Office 2008 for the Mac Moves Into Beta

Microsoftis Office 2008 for the Mac has progressed out of alpha testing, and has moved into the early beta phase in preparation for release later this year. One feature the Mac version of the office application suite will share with its Windows counterpart is the Escher graphics engine, according to APC Magazine.

Escher is Microsoftis rendering engine that allows the Office suite to better render graphics and charts.

While Microsoftis Mac Business Unit is striving to improve the usability of the Office suite interface, it will not be adding the "Ribbon" interface found in the Windows version.

Sheridan Jones, Lead Marketing Manager for Microsoftis MacBU commented "Part of our mission with Office 2008 is to expose all the things that are already there and make the product easier to use."

When Office 2008 ships, it will include a publishing-style layout view that

the developers liken to a desktop publishing application, iPhoto integration, Ledger Sheets in Excel, and support for Microsoftis new Office file format. It will also be Universal Binary, allowing Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Entourage to run natively on PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

The MacBU isnit saying if or when a public beta will be available, but representatives did confirm that the suite is on track for a late 2007 release.