Microsoft Releases Office v. X Update, MSN Messenger 3.0, & Announces Entourage/Palm Synchronize

Microsoft has officially released an update for Office v. X, as well as version 3.0 of MSN Messenger. The Office update is dubbed Service Release 1, and includes some 1,500 improvements, tweaks, fixes, and other enhancements. The press release cites the addition of Quartz antialiasing with the as-yet unreleased Mac OS X 10.1.5, improved support of FileMaker Pro databases in Excel, and new customization features. The company is also announcing a Palm and Entourage synchronizing tool that will be released on July 15th. From Microsoft:

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft® Office v. X Service Release 1 (Office v. X SR 1) and MSN® Messenger 3.0 for Mac. The performance improvements, updates, new features and fixes featured across the entire suite of Office v. X SR 1 applications -- including Word X, Excel X, PowerPoint® X and Entourage™ X -- make them must-have downloads for all users of Office v. X who want the best and most seamless computing experience possible. MSN Messenger 3.0 for Mac is a greatly improved version of Microsoftis popular instant messaging application developed for Mac OS X, with several new features and improved reliability and performance. Also announced today, Microsoft will provide, in a separate but related offering, a component to enable synchronization between Palm operating system-based handheld devices and Entourage X as a free* download starting July 15.  

In addition to numerous fixes and improvements, Office v. X SR 1 includes new features that improve usersi overall experience with Office v. X by making it more compatible and easier to use. Improvements include better readability of on-screen text in all the Office v. X applications through Quartz text smoothing (a new feature available for Mac OS X 10.1.5 or higher). The improvements enable Excel X users to easily import data hosted on a FileMaker Server through FileMaker Server integration and refresh database queries made in Excel 98 through Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) integration, and enable users to paste their own customized images on toolbar buttons through Button face customization.

"Microsoft is committed to providing the most seamless experience possible with the Office v. X Service Release 1, particularly in terms of compatibility and ease of use," said Kevin Browne, general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft. "To that end, we have made more than 1,500 improvements, updates, fixes and new features in SR 1 that make Office v. X faster, more stable and more reliable than ever. With great new features like Quartz text smoothing, FileMaker and ODBC, which help Office v. X connect with Mac OS X and other applications more seamlessly, users will see why downloading SR 1 from the Mactopia Web site is so important."

Delivering on the Macintosh Business Unitis promise to continue delivering powerful Mac OS X applications, MSN Messenger 3.0 for Mac provides users with a number of improved communications and contact management features that enable a more enhanced and seamless messaging experience on Apple Computer operating system. Designed to behave and look like the Mac OS X user interface, MSN Messenger 3.0 for Mac also offers new features such as the ability to transfer files to people in the useris Buddy List, organize contacts in easy-to-find groups, and resize toolbars and icons, as well as improved emoticon support. Available for Mac OS X 10.1 and later, MSN Messenger 3.0 for Mac is the most stable, reliable and Mac OS-supportive version of the messaging application created yet.

You can download the updates at Microsoftis Mactopia Web site. The Office v. X update is free to registered users (pirates and thieves are reporting problems with pirated serial numbers), as is MSN Messenger 3.0. The Entourage/Palm synchronizing software will be released on July 15th.

As of this writing, Apple has yet to release or announce Mac OS X 10.1.5. Apple spokespersons were not immediately available to answer questions on the release of this software.