“Microsoft Office isn’t among the apps that will run natively on Intel-based Macs – and it won’t be until the latter half of 2007, according to media reports. But when it does ship, Office will apparently be missing a feature so vital to cross-platform compatibility that I believe it will be the beginning of the end for the Mac version of the productivity suite.”
Microsoft Makes a Basic Mistake with Office 2007
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2006-12-11 8:36 pmPseudo Cyborg
Like the author states, not in a business environment. Macro use is generally a business-centric feature and used quite often, as outlined in the article, to streamline workflow.
I wonder what the marketing Borg as Microsoft are thinking. Here thay are all luvvy-dovey with Novell and here they go limiting functionality of just about the only thing they sell that runs on anythiig but windows?
IMHO, they should be opening up the markets for end user applications like Office. They are having to compete head on with the likes of OpenOffice etc and just as Open Office starts putting VBA Like extensions in thie offering Microsoft stop doing so.
I can’t fathom out the business logic for this type of decision.
There is a hidden agenda like Microsoft buying Apple or about to hit OpenOffice with a zillion patent violations.
Perhaps some wiser and more well informed OSNEWS readers can enlighten us all.
2006-12-10 7:23 pmBrianH
The business logic here is that porting VBA to Intel Macs would take at least 2 years, making Office 2007 more of an Office 2009.
And seriously, VBA code wasn’t all that portable in the first place. Sure, the language was the same but the object model was quite different, so there wasn’t much that you could do with portable VBA in the first place. This is why the VBA worms on the Windows side weren’t as damaging to Macs as you would think they would be.
See these developer pages for details:
For that matter, VBA isn’t very portable to Win64 either, and isn’t really supported on Office for that platform. Microsoft is recommending that people use the Office .NET APIs instead.
Seriously, we should consider this to be the beginning of the end for VBA, not for Office:Mac.
Surely not putting Access and now not putting VBA into Mac Office is just MS way of making sure OSX doesn’t find its way into the corporate enterprise sector. MS doesn’t mind Apple as long as it’s just for the home user.
MS is using Office to protect Windows.
2006-12-10 10:20 pmbousozoku
Apple requested that FileMaker be supported by Office instead of porting Access to Mac OS.
I’ve created a fair number of Visual BASIC for Applications applications and while it’s very useful, I’ve seen more than a few people use it to create viruses.
The MacBU should be creating a converter so that the macros are still available to Mac users. It’s actually a good thing to support Mac OS X technologies. A workflow from MS Word to Quark XPress or to Adobe Acrobat wouldn’t be that unusual.
It’s sad though that they won’t have a Universal version ready initially. Then again, Adobe just released Acrobat Reader as two executables, one for each platform, for each language. Some companies just can’t do things right.
2006-12-10 10:37 pmRonald Vos
It’s off-topic, but:
“It’s sad though that they won’t have a Universal version ready initially. Then again, Adobe just released Acrobat Reader as two executables, one for each platform, for each language. Some companies just can’t do things right.”
Maybe Adobe is using something other than Xcode for Acrobat, like for Photoshop (since Xcode hasn’t been the best IDE available to them in the past).
Or maybe they just don’t care for the logistics of distributing needlessly big binaries en masse.
2006-12-11 8:19 ams_groening
Maybe Adobe is using something other than Xcode for Acrobat, like for Photoshop (since Xcode hasn’t been the best IDE available to them in the past).
Well, to judge from this blog entry by Mark Niemann Ross, although 14 months old, it seems like Xcode is the tool of choice:
Q. How does this affect Adobe’s product development plans?
A. Adobe expects to support both PowerPC® and Intel microprocessors with future versions of its Mac OS applications, including Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, GoLive®, Acrobat® Professional, InCopy®, and other Adobe applications. To support this expanded development effort, Adobe plans to transition its Apple development process from Metrowerks CodeWarrior to Apple’s Xcode, a high-performance UNIX-based development environment that can support a universal binary wrapper on two binaries— one for systems based on Intel processors and one for systems based on PowerPC processors.
And concerning the splitting up of binaries into Intel and Power PC specific versions, I do believe there might be some performance issues to look at.
I stripped my iTunes 7.02 of the Intel bits for running on an older mac at home, and it cut down the memory usage by 40% and at the same time lowering cpu usage considerably. I know this is not a present day machine, however, I do believe the impact might get even bigger for applications like CS 3 in the future…
Edited 2006-12-11 08:21
2006-12-11 1:01 pmtheTSF
I would say that is true. Apple itself tends distant itself from corporate enterprise sector so it doesn’t get the full brunt of Microsoft Wrath. They offer enough for it to be useful in business but it is not the best platform for everyone. Microsoft has probably seen the move to Intel, as a larger threat to its enterprise market so they cripple Office to make sure Apples don’t spread that far. They like Apple in the home area. It is free R&D for them, and the home sector is more filled with those filthy pirates, as well home users don’t do a good enough job securing there system making windows look bad. So better for MS. If they loose some of the home market to keep a strong business market where they can get large volume sales on a regular basis. Then trying for the whim of the home user. If have seen Microsoft slowly reducing the quality of their own home versions of their software. From 95/98 vs. NT Then ME vs 2000 then XP vs. XP Home. I had better networking support in 95/98 then in XP Home and better in XP Home then in Vista Home.
this happened to IE. Microsoft just couldn’t keep up. Apple will either have to do a ‘safari’ and make their own Office (very hard!) OR they can be involved with Open Office.
I switched to NeoOffice three months ago and combined with Keynote I think I have a better setup than MS Office.
AAPL users = 2nd class citizens to msft?
Msft took VBA out msword for mac, a long time ago. Now it seems that openxml won’t be available for mac users until the second have of next year. Same thing msft did with IE.
I wonder what mac users think about their 2nd class status. I also wonder what mac usermac users think about ODF formated documents.
If mac users got behind ODF, that might help put a tiny dent in openxml. If msft didn’t control the standard, then aapl users might not have to live under msft’s heel.
BTW: ODF does not mean just OpenOffice. I don’t see why iWord, or Abiword, or whatever can’t work with ODF. Or, you can use a simple plug-in to use ms-office with ODF.
2006-12-10 7:21 pmExcel Hearts Choi
Abiword can write to ODF, though it is not the default. KOffice uses ODF as the default for everything. Apple already has (has had?) a relationship with KDE about KHTML, so sharing infor about how KOffice works should not be that hard.
2006-12-10 8:05 pmwalterbyrd
Whatever happend to native Koffice for MacOS-X?
Seems there was a lot of discussion about this in 2004/2005, then it seems the idea was dropped. I know that KOffice uses ODF as it’s default format.
2006-12-10 8:13 pmExcel Hearts Choi
KDE 4 is a major rewrite, and it is apparently possible to run KDE apps natively on Windows. I have not heard about this for OSX, but it certainly is possible. However, KDE 4 seems to be quite a ways away.
2006-12-10 8:42 pmarielb
does that mean replacing windows with the kde shell?
2006-12-10 8:56 pmraver31
no, it means downloading and installing a Window version of KOffice, much the same way as downloading Firefox or Limewire.
2006-12-10 8:57 pmExcel Hearts Choi
Take a look at this.
2006-12-10 10:56 pmwalterbyrd
>>Abiword can write to ODF, though it is not the default.<<
I just installed the most recent version of Abiwork on windows – no ODF, that I can find.
2006-12-10 11:38 pmhal2k1
//I just installed the most recent version of Abiwork on windows – no ODF, that I can find.//
It is Abiword, not Abiwork.
ODF support for Abiword is installed via a plugin.
Get it for Windows from here:
I have heard rumors of a new application for iWork at Mac World 07. I would think this would be a spreadsheet application, as many users would need something like this. Though I have never used iWork, I get the impression that it is supposed to be better tuned for the professional world as opposed to AppleWorks. The one app at a time approach by Apple will take a while before people start adopting iWork on a large scale, but it does afford them the opportunity to put all there resources into one application. Before, MS really had to provide Apple with Office as not doing so would look like they were using their monopoly to kill competition. With OO.org and iWork, it looks like there are enough competitors in the market that you could not sue MS. Also, iWork seems like Apple is trying to free themselves from MS. I’d like to see how this all plays out in about a year or so.
2006-12-10 7:39 pmarielb
come on. Apple is DOA in the enterprise if that’s their response to MS office. And I don’t want to hear about people hanging on to old versions of mac office. That will turn mac into Amiga (and not in a good way)
Is this what happens when you grow to depend on a proprietary project? Yes, yes I think it is…
2006-12-10 7:34 pmarielb
this is something Apple users will finally realize. Open source isn’t just about geeks who want to play with the kernel code. It’s about the users not being screwed around like this.
2006-12-11 5:01 pmTBPrince
You must be kidding! Do you happen to know how many people got screwed because developer of their software project found a real job in a local store. Or he’s just tired to go on. Or he’s lazy to go on. Or just vanished into a blackhole? This happens every day in OSS and MORE often than it happens in commercial world.
And sources won’t save your ass unless you have lots of developers who can go on with development. Which is unlikely because if you had, you wouldn’t have used an OSS project.
Unsupported stuff is part of every-day risks and, moreover, that decision comes from a company who’s know to be supportive of their old technologies. Go figure!
2006-12-12 2:31 amdeanlinkous
Unsupported stuff is part of every-day risks
But in this case there is nothing ANYONE can do about it. and you PAID to get screwed…
2006-12-12 6:57 amarielb
open source is not a panacea that will solve all the problems. But I want this to be a call to Apple and none of this complaining about Microsoft. What do you expect? Microsoft Office…for their competing platform? Too good to be true.
Apple now has the opportunity to be a key player in OpenOffice. I want to see a true alliance with Sun, IBM, Novell, Redhat, Adobe, Google and Mozilla.
Personaly I’ve never used this and never received a document using this feature.
But if you really need it you can stick with the old version of Office or just switch to NeoOffice. MS Office on Rosetta isn’t that horrible, the only thing your losing is the ability to open the new OpenXML formats. Is anybody actually rushing to use them? Or are they gonna be set to the default save format?
The way I see this is this is a great opportunity for NeoOffice to be used throughout Office Environments. At my Office now everybody is using OpenOffice.org and on my Mac I have NeoOffice.
This “panic” as I see it isn’t really merited as anybody who does any research will see there are options available.
is that while macs are used in the enterprise right now in marketing/design, they won’t be in the future because of this. That’s going to have a traumatic ripple effect everywhere even if you don’t use VBA
2006-12-10 9:21 pmalcibiades
At last, someone who understands! The complacency of the Mac people on this is breathtaking. Its not about whether the individual cares. Its about viability of the Mac platform in the enterprise. That just went south. It may be legitimately difficult to port – the detailed arguments are very convincing on that. But the implications are desperate.
Edited 2006-12-10 21:25
2006-12-10 9:48 pmarielb
Yeah Apple never quite understood that winning the corporate desktop was Microsoft’s way in to winning the consumer desktop. So, while MacIntel looked promising, I’m not so sure anymore.
Instead, Apple is basically saying forget trying to balance your checkbook with a mac but who cares-we have iLife!
When Quark released their version 5.0, you could not run it native in macosX, you had to use classic mode. That made a lot of poeple to choose Indesign 2.0 which were an carbon app and could be used native in both osX and os9.x
Personally, i think that was the thing that made Quark loose almost all of their customers to Adobe and Indesign 2.x/CS/CS2.
This will make NeoOffice and other office suits to gain market shares for Apple platform.
Great for 2 reasons: 1) All the more reason to not use MS Office products and use OOo instead, 2) All the more reason to not use a Mac for doing real work.
Anyone remember how Apple cut a deal with Microsoft paying dearly just to get MS to agree to keep distributing Mac Office (and not to do anything to prevent future versions of Windows from running on Mactels) for a specified period of time? Apple probably wanted this for perceived enterprise feasibility purposes.
Seems MS found a way to do the opposite of what Apple wanted after all.
2006-12-10 10:58 pmarielb
well it’s not like in the IE case where Microsoft decided simply not to do it anymore. Here, there is a real technical problem that costs too much money for them. But since Office isn’t open source, nobody else will be able to fix it.
2006-12-11 1:20 amWorknMan
But since Office isn’t open source, nobody else will be able to fix it.
Assuming that it was open source, who the hell is going to fix it? The same people that are going to make Firefox 3.0 work on Win9x?
Anyway, I would imagine that in time, VBA will be phased out of the Windows version in favor of the .NET Office APIs, so the lack of VBA in the Mac version will probably be a moot point eventually, unless MS (or someone else) makes a port of .NET to OSX.
2006-12-11 2:47 amarielb
“Assuming that it was open source, who the hell is going to fix it?”
How about Apple? It’s in their best interest.
Of course, without either VBA or .net Apple has a lot of work to deal with.
2006-12-11 5:28 pmTBPrince
If Microsoft doesn’t care to support VBA (while they have an agreement to support Office on Macs), why should Apple make their hands dirty at it? Remember that Apple hasn’t half of history of supporting old technologies MS has. They will just say bye to this technology: people who really depends on it, will stick with older versions. People who doesn’t, will switch to newer version.
2006-12-11 9:21 amMoochman
>Here, there is a real technical problem that costs too much money for them.
Bwahahahahahahahaha!!! Too much money?! For Microsoft!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA riiiiight!
I’ve worked at several large corporations and none of which relied on VB macros to do anything. In fact, most of the IT departments had macros locked out of the office apps.
Personally, I think the author is crying wolf. Saying this issue is a show-stopper and “beginning of the end” is reaching a bit, to say the least.
When Jobs announces a reasonably priced, all-Apple born-and-bred Office suite to the public, then I’ll say the MS-Mac boys better start sending their resumes to Google. Until then, I wouldn’t see too much into this.
It wold be nice to see a good Apple clone of Excel.
This story just shows the idiocy of relying on proprietary applications between competitors. Open Office is looking better and better.
2006-12-11 2:59 amhal2k1
There you go. Happy to be of service.
2006-12-11 3:58 amllanitedave
I feel better already!
I would agree that dropping VB support is bad for the Mac version if it wasn’t for a simple fact:
Macros are the single most stupid security issue ever.
The mere notion that a DOCUMENT can EXECUTE code has had such catastrophical ramifications for the computer industry that even Microsoft to some extent is moving away from them. You don’t need to use VB to make forms, you can use Infopath etc.
When OpenOffice lacked Office VB macro compatibility people were ranting and raving about how it would never make inroads in the enterprise without it. Now no one seems to think lack of VB macro compatibility is an issue for Mac Office. Macros are a huge security risk but many companies still use them because they wouldn’t know what to do without them. Scripting is very useful for office applications, and at least Office for Mac will use native OS X scripting. I doubt that’s enough to make inroads in the enterprise though.
On a side note I don’t think it is possible to take over the enterprise market by selling your competitors software. Apple needs to either make its own office suite, buy an office suite, or support a 3rd party office suite to even have a chance in the enterprise. iWork is a start but Apple has a long way to go before iWork even comes close to OpenOffice.
All Excel Users use VBA, 99% of my spreadsheets have VBA macros.
what are they thinking at MacBU ?? they should not bother to release office2007.
they really dont deserve their salary at microsoft, stupidity after stupidity.
i am piss off.
Is there a language plugin infrastructure? the reason why I ask, this would have been a more ideal situation, had the MacBU at Microsoft done so one *could* provide Visual Basic support for Office, but via a third party plugin – aka, Mono/C#/VB#
With that being said, why didn’t they provide a translation layer between VB and Applescript? assuming one doesn’t use win32 calls, it should be relatively easy IMHO. Then again, maybe I’m clueless :S
Microsoft has already made a stupid mistake with VBA long time ago: translating it. Yes, they translated a freaking programming language. Even worse, the code is embedded in the document as is, meaning that if you open some document made with, say, a spanish version of Word, you’re going to lose all your macros.
It certainly does make sense to make MS Office to work with AppleScript, but it should be included as an option (or some kind of VBA -> AS translator, if that’s possible).
REAL Software have Office:Mac libraries and objects for use in REALbasic – I’m not sure how the internals work but maybe MS could license that technology instead of starting from scratch. Or maybe REAL themselves could supply an add-in for Office2007:mac. Office becomes far less attractive without VBA, from my perspective.
Did most of you actually read the posts BrianH linked to earlier? Geez…
The decision to drop VBA was a technical one, not a political one. It may be stupid, but it’s hardly irrational.
The fact that VBA support on Mac Office hasn’t been anything close to 100% compatible with VBA on Windows Office means lack of VBA compatibility is not a showstopper for many users.
Now I personally find Mac Office to be slow, buggy and rather unpleasant to use. But until somebody comes up with a fast stable Mac application with near-perfect .doc support, I don’t expect to be switching for quite a while.
It may be time for Apple to make a few fundamental decisions as It gets squeezed from 2 directions. Microsoft is doing everything to keep Macs from the corporate realm while Linux becomes more user friendly and more appealing to the regular user.
Apple needs to grow some backbone and do 2 things to challenge Microsoft
1) Offer a $39 copy of OSX to OEMs like Dell and HP for mass production of pre-installed IntelMacs.
2) Offer their unqualified moral and financial support to projects like openoffice to match the functionality MSOffice.
The present business model for Apple computers has run it’s course and is headed for decline. To think that this VBA decision by Microsoft is some kind of accident is wishful thinking equivalent to the Maginot line
2006-12-11 2:30 pmasupcb
As has been discussed many times before Apple is a hardware and software company and it is dependent upon both its parts. Allowing clones nearly killed Apple last time and Dell and HP would probably make cheaper computers (both in price and quality) that would kill the Mac’s reputation. Part of the reason OS X is so stable is that it runs on controlled hardware. Plus the number of Apple computers has been increasing as of late and therefore it shows that their model is working. Even if they never get more than 5-10% of the market that still represents Millions of sales a year.
I think expanding their international market support and allowing for easier internationalization would help expand their marketshare more than allowing clones and other such things. Apple needs to focus more on international markets such as Europe (and having more equal pricing and do a better job explaining price differences among countries) as well as advanced markets such as Japan and developing BRIC countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Apple needs to stop focusing only on the US for growth.
As for open-source support I agree that Apple could do a better job. I think they could start by adding ODF support to iWork and also they should add OpenXML support as well since many people depend on interaction with MS Office. Personally I am looking forward to KDE 4.0 and KOffice 2.0 for cross-platform support. I am a Windows user and I no longer use Linux because my campus has a MS Campus agreement in which I have already paid for the use of Microsoft products and I know how to properly secure Windows and therefore I have no need to use Linux instead for now because it doesn’t increase my productivity in any way at the moment because my campus is dependent upon Microsoft software. I like Linux don’t get me wrong but I would rather use that space on my computer for other things (such as WoW) plus I still run across sites that I need to access that only work properly on IE due to the fact that I am a political science major and a lot of government and political websites are IE-only.
Interesting, never thought it that vital, more like the well from which a lot of windows security troubles have sprung. Couldn’t this be seen as good news for the mac?