mac_office.jpgIt would be easy to shrugg off Microsoft’s decision this week to delay the release of Mac Office 2008 until January. After all, what’s a few months to such a small portion of enterprise users? Besides, at least this means that for once the numbers mentioned in a Microsoft product name will reflect the actual year it came out.

But if you are stuck working in a Mac-only office, like I was until recently, it can make all the difference in the world.

Until my division was bought out by ITWorld Canada, we were on track for a number of Mac Office-related upgrades, including Entourage and Word. Given all the frustrations we had with the existing product — fonts that were wonky, a grammer checker that missed important stuff, e-mail that went into the ether — we weren’t exactly looking forward to it, but it would have been interesting to watch the upgrade happen as it hit its various snags. Kind of like living through our own IT case study, although we wouldn’t be able to talk about it.

I remember, though, the last time I was at MacWorld Expo, where a Microsoft Mac Office product manager stood on a stage and promised that the company would be developing its product with Mac-specific user needs in mind. “No more ports!” he cried, and the crowd erupted into thunderous applause. For a lot of creative people working on Macs out there, this stuff matters. Maybe Microsoft will prove it was worth the wait.

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