The reborn Mac Business Unit (MacBU) at Microsoft reached a significant milestone last Friday evening, as Office for Mac 2011 was released to manufacturing.
Very soon, enormous machines will be churning millions of copies of the software - and like it or not, it will become the staple of your Mac's office work. Microsoft has been busy at work prepping the channel for the release, and has even come up with an upgrade programme to fit.
If you pick up the 2008 version productivity suite right now, it will qualify you for a free upgrade to Office for Mac 2011 as soon as it becomes available.
Office for Mac 2011 brings with it some new - and much requested (because, apparently, Mac users get what they ask for) - features such as *.PST imports and the deadly Office Ribbon, which will confuse most Mac users beyond the point of caring. Microsoft has dropped Entourage as the go-to app for calendars, emails and agenda and has implemented the same Outlook brand name used on the PC. Mac OS X users will also be allowed to connect to remote Windows desktops, through erm... Remote Desktop for Mac 2.
This is likely to be the biggest Office for Mac release since the infamous Office for Mac X came out in 2001. That revolutionary release may have rekindled user interest in the office side of the Mac business, but since then Office for Mac has seen more downs than ups. So more than just a big release for Microsoft, it is a necessary one.