What it is: Microsoft released an updated version of Microsoft Office for the Mac.
Most businesses use Microsoft Office so they can use Word and Excel. That’s why Apple even agreed to make Microsoft’s Internet Explorer the default browser on the Macintosh a long time ago to convince Microsoft to keep developing Microsoft Office for the Mac.
Since Apple didn’t want to depend on Microsoft for the Macintosh’s success, they developed their own office suite called iWork, which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Out of these three programs, only Keynote has universal acclaim for being better than Microsoft Office’s PowerPoint. That leaves Pages and Numbers as adequate but inferior replacements for Word and Excel. The main redeeming feature of iWork is that it’s free.
However, as the Macintosh steadily grows in popularity, Microsoft has been making Microsoft Office for the Mac work more and more like Microsoft Office for Windows. It’s still not there yet because there’s still no equivalent Access for the Macintosh nor is the Excel version on the Macintosh equal to the Excel version for Windows. Still, Microsoft realizes that as more businesses migrate to the Macintosh, they need to keep Microsoft Office for the Mac competitive.
One of the latest features in the latest Microsoft Office for the Mac update is the ability to do real-time collaboration, which is a compelling feature of Google Docs. While this may be enough to keep people from defecting to Google Docs, it shows that Microsoft Office is adding features to keep people from defecting rather than adding features that can’t be found anywhere else. Essentially Microsoft is being defensive by making Microsoft Office for the Mac good enough that people won’t switch to cheaper alternatives.
As long as Apple fails to upgrade iWork fast enough and as long as Google’s online office suite still pales in comparison to Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office should be safe. At least for now.
The moment Google or Apple make office suites just as good as Microsoft Office, that’s a time for Microsoft to worry. If Google or Apple could even make an office suite that’s better, that could cause people to defect.
Until that happens, expect Microsoft Office to remain the standard for years to come. It may not be the easiest software to use, but it is comprehensive enough to do what most people need.