Microsoft sets date for Office v. X release

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Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) today announced that Office v. X would be available to the public on November 19. The MacBU is also offering information on Technology Guarantee, as well as updated numbers on downloads for Word Test Drive.

"The Nov. 19 release of Office v. X for Mac is generating tremendous excitement in the Mac community," said Kevin Browne, general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft. "We're proud to say that we've been able to develop the best native Mac OS X application out there, in just about a year's time. Our customers are going to be amazed at how well Office v. X runs on Mac OS X. With extensive support for Aqua, Quartz and Sheets, as well as the new features in all the applications, particularly Entourage X, this is an unprecedented release of Office for Mac."

The Office v. X suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage, the email and personal information manager first introduced with Office 2001. While the look of the entire suite received a facelift, Office 2001 users will notice the biggest change in Entourage.

The functionality of Entourage will be familiar to users, but the interface has gone through some major changes. Instead of having Tasks, Notes, Mail, Calendar, Address Book and Custom Views in the folder pane of the program, Entourage X has them located on the top left hand side of the application.

Entourage X also includes new and improved features. The personal Address Book offers improved international support, enabling users to customize and format addresses for any country or region in the world. The Calendar in Entourage X has been revamped to offer greater flexibility in managing schedules, particularly when meetings involve people in several time zones. Entourage X also includes the ability to insert rich content, such as movies or photos into the body of e-mail messages and sports improved Word editing tools.

In addition Entourage X includes improved support for the public Internet Message Access Protocol 4 (IMAP4) standard; new Mac OS Keychain support; and new Office Notifications, which display appointments, tasks, reminders and Microsoft .NET Alerts in a window even if Office programs are not running.

Office v. X runs natively on OS X -- it will not run under OS 9. All of the applications in the Office suite have undergone changes in their appearance adding Aqua buttons and dialog boxes. When making the Aqua interface the MacBU redesigned many of the buttons and took advantage of many features in the operating system. "We wanted to make our apps a great expression of OS X and not just Carbon," Browne told MacCentral. "This release of Office X is about showing our customers we are committed to them."

"Office v. X for Mac sets the bar for native Mac OS X applications. It is the prime example of how developers can take advantage of the power and features of Mac OS X," said Ron Okamoto, vice president of World Wide Developer Relations at Apple. "Microsoft has gone to lengths to use the power of our Quartz graphics engine and the elegance of the Aqua interface to create stunning, fast applications with features available only on the Mac."

In late September, Microsoft made Word Test Drive available to the public. Word Test Drive is a scaled-down version of the full application to give users a taste of what to expect in the full version release. To date, the MacBU is reporting over 90,000 downloads from interested Mac users.

Microsoft is also offering a Technology Guarantee to customers who purchase Office 2001 for Mac or an individual application such as Word 2001 for Mac between now and Dec. 31. The Technology Guarantee makes these customers eligible for a free copy of Office v. X for Mac. For details and to download the coupon for the Technology Guarantee, you can visit the Macintosh Business Unit Web site or your nearest reseller.

Office v. X will be available as an upgrade version to Office 98 users for US$299. Current owners of Office 2001 can upgrade for $149. The standard retail price for Office v. X will be $499.

This story, "Microsoft sets date for Office v. X release" was originally published by PCWorld.

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