Microsoft Gives Update on Office for Mac 2011 at WWDC, 32-Bit Version Only

Posted on June 9, 2010 by

Microsoft announced today at WWDC that Office for Mac 2011, which will be released sometime later this year, is going to be 32-bit only.  The reason Microsoft gave for not moving to a 64-bit version is that they are too lazy to move all their applications over to Apple’s Cocoa framework.  Only some of the user interface elements in Office 2011 are built on Cocoa, but Apple requires a complete move before they can build a 64-bit version.  So basically they are selling a half-built software suite and selling it at full price.  But what else would you expect from Microsoft?

Press Release:

June 8, 2010 – We are half-way through 2010 and the ship date for Office for Mac 2011 is drawing near. With each suite we launch – dating back throughout our more than 25 year history of developing Microsoft products for the Mac – we look at ways to work with Apple to meet the needs of our mutual customers. That’s why we are here at WWDC this week participating in the developer sessions.

In fact, we send dozens of people to WWDC every year to make sure MacBU products take full advantage of core Apple technologies, such as Cocoa. If you haven’t heard – Outlook for Mac and the new user interface elements in Office 2011 such as the ribbon are built on Cocoa. We like using Cocoa because it makes it easier to do what the MacBU specializes in: marrying Microsoft software and services to the look and feel Mac users want.
In Office 2011, we’ve made investments in better compatibility between Office for Mac and Windows Office, which is the largest request we receive from customers. We think we have some outstanding improvements to show you in this area, and we’ll continue to share details in coming weeks. Our work to increase compatibility means we haven’t completed the transition of moving the entire user interface over to Cocoa yet. And because Apple’s frameworks require us to complete the move to Cocoa before we can build a 64-bit version, Office 2011 will be 32-bit only. What does this mean to you? While Cocoa makes our job building Office easier, Office 2011 will look and feel great regardless of what technology is powering which bit of user interface. The largest difference between using a 32-bit and 64-bit version is the memory capacity available for your content. Most users with typical or even larger-than-average document content will not notice a difference in performance. Where 64-bit can make a difference is for people working with huge amounts of data, such as those creating very large Excel files with data in millions of cells, or PowerPoint presentations with thousands of high resolution images. The Windows Office Engineering team explained the differences earlier this year, recommending that most people use the 32-bit version of Office 2010 for the best compatibility, even on 64-bit versions of Windows.

Looking ahead at the MacBU development roadmap, we expect to go even further with Cocoa in the future. Meanwhile, I think customers are going to be really happy with the improvements in compatibility, collaboration, and user experience we’re bringing in Office 2011.

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