Microsoft has always treated the Mac as a second class citizen and the bugs in Office 2008 are just added icing on the cake.
Back when I started using the Mac, there was Word. It wasn’t known as Microsoft Word to me, it was just Word, it was the word processor on the Mac. It was a slim and elegant piece of software and I wrote my degree thesis on it. We had Excel 4 as well but I had no real use for it and a copy of Project was kicking about as well.
Not long afterwards they release Microsoft Office for Macintosh which included Word 6, Excel 5 and Powerpoint 4 as well as a little tool which put a Microsoft app menu in your top menu bar. And it had to be the worst piece of software that I have ever had the misfortune to use. It caused crashes, it permitted the spreading of Word macro viruses (though the Mac itself was unaffected). And they didn’t update Project which, in their words, was okay because they didn’t see a market for it.
Fast forward a few years and we’ve enjoyed a relative peace regarding Microsoft. They’ve cleaned up for act with Office 98, Office 2001, Office X, Office 2004 and though they never updated Project, we’ve not really cared due to there being decent alternatives. But this omission prevented the use of a Mac in many businesses that needed compatibility with Project. For a good while a lot of people could see that Office for Mac was actually better than Office for Windows in terms of features.
So, earlier this year they release Office 2008 which is the first Intel version and we start to see the feature parity between Office for Windows and Office for the Mac increase again. They got rid of VBA on the Mac version which has killed macros programmed in VBA which again, is perhaps not a big deal but hurt the Mac in institutions which used VBA heavily – again these were large businesses for the most part. The list of Excel 2007 for Windows features that are missing on Excel 2008 for Mac is extensive. This cements Windows into big business.
But Microsoft, after being beaten relentlessly by Google, Nintendo and Apple on the internet, in digital music and players, in smartphones, in desktop operating software and in gaming consoles. Apple is seeing a huge surge in sales quarter over quarter which means Microsoft is losing market share (using the logic that in a monopoly situation like the desktop OS market, the monopolist can only lose market share – and people buying Macs are less likely to be buying their first computer these days). So, like a good monopolist, Microsoft decides to NOT release a brand new web application development toolkit for the Mac, hoping that it will force web designers to stay with Windows. Their solution for web developers? Stay with Windows or if you MUST use a Mac, run their web development tools in a Virtual Machine.