little confused as to why mac Office is left out in the cold.

    In any event, I thought I would just pass these two suggestions along. Maybe they’ve already been communicated or else already contemplated.

    Thanks! πŸ™‚

  39. SLDreamer says:

    I think I can appreciate your need to balance what can and cannot be shared with the public. But to completely sidestep any offering of useable information in the same post in which you acknowledge the desire from us for more transparency and more data is in very poor taste. Unlike so many in this thread, I am a relative newbie to Office on the Mac, having only used Office 98 briefly before upgrading to Office 2004. I am a long-time user of Office for Windows however, and have been a certified (-able) Master Instructor for several versions so I am no stranger to Office deployments from MS.

    The MacBU, unlike it’s Winworld counterpart seems far more insulated from its customer base. Oh, you’ve created a blog, and Nadyne seems to be genuinely interested in testing the UI (on a very limited basis), but as others here have noted, there is no real effort to give your user community any real information about the upcoming release of Office. No release date (wasn’t it originally scheduled for June ’07), no list of features or improvements (except the fabled My Day, which if it is anything like the Project Center – no thanks).  

    For me, all of the side-stepping market-speak and hyperbole point to a single conclusion. There is no integrtity left in the MacBU, and there is no compelling story for upgrading to Office 2008. I hate that it comes to that, but it is what it is.

    Your group is making withdrawals on overdrawn accounts. You have little if any credibility left with me, and from the sounds of it, many others. That is an issue that will affect your sales and bottom line as soon as their is a hint of a viable option to your product. I have to use your products at work, but when I buy my next Mac, I am going to make every effort to avoid all Microsoft-developed products unless there is an EXTREMELY compelling reason to make me NEED them. It’s too bad, because there is a lot of good stuff in your product line, but the lack of integrity and genuine communication has me concerned that you don’t really listen to your customers and aren’t designing your software to real-world needs and demands.

    I sincerely hope you’ll prove me wrong.

  40. On the topic of Exchange support and Entourage 2008, please make sure it works with Exchange 2000, 2003, 2007 which is 64-bit.

  41. PetieG says:

    I at least thought there would be a UB version of Remote Desktop released as a teaser months ago to show that MS can still build great Mac app’s (even on Intel. It’s not like they don’t have any experience programming on that architecture).  Although i must say rdesktop in X is working just fine — don’t know if I’ll want the bloat of a MS client.  

    My bet is we’ll still be living in the OWA-WebDav world for Entourage08 — but here’s to hoping that a real RPC -over-HTTP thing will happen w/full sync support.  If you ask me that is by far the best reason to use Outlook2003/Exchange2003 in Windows shops.  This combination offers many advantages: no VPN necessary for full sync, great offline support, Notes/Tasks sync, no SMTP "capture" by ISPs (all goes over port 80).  Seems as though every broadband ISP now captures port 25 because of SPAM fears which may cause many issues for the traveler).  Implementing the same "RPC over standard port 80" communication between Entourage/Exchange would prove to better your chances of people "sticking" with Exchange as a collaborative platform.  

    I have changed from a hosted-Exchange account to hosted-Zimbra and couldn’t be happier whether on Mac OR PC.  The key was my intel mac had 1st class sync capabilities with my email/cal/contacts, not second-class Rosetta/WebDav/OWA connectivity

  42. Bryn says:


    Ouch..! There does seem to be a fair amount of pressure built up on the emotional front here….and i can understand why. Its good to see that MS has the ability to allow these views to be heard. On another note my company is about to look at upgrading its Windows Exchange / Office system to the newest version, however the cost is exhorbitant for the meagre new features you really receive. There is a lot of dismay and anger at MS’s licensing models and the need to essentially pay for a full version every time you upgrade which is counterintuitive when you are buying anything in bulk and regularly.

    Where I am going with this is that we are seriously looking at many open source alternatives to all our needs wherever we can and are focusing in on the mail server, office suite issue now. MS has a great opportunity here to move ahead of the Open Source products but seems unable in both Windows and Mac versions to rise to the challenge of building truly superior products (based on guests needs) and communicating effectively what these advantages are. I get the real impression that MS views the Mac as the competitor, what it really needs to understand is that the desktop is increasingly irrelevant and how Office for Mac interacts with all Windows solutions is the real issue. The better it does this, the more advantage it has against Open Source offerings.

  43. BobR says:


    This is BS. The only reason you asked for input was to hope that something you were planning on releasing was going to be asked about. That isn’t openess, or dialog, that is just marketing.

    Everyone wants to know why there is no MAPI. Either answer that, or shut up and be honest that you have no intention of using this blog as any sort of communication with your users above and beyond what we could get with the PR department.

    The fact is that MAPI is technically doable (ala Outlook in OS9). The fact is that users would be willing to pay for an Exchange upgrade that featured full MAPI support. Doable product + willing customers = money. WTF is stopping you? And WTF is stopping you from coming clean whether or not you are going to support MAPI in Exchange? Are you still coding major features at this stage? MAPI isn’t some secret that your competitors will follow if you spill the beans to soon. You have not significant competitors in this space. And besides, anyone can license it. Either you are or aren’t. I repeat, WTF?

    Maybe Microsoft which can only make money flogging its two cash cows and has forgotten what its like to deliver products that people actually want?

    I don’t know to many other business (other than maybe Apple) that can simply ignore what your customers are clamoring for and still make it. I so wish there was a free market in this sector because either you guys would start hiring people who can put out a good product or you would all be applying for barista positions at the local Starbucks.

    The fact that none of you are embarrassed that with any sort of competition the crap you put out wouldn’t sell a copy is staggering. Google, using HTML is able to creep in on your markets. WITH HTML! You have a massive installed based, fast individual processors and rich clients, and Google can compete with AJAX. WTF?

    Either there is Exchange MAPI support or not. Figure it out and let us know. Otherwise shut up.

  44. BobR says:

    Oh, and quit putting two spaces after every freaking period. Here on the Mac we have dynamically spaced fonts (i.e. the letter "i" takes up less width than "h") and have had so for some time. So quit composing entries like your writing in Courier which requires such double-spaced nonsense. It makes you look like you learned typing on a typewriter (or DOS machine) and never grew past it.

  45. Derek Bolander says:

    For the largest development team outside of Apple for the Mac platform I’m impressed it’s taking this long to release Office 2008. Adobe was able to release their entire suite plus the Macromedia products before the one product that you guys make. Please stop releasing fixes for Office 2004 and get 2008 out the door!

  46. Electroscribe says:

    It’s easy to overlook two things in the debate:

    1. Apple Computer has significantly delayed the release of OS 10.5. I forget which kitty it is.

    2. Given the history of the three Pirates of the Silicon Valley involved in this (Jobs, Gates and Ballmer), there is no reason to expect that Apple Computer would provide Microsoft with an advance copy of 10.5. We are talking about Pirates, after all.

    3. As impatient as we all are, it would also be silly to expect the MBU to release a product that doesn’t work with the next Apple operating system.

    That being said, this time warp gives the MBU ample opportunity to come up with some Applescripts to use in place of VBA.

  47. rmk says:

    It’s simple. I’ve got it. First BANG !! Office 2008, all shiny new, universal version with NO F***king VBA support ! Why ? Well, according to MacBU , because its universal and there are some "technical difficulties" porting it. "technical difficulties" my a*** …

    Thinks about it, if they make Mac office just "good enough" , does not have to be really good, just enough, then there might be small sized businesses considering buying more macs, as they will have FULL compatibility with other windows users … but that’s the lost sell of windows license, isn’t it ? Obviously, MS don’t want it …

    Consider MS office 2004 , which of the formats ( mainly among .doc, .xls, .ppt ) are compatible with say office 2003 ? NONE. ABSOLUTELY NONE. Yes, yes, I know , you can save word, excel, powerpoint , check for "compatibility" (f***king joke) and sent it to your windows counter part ..right ? But, guess what … unless you are just writing bunch of numbers and bunch of characters in word it does not work !!!

    Try any documents with multimedia, excel cross linked graphs, references , mathematical equations etc. etc. and it totally breaks down in compatibility. Try it, try writing anything more than 10 -pages report involving graphs, equations, drawing etc. with track changes  …. It does not work. When you open on windows machine , all your fonts are screwed up, formatting gone crazy , it just drives you nuts … And, the behavior is not consistent about what goes wrong in every file. sometimes one thing work and sometimes same thing don’t work …

    Excel and powerpoint are actually better compatible than word , but still not 100% . They use quicktime for multimedia , so let you put all crazy format in ppt slides and in excel, but then when you open on windows they don’t show up …. now if they are not going to show up, why let us put in at first place ? Why do user need to worry about what to include in word/excel/ppt if they want to share it with windows part ? Why can’t stupid software take care of such simple thing ? And worst, when you check for compatibility, those things don’t show up as non-compatible item between windows/mac versions.

    How is anyone supposed to interact with other windows users with this mess ??


    I don’t know what goes on in in the office engine and how it interprets things. I am not a software engineer. I just want to to have a blind compatibility between zillions of windows partners/collegues using office 2003 (office 2007 in future) and my mac office. If I send them file, it should open in same manner as if it was sent from office 2003 PC version. Is it that f***ing difficult to understand for you folks at MacBU ?

    And you want to know irony , seriously do you ? Among all the common file formats used by most of the people, only thing which does not work on windows/mac sharing are office documents ! PDFs, images, PSD, CAD Files , those things are transparent (very rare glitches). But, office formats are never like that.

    M$ don’t want you to have full compatibility with peace of mind. You want full compatibility and peace of mind ? Well, get windows and office for PC. That’s what they want and that mentality is not going to change.

    So, all you folks ranting about features you want in office ’08 with full compatibility and exchange support , it’s just a waste of time. They will include minimal number of feature to advertise new version of office for mac and that’s it. Don’t expect full compatibility. That’s what I have learn after all these years of office use.

    And, frankly I kept on buying office over all these years only because there is no good competition to it. I think, this has been said before in above comments, its just that people using office on Mac because they are your slave and not your die hard customers. And , that is really bad for MacBU. This won’t last forever. Its going to erupt at some point and MacBU is going to shut down with this attitude.

    So, there you go. That’s my complain/observation/analysis of MacBU over all these years as a customer. Is office 2008 going to change that ? I don’t know , I don’t have my hopes high …We’ll wait and see…

  48. cdaniels2007 says:

    A little application, tool, menu option, or whatever,  to change my domain password (in Active Directory) would be very helpful.  Our IT group is reluctant to add my MacBookPro to the domain and Outlook Web Access (where I currently change my password) will be shutdown soon following our conversion to Notes.

  49. Jake Covert says:


    Appreciate the blog.  It’s nice to get an insight into the thoughts of the people making the software.

    Remember, 70% of vision is just doing what you believe is right and not listening to the periphery.  Now, I’m not saying to not listen to your customers, but 500 cooks, does not a good soup make.

    Hopefully things go well.


    – Jake

  50. BobR says:

    Electroscribe- Uhh, no. Developers have pre-release versions of Leopard. Sure their buggy, but developers can be checking compatibility of their new apps against Leopard and the MacBU certainly has copies. In fact, Apple has been somewhat decent about going above and beyond for supporting Office:mac, where Tiger shipped with built in Spotlight support for Word and Excel (the only two proprietary formats Spotlight shipped with other than Apple’s own). Not that Apple is a great citizen or anything, but they realize the importance of even the MacBU’s crappy versions of Office to the Mac platform.

    Jake – Too many cooks in the kitchen? Nearly 47 comments (yes, I counted). Nearly 15 or more having nothing to do with feature requests. Out of the 32 or so left 17 expressly mentioned the need for better Exchange in Entourage. Statistically relevant sample – no; but I bet the MacBU’s market research features Exchange as one of the top requests.

    Craig – As I said before, unless you are willing to respond to the actual questions posed by readers, why have a blog? We can all read MacNN or whatever for your official press releases. Either you’ve licensed full Exchange support, or your Daddy over at the *real* Office team grounded you for even asking. Might as well let us know whether you can come out and play and we should be waiting for Office:mac 2008 or stop waiting and buy Parallels now.

  51. TX Ciclista says:

    Though I appreciate the personal response you’re giving Craig, here’s what I’ve gathered from the last two posts you’ve made:

    You’re typing them yourself.

    That’s it.  I basically read two posts and the only new piece of information was that your first post wasn’t actually posted by you.  Wow.  I mean, now I can go on living, secure in the knowledge that…  I mean seriously.  Do you take us for a bunch of snotty-nosed kids that really don’t NEED these apps?  I’m now concerned that the "second half of 2007" deadline is, well, dead.  At least assure us THAT will happen.

    I guess my point is, if you’re not going to give us anything we don’t already know, just don’t post.  It’s just not worth it.

  52. jon says:

    I would just like to see entourage support the standard cookie based login as used in exchange 2003 and beyond with ISA.  If you were not aware, it is completely and utterly unsupported even though a number of simple scripts are available to modify applications to allow cookie based logins.  

    Please, make the simple change here to support the standard mode of operation.  Again, VERY simple.

  53. Andrew says:

    Well, while everyone bickers and fights back and forth, etc: I just want to jump in and say that I second the above suggestion of intergration with Apple’s Address Book!

      Now that I sync my Blackberry with the Address Book, I haven’t even touched the contacts in Entourage and it would be great if MS would offer it as an option as well.  I understand the desire to win users over from the Address Book and consolidate everything in Entourage in order to make the program truely indespensible, but we’re Mac users after all…syncronization and interoperatability is pretty much everything!

    As a footnote, I’ll again say (as I did towards the top of all these posts…I love this blog and I also love the suspense!!)

  54. non-plussed says:

    "– like the rest of Microsoft, we use Exchange here in MacBU."

    Yes.  And when I asked one of your employees recently what he does when he needs to send out a calendar event to a distribution list knowing that A) he will be changing the event time at a future point, B) he will be adding a meeting room as a resource and will expect that the resource mark its free/busy time appropriately, and C) he will be adding at least one person at a later time– he struggled to come up with a better answer than the one he grudgingly gave me:  "I have a PC in my office."

    If you can’t eat your own dogfood, how do you expect us to stomach it?

  55. none says:

    "The cost of upgrading to Windows Vista is forcing more organizations to evaluate alternatives including Apple Macs and Linux for the desktop.

    Half of’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said the Vista factor is likely to lead to an increase in Macs on the desktop in the corporate computing environment."

    We’re screwed.  Now we’ll never get a real Exchange client for the Mac.  MS is going to do whatever they can to stop this.

  56. Kevin says:

    Hey Craig,

    The Mac crowd is pretty tough sometimes. However, if you deliver, they will love you, although always in a guarded way since you’re still MS. If the next doesn’t solve world hunger and bring universal peace, well then we’ll have to wait for the follow up version.

    I live in a corporate environment with over 400 PC users and I am the sole Mac user so I’m excited to see what you guys have done to improve Exchange support, PowerPoint performance, and the little irritating things that crop up with cross-platform support.

    The success of the MacBU is all our success in the corporate space.

    Make us proud.

  57. Electroscribe says:

    It’s easy to bash Office 2004. Will pose one question the the bashers:

    In all honesty, can you open Apple Mail and iCal, create a calendar event, e-mail it to people who don’t use iCal as their primary PIM divice –or Windows Outlook users — and have them be able to simply incorporate it into their own calendars?

    Do the Apple iApps work  as harmoniously with contacts, calendars, and mail data as Entourage 2004, with all of its faults? Can Windoze users respond to an appointment invitation? (In my case, Outlook 2003 and 2007 read iCal invitations as separate calendars, not appointment requests)

    (One tip for Entourage users sending calendar events to Outlook for Windoze users: If you plan to open your calendar event on one of your own Windoze machines, than from your Mac, use a different FROM: e-mail address than the incoming e-mail address you use on your Windoze machine, or it will appear as a text e-mail message and as an appointment request)

    Bash me all you want: I like Mail better than Entourage but I have to work and live with other computer users.

    Finally, the use of profanity whether asterisked out or not, contributes nothing to this debate.

  58. BobR says:

    @Electroscribe – So what you are saying is that MacBU’s model should be, "hey were not that good, but were better than the free stuff that comes with your OS?" Umm, no thanks. Microsoft is a billion dollar monopoly, I think "we are slightly better than crap" is a lame corporate slogan.

    @Craig – BTW I love your post where you state: "We have been committed to Exchange support…" What does that even mean? Is that like saying "I’m committed to my wife except when we aren’t in the ZIP code" It is meaningless. YOU OWN THE TECHNOLOGY! It is "Microsoft Exchange" You are Microsoft employees. Grab a company map and find the real Office team, and ask them for some help. The only thing you are "committed" to is selling software for the highest margins. That means not offering full Exchange support until no one else will buy your software because of it, which probably isn’t a concern because when people are so fed up with the MacBU they invariably have to buy Office for XP and a XP license. So staying "committed" to not really delivering seems to be in your financial interests.

    @Electroscribe, I apologize if my semi-profane outbursts that are offensive or extraneous. Probably so, but its cathartic. I mean when Office:Mac 2004 rolled out and people made a list of the things they wanted in the next release do you think it involved any of the words "Ribbon" or "drop VBA support" or "My Day" (I mean don’t even get me started on how worthless a non-standard UI ‘dashboard-thingy’ is if you can’t even get the proper information into your calendar and email via Exchange. Great, it is a heads up display of how badly the MacBU has failed. Everyday. Staring me in the face.) do you think the word "Exchange" was somewhere in there. Its been 3 years and virtually no headway on the things that matter. It sucks we have to eat this sh*t sandwich and smile, and swearing about it makes me feel better.

    The only way this is all good is if Microsoft’s & the MacBU’s relationship with Apple is somehow typed up in Exchange development (i.e. Apple is trying to get Exchange on the iPhone and wants Entourage to support that sync capability) and is forcing MacBu/Microsoft to stay mum on the subject because Apple is so blind with their own secrecy that don’t even understand when it does and does not make sense. Other than that, this Blog and the MacBU’s efforts are just a charade to try and sell more crap.

  59. ITGuy says:

    "We’re screwed.  Now we’ll never get a real Exchange client for the Mac.  MS is going to do whatever they can to stop this."

    So they’ll switch to Notes (Full Client support) or another standards based e-mail client.  Heck, Apple is supposed to be entering this space.  Remember, Apple runs their company without Exchange and most other MS technologies so it can be done well.

    Being in IT, I never drank the Exchange Kool-Aid.  Too hard to manage, administer and keep running reliably.  The only thing going for Exchange is Outlook, which, IMHO is way overrated.  Exchange is really a poor product, just marketed very well!

  60. Harry Zink says:

    Well, that looks promising – a vapid, empty follow-up post to 60+ comments with valid points and issues raised.

    The MacBU response? Empty banter.

    Glad to see what we can look forward to – more of the same crap we’ve had for the last four years.

    I guess at Microsoft, the motto is “The more things change, the more we won’t”

  61. none says:

    That would be great.  I’d love the irony of company’s dumping Exchange Server entirely b/c MS couldn’t get their act together and make a real Exchange client for the Mac.

  62. Another ITGuy says:

    I was close to switching from Exchange to Note a couple of years ago but the pain of switching was more than the pain of not switching.  Having Exchange is like being married to the Mob.  They’ll never let you leave.

    If this release of Entourage doesn’t fix things, my 50+ sales people with be making the switch to PC late this year.

  63. doughlaundry says:

    "If this release of Entourage doesn’t fix things, my 50+ sales people with be making the switch to PC late this year."

    No! Microsoft don’t want you to do that!


  64. Bobby says:

    Exchange shouldn’t be in the top 10, it should be number 1. There are tons of other email applications out there that do pop3 and IMAP, the big need for us consumers is a Mac client to the exchange server that is a true MAPI client, not some IMAP-thingy in hiding.

    Forget the project center, forget fancy to-do lists, throw all that out. If you are honestly listening to Mac customers deliver something that will allow us to no longer be second class citizens in the corporate world. Something we had with OS 9 and that was taken away.

    Honestly, everything else is meaningless. If you don’t prioritize MAPI and true exchange support I don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror.

  65. Dan says:

    Wow, pretty lame.  I just wonder how you guys can sit on this great technology while alternative (using outlook 2007 with parallels) products become a reasonable solution.  Why would I have my company pay for a product that doesn’t even fully integrate with our mail server?  

    Mac in the business continues to be a secondary thought in the minds of developers and it really is such a shame, since if handled with any semblance  of urgency could succeed in the corporate environment.

  66. Josh J says:

    I think Entourage ’08 needs more cross-compatibility with the Windows version. That is, it needs to be able to read backups and exports of all the Windows version’s content, be it Mail, Mailboxes, Contacts, Calendars, etc. Seeing how many people have switched from one to the other, it’s unfathomable why the two are not better interlinked.

  67. none says:

    How many people are not going to upgrade until a real Exchange client is available?  I’ve got a really large group of Mac users, but they are designers.  They rarely use Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc… but they do need to work with e-mail just like everyone else in my company does.  Until we get a real client, MAC BU won’t be getting my money.

  68. Ron Jon says:

    When will Microsoft Publisher and Access make it to Mac OS X? At least a Publisher viewer. Come on guys!

  69. With the transparency Microsoft provides not, I have not changed my view of the company.  It is still vaporware ridden, half-baked, overpriced, and too controlling.  As someone compared, it’s the mob and you’re stuck right where you’re at.  I’m an IT Consultant, and I’ve never been dependent on Exchange, and thus have never been dependent on Microsoft Office or Outlook.  NeoOffice provides the solution minus the Exchange support, and due to the tight control and obscurity of the true Exchange protocol (Not using IMAP, just strange RPC stuff) you won’t see any product except from Microsoft supporting even half of the Exchange features that corporate installations depend on.  Until Microsoft provides support and finally releases an on-par Office for Mac, it will be a crapshoot trying to migrate from their operating system.

    It has always been their trump card to force people into needing Windows like a crack fiend, and with Office 2008 for Mac, this is not bound to change.  Lack of developers, a bad roadmap, expensive upgrade paths, and continued vapid communication points out the most obvious problem, which is that Microsoft hasn’t changed and that this release changes nothing.

    Corporations are even more so planning migrations to Mac OS X clients and Solaris/Linux severs, and with Zimbra and Lotus Notes it can be done slowly.  I’m about ready to develop my own solution by myself just to add the calendar, file sharing, contact management integration that Microsoft is obliviously always shortsighting with its Mac releases.  Stop developing for Carbon, it was for OS 9 migrations, it is slow, just look how terrible C++/XUL/Carbon Firefox is.  Develop for Cocoa from the ground up, using a VMware model to daemonize and modularize the components so that changes can be made to underlying protocols which use consistant API’s so that the frontend doesn’t have issues with updates and compatibility problems.  If the UI is good but the format support is bad, no one will eat this product up.  If the UI is bad and the support for cross-platform interoperability isn’t there, it will be like it is now with Office 2004.  Office 2004 isn’t even worth the effort to consumers, let alone business managers, 3d modelers, artists using the Mac platform for its rock solid UNIX stability, integration and elegance.

    Release a public beta like you have for most of your high-end Windows software, give it 3 months of feedback straight from users, and be sure to make it compatible with Groove, Project, and Outlook.  Let people use the OS they want, you can still milk them with Office, most people don’t mind if the product is worth it.  You can’t keep control over your Windows monopoly forever.  Macs may never be over 20%, and maybe they shouldn’t, but stop alienating us, giving us half-baked products, it’s pathetic.

  70. David says:

    Well, If you can’t tell us when Office 2008 will ship, can you tell us when we can buy Office 2004 licenses/upgrades that will get a free update to Office 2008? Or if you can’t tell us that, what will the policy be? i.e. if you bought Office 2004 3 months before the release of Office 2008, you get a free or just s&h cost upgrade.

    Thanks in advance

  71. Thorolf says:

    1. Task and notes sync with Exchange server

    2. Distribution lists

    3. Link to google maps in adressbook

    4. Subcribe to iCal publised calendars

    5. Sharepoint integration / Offline Sharepoint reader (Coligo for mac..)

    6. Increased speed when conecting to Exchange server

  72. Angus Fox says:

    On Bobrs comment about MAPI. I think thats a bit out of line. Its good that craig is here talking and listening. Do you think telling him to shut up will help the MacBU make better software?

    Personally I think MAPI for the Mac is the LAST think we need. The Entourage approach of using HTTP almost works. Just fix it up and I’ll be happy (Fix the Error -18597 caused by not having a certificate – we dont have a certificate).


  73. Ryu says:

    Seriously speaking, please just junk Microsoft Office for Mac. You’ll do better selling NeoOffice with a Microsoft logo branded on it.

  74. Lee Cohen says:

    If you could make entourage into Outlook 2001 that would be tops.  I would rather not have to use parallels to use outlook to get the full functionality and if entourage was fully compatible with Outlook on exchange server that would be great.  I appreciate your efforts to port Office to the mac.  I am long time Mac user and Word/Office users.

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