Microsoft has boosted compatibility between its applications and the Macintosh platform, and plans to ship Microsoft Office for the Mac OS X as early as September or October of this year, a Microsoft executive said during a keynote at the Macworld Conference and Expo here Wednesday.
Ken Browne, general manager of Microsoft's Macintosh business unit, also drew vigorous applause from the Apple faithfuls when he announced the availability of a beta version of Microsoft Outlook 2001 for the Mac. The software can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/mac/outlook/outlook_prod.asp/.
"I wish I could say you were clapping because we have been doing great work," he said. "This has not been an area where we have given our best, up to this point."
The new version of Microsoft Outlook may go a long way toward assuring users of Microsoft's commitment to the Mac. Both the beta version, as well as the final release of the product due for release mid-year, are fully compatible with Microsoft Outlook's Windows version, Browne said.
But the highlight of Browne's keynote address was the unveiling of Microsoft's Office productivity suite for Mac OS X. This version of Office should take advantage of the fluid Mac OS X interface, although Microsoft's ability to release the software on time will require a considerable amount of development work in the coming months, Browne acknowledged.
A demonstration of the product here didn't go too smoothly, and some features failed to work the first time around.