According to a recent Fortune Small Business article, the best way to run Microsoft Office is on a Mac. The article talks about some of the advantages and disadvantages of running Office on a Mac vs. a PC.
The article is worth a read if your small business is interested in running Office 2008 or perhaps even introducing Macs into your environment. The article does include one FUD quote however: “And if you use Web-based office productivity tools like Google Apps, Basecamp or Zoho, expect trouble. In my testing, pages just sometimes wouldn’t load or render properly. We never could figure out why.” I’m not sure what Jonathan Blum (the author) was doing, but using these sites in Firefox on my Mac works just fine.
Less than 12 hours from now, the early giant in web browsers will be given its final resting place. On March 1st, 2008, AOL will end official support for Netscape, thus rendering it pretty much dead to the world. Used by over 90% of web users in the mid 1990′s, the browser has seen a steady drop in usage to less than 1% today. The death blow for Netscape was the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows by Microsoft in the mid 1990′s. The intense struggle between Netscape and Microsoft during the 1990′s for browser market share is known as the Browser War.
Though Netscape itself is headed to its eternal resting place, the Netscape DNA still lives. In the late 1990′s, Netscape open-sourced their next generation layout engine. This new engine eventually became known as the Gecko layout engine. Today Gecko powers a number of browsers, most notably Firefox, Flock, and Camino.
If you’re really curious about the Gecko engine, Netscape, or Camino, check out the below video. The video features Mike Pinkerton, one of the Camino developers who worked at Netscape. He shares a lot of inside information about what went on during the browser war and the open-sourcing of the Gecko layout engine.
If you work at a fairly large corporation, chances are pretty good your company spends a ton of money on Microsoft products. Chances are also good that your company has some type of Volume Licensing agreement with Microsoft. Did you know that many companies with Volume Licensing agreements are also part of the Home Use Program?
The Home Use Program (HUP) allows employees of companies with Volume Licensing agreements to purchase certain Microsoft Products at steep discounts for use in their homes. For instance, my company is part of the HUP and I’m able to purchase Project, Visio, and Office for less than $20. Though there is one notable exception to the offerings by Microsoft.
Shipped on January 15th, 2008, Office 2008 became one of the last applications to become a universal binary. In addition to being universal, Office 2008 is a major upgrade to the flagship Microsoft product. Though it has been released in stores, Office 2008 is not yet part of the HUP. In fact, no one knows when it will become an option in the HUP.
I contacted customer support about Office 2008 and the inclusion of the software in the HUP. Here’s the response I received:
The Home Use Program hopes to add Office Mac 2008 to its listings shortly. However, we do not have an exact date as to when this will be. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
We do update our listings on a monthly basis. You may want to check back at a later date, to see if the product that you wish to purchase has become available.
The forums at MacRumors are filled with a number of people who received similar responses when they contacted customer support. While there has been no official date for Office 2008 joining the HUP, one forum user received the following response from Microsoft: “..it should be available not later than April 2008″. While this isn’t an exact date, it’s at least more than what was previously said. If you were holding out to get Office 2008 through the HUP, you might want to rethink your purchase either way based on this information.
If you’re a Mac user that absolutely needs Office for Mac, you’ll be happy to know that Office for Mac 2008 is nearing store shelves. As of December 12th, Office 2008 has been released to manufacturing. This means that the MacBU has signed off on a final build that has been sent to manufacturing sites.
Office 2008 will be released on January 15th at Macworld. A large number of the MacBU team will be on hand at Macworld to show off their work and talk to Office users.
I’m actually going to buy Office 2008. I nearly purchased iWork 08 as my Office replacement, but I decided to wait until Office 2008 is released. I don’t absolutely need Office 2008, but for less than $20 you can’t go wrong. In an upcoming post I’ll reveal how you too might be able to get Office 2008 for Mac for less than $20.