Office 2008 for Mac. Here We Go Again.

I read a couple of news stories the other day describing the release date and pricing of the delayed product Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. As I read the information, I was both surprised and not surprised at the same time. I didn’t even realize that was possible.

Rather than just release the product, Microsoft has (once again) decided to split it up into different editions (people might be most familiar with this because of the five or six different editions of Vista). The “basic” edition of Office 2008 contains all the Office applications and will sell for a whopping $400. A “home and student” edition will sell for $150 (almost twice what iLife 08 costs – for the only edition they sell – a complete edition). A “special media” edition apparently ships with “Expression Media for Mac”, which is an image management application. That one sells for $500.

First, I have to talk about pricing here. These prices are just insane. This concludes the talk about pricing.

Second, “Expression Media for Mac”? Admittedly, I know nothing of this product. But if it is indeed an image management application as some articles suggest, does Microsoft seriously think they’re going to take market share AWAY from iPhoto – on the Mac platform? What are they smoking? And can I please have some? If, however, it is indeed something entirely different, I’d love to take a peek.

There are some neat visual and functional enhancements as depicted on the site (notice, no Silverlight). Some of these really help to bring parts of Office for Mac up to the level of iWork 08, and that’s a good thing. One thing I still think is a huge blow to Microsoft is how Apple was able to release software that made Office 2007 file formats readable on the Mac platform BEFORE Microsoft did. My thinking is that a converter should have been released along with the release of Office 2007 for Windows so that all of the loyal Microsoft Office for Mac customers weren’t left behind. But maybe this kind of thinking is why I’m not the richest man in the world. Oh well.

Things will obviously become more clear as we get closer to the launch date in several months. One of the things I’m particularly interested in is the performance of the applications. Performance is an area in which the current version of Office for Mac left a LOT to be desired.

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