Early this week I had some business to take care of near 5th Avenue in New York, so I stopped by the Apple Store. We have our share of Apple Stores in New York, but this one must be considered the flagship store, what with all the tourists out front taking pictures. Inside, it was business as usual; plenty of Windows users switching to the Mac, but still forking over hard-earned cash for Microsoft Office. Is there a way to stop that?
We’ve had Microsoft Office on the Mac for as long as I remember Macs, dating back 15 years. Generally speaking, Mac Office files are compatible with Windows Office files.
Yes, I know that it’s not perfect compatibility between the races, but there’s also not even perfect file compatibility back and forth on the various versions of Office for Windows.
Just as the ability for Macs to run Windows gave comfort to switchers, Office for Mac is something of a security blanket for all of us; the tie that binds, so to speak. Microsoft may not need the Mac, but Mac users feel a need for Office.
What It Is
Office for Mac isn’t quite a copy of Office for Windows. There’s no Outlook on Macs. There’s no Entourage on Windows. And they’re not the same product with different names.
Office 2008 comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage, and if you’re willing to get a second mortgage on your Mac, there are versions with even more goodies.
The Mac version of Office looks and feels like a Mac application; albeit one with more features than you can imagine, and at least triple what you’d ever use.
My Office Life
I’m a big fan of Entourage because it does so much, somewhat like an application from 1999, but highly competent. Email. Tasks. Projects. Contacts. All nicely integrated.
Part of the reason I like using Entourage is that I’ve used it almost forever; since back in the day when Mac OS’s Mail was clumsy. Another part of the popularity is that Entourage has plenty of nice touches, and does a better job of handling my calendar and contact and task functions than Mail or iCal or Address Book.
Rather, that used to be the case. Apple has made steady progress at integrating what’s on the Mac with what’s on my iPhone, so I’ve begun migrating some of my data from Office to the Mac OS X trio.
Once I began the project to see how it would work I was impressed. Then, I thought, “Do I even need to use Microsoft Office?”
The three other major Office components are staples of modern business—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft makes it easy and inexpensive to own the whole shebang.
While Apple’s iWork retails for about $80 (less in bundled packages), the Student Teacher version of Office 2008 for Mac is about $150, sometimes less.
Why bother to go cheap when Office is already cheap?
Office for Mac brings peace of mind, a level of security for peaceful coexistence between Mac users and Windows users in the business world. Files get exchanged back and forth all the time between Macs and PCs with little trouble.
So, can a Mac user dump Office for Mac and still survive?
That’s my challenge. I’m beginning the process now, but effective July 16th I will not use Microsoft Office for two weeks.
At the end of two weeks I’ll evaluate how I’m doing, problems I’ve run into, and adjustments I need to make. If all goes well, I’ll go through the end of August. Why? Because Office is legacy. It’s heavy. Bloated. Feature laden beyond belief and need.
Plus, I don’t like Microsoft any more.
My challenge to Office for Mac users is to give me tips and tricks as I make the transition, cold turkey though it may seem to be. What slimy gotcha lurks in my day-to-day routine? In place of Office I’ll use iWork, Mail, iCal, Address Book, and MobileMe.
In two weeks I’ll give a report on my progress and problems.