Compatibility with Windows version the reason why
Mac users hoping for a 64-bit version of Microsoft Office 2011 are going to be disappointed to find out that it isn’t happening this time around. For the 2011 Mac release, the Mac Office team is sticking with a 32-bit version only.
As for the reason Office 2011 will not be getting a 64-bit version this time around, Microsoft says that the need for compatibility between the Windows version and the Mac version is a higher priority; and that it would not have been possible for team to get a 64-bit version done in addition to the other necessary compatibility enhancements. Additional compatibility with the Windows version of Office is still the number one priority that users continue to ask for, according to our sources.
Sources also say that Mac Office needs to complete the move to Cocoa before they would be able to create a 64-bit version, and currently Office 2011 as things stand isn’t 100% Cocoa. This has to do with the new ribbon interface, which apparently has not been ported to Cocoa as of yet. Microsoft continues to tell both Mac as well as PC users that the 64-bit version of Office will make little difference to most users, as it really only makes a serious impact for users working with exceptionally large amounts of data. While the upcoming release of Office 2010 for Windows will offer the first 64-bit version, our sources tell us that you can expect the next version of Mac office to add 64-bit support, as well, the next time around.
The biggest addition of the Mac Office 2011 release is the first version of Outlook 2011 for Mac which brings the corporate Email standard program to the Mac platform for the first time (instead of Entourage, which has been the Email program included in previous versions of the Mac version of Office). Outlook 2011 for Mac will offer PST support, which is the Email file format standard for Outlook that will make transitions between Outlook on Mac and Windows platforms much easier. In addition, the new Mac Office 2011 also brings additional compatibility in corporate environments with additional SharePoint support.
While an official release data has not yet been announced by Microsoft’s Mac Office team, it is thought that Mac Office 2011 will either arrive very late this year or early next year; although Microsoft is suggesting that it will arrive this holiday season.