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Microsoft Officially Ships Office 2004, Announces 30 Day Test Drive

Microsoft Officially Ships Office 2004, Announces 30 Day Test Drive

by , 8:45 AM EDT, May 19th, 2004

Microsoft has officially announced what TMO first reported last week: Office 2004 for Mac has shipped. Big Redmond also announced the 30 Day Test Drive for Office 2004 for Mac, which allows users to try the software before they buy it.

The company has shipped both the Standard and Student and Teacher versions of the product, with the Professional version delayed until later this year. Microsoft has said the delays is due to Virtual PC 7, which is included in the Pro version of Office for Mac, and is not ready.

In explaining the delay to TMO last week, Jessica Sommer, Product Manager for the Mac Business Unit said, "This is the first version of Virtual PC for Mac developed by Microsoft. Initially, our development and testing timeline was estimated based on our experience with development of Office. The developing, testing, and bug fix cycle with Virtual PC is longer than that of Office and the testing more vigorous than previous versions of Virtual PC. Because of this, we have adjusted our release timing to match a more realistic schedule."

Microsoft has not yet specified the exact release date of the Pro version.

In addition to new GUI enhancements such as transparent menus, Microsoft is touting four major new features in Office 2004 for Mac, including new Track Changes features, full MSN Messenger integration, Unicode support, and support for long file names. From Microsoft's press release:

Track Changes. With new comment balloons, quick change accepting and rejecting, and MSN Messenger integration, tracking changes has never been this easy.

MSN Messenger integration. Now users can launch instant conversations via MSN Messenger for Mac Version 4.0 directly from a comment in Microsoft Word.

Unicode support. Office 2004 now supports input and display in more than 30 languages.

Long-file name support. File names are no longer limited to 31 characters.

A full list of Office 2004 for Mac features can be found on the attached list of new Office 2004 tools.

Office 2004 for Mac Professional Edition, which includes Virtual PC for Mac Version 7, will be available after Virtual PC 7 is complete in the second half of 2004. In addition, in the coming weeks Office 2004 will be available in the following languages:

  • Japanese and English: available today
  • French: available by June 2
  • Italian, Swedish and German: available by June 18
  • Spanish: available by June 25

A screen shot taken by TMO's John Kheit shows many of the new features.

Click on the above image for a much, much larger version (1440 x 900)

You can find more information about Office at Microsoft's Mactopia Web site.

The Standard Edition is priced at US$399 (US$329.99 at Amazon), with an upgrade available for US$239 (US$207.99 at Amazon). The Student and Teacher Edition is prices at US$149 (US$129 at Amazon). You can buy all three versions from the Apple Store, or any of the Mac retailers in our "Help TMO Grow" Web page.

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