A couple of days before the US Department of Justice requested that Microsoft be spilt into two separate companies [see DOJ asks for Microsoft Spilt article elsewhere in this issue], Microsoft themselves announced some great news for Macintosh users – Microsoft Office 2001 Macintosh Edition (Office) will be available later this year.
The new release will feature a new e-mail and Personal Information Manager (PIM), tightly integrated into the overall Office 2001 package, which will give Office users access to their Address Book from any of the Office packages and track projects and events through the new Calendar and Task List features.
The email editor will feature a full range of editing-tools, similar to those found in Word, that allows spelling mistakes to be easily highlighted and common typing messages automatically corrected. Advanced features like “Flag for Followup” automated reminders and custom views that allow things like “view only messages sent by sender xxxx” are also included. The Address Book will be able to be used with Word’s Mail Merge facility.
The new PIM also includes the ability to synchronizes with Palm Organisers.
Will we actually get to see Microsoft Office 2001 Macintosh Edition released? I’d say so – if for no other reason to help Microsoft defend itself again the DOJ ruling by allowing to say that it offers support for non-windows platforms. Besides Office 98 for Macintosh has sold over 2.5 million units. This is a very substantial market the “new” Microsoft, in what form that takes on, will not be able to ignore.
As an aside Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh had over 1.5 million downloads in the first fortnight of its’ release, which Outlook Express 5 has been downloaded 1.5 million times. Regardless of what many think of Bill Gates or Microsoft, many Macintosh users are using Microsoft products and many by their own choice.
Where does this leave Outlook Express? Well, Microsoft have stated that they will continue to offer v5.02 as a free email client, but hasn’t made any decisions on future enhancements at the time of writing. The Outlook client for use with Microsoft Exchange Servers will also continue on in its’ current form and may in fact be used to replace the Office 2001 email and PIM components.
Does Office 2001 run under MacOS X? Sort of – It will run as a Classic application at this stage, but sometime in 2001 a “carbonized” version that runs natively under MacOS X will be released
To date, no information on what enhancements are going to be included in the standard Office Applications, Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Nor has there been any announcement on wether a database application will be included – a few years ago when Apple took many of the Claris products back under its’ own wing, yet left FileMaker Pro as a separate company and then FileMaker Pro 5 was released with improved integration with Office 98, many rumours circulated that it was part of a bid to bundle FMP as part of both the Macintosh and Windows Editions of Office, replacing Microsoft Access, which currently only exists for Windows.
For a guided tour of some of the new features visit www.microsoft.com/macoffice/X/pimarticle1.htm.
To get the latest information on the developments happening with Office 2001, sign up for the Office 2001 Macintosh Edition News e-mail list by visiting .
The original Microsoft press release could be read at .
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