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Microsoft axes Virtual PC for Mac, Office still planned

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
Its being reported that MS is stopping support of VB on the Mac. Stopping support of VB, espeically in Excel, will kill cross-compatability for serious users - again, especially in Excel. This may be the beginning of the end for MS Office between Mac and PC. Anyone know what the scripting/macros are like in open office?

edt: Punctuation/grammar
post #2 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy

It being reported that MS is stopping support of VB on the Mac Stopping support of VB, espeically in Excel, will kill cross-compatability for serious users - again, especially in Excel. This may be the beginning of the end for MS Office between Mac and PC. Anyone know what the scripting/macros are like in open office?

I guess Monkey boy didn't like the jokes about 'Leopard being Vista 2.0' and "Redmond start your copiers'. Oh well, I hope that numbers thing makes it to market. I might need it.
post #3 of 106
Microsoft Corp. on Monday said it will not proceed with plans for an Intel-native version of Virtual PC for the Mac, but said its Mac Business Unit is continuing work on several other products, including a Universal version of Office.

In a statement obtained by MacNN, the Redmond, Wash.-based software developer said it has made great strides in gradually transitioning its software applications to Apple's new Intel-based platform, but has also made several product roadmap decisions along the way.

As a first order of business, Microsoft said it has decided not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time. However, it will continue to provide support to existing Virtual PC customers.

Microsoft's decision to indefinitely retire Virtual PC comes just as other software developers have announced their own solutions for running Windows on a Mac.

Apple introduced its Boot Camp dual-boot software in April. Parallels followed with its self-titled virtualization software in June. And just today, VMware said it also plans to offer a beta of its own virtualization software later this year.

"Developing a high-quality virtualization solution, such as Virtual PC, for the Intel-based Mac is similar to creating a version 1.0 release due to how closely the product integrates with Mac hardware," Microsoft said. "[Microsoft] still recognizes that customers continue to need access to Windows applications from their Intel-based Macs, and feels confident that alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors, combined with a fully packaged retail copy of Windows, will satisfy this need."

Similarly, Microsoft said it will be discontinuing support of Visual Basic scripting in the next version of Office for Mac, but is working hard to increase support for standard Mac scripting methods such as AppleScript and Automator.

"As always, cross-platform compatibility remains a top priority. As we develop the next version of Office for Mac, the files will continue to be compatible across platforms, including 2007 Microsoft Office system for Windows," the company said. "Although VB macros within files will not be accessible and cannot be viewed or modified, the files themselves can be edited without affecting or changing the macros."

On the other hand, Microsoft said it has updated "tens of millions of lines of code" in its quest to deliver a Universal version of Office. However, it did not provide a timeframe for release. What the company did say, is that it would provide free converters to allow users of current versions of Office for Mac to read the new Microsoft Office Open XML formats following the availability of Office 2007 for Windows next year.

Sometime later this year, Microsoft said it will release its first Universal application, Messenger for Mac 6.0. The new version of the instant messaging software will add such features as "federation for Messenger," customized emoticons and spell check.

Microsoft also plans to release a free Universal update to Remote Desktop Connection software, which allows Mac users to access Windows-based computers on their network. However, the company said it will not offer customers support in using the software. Details of Remote Desktop Connection are due at a later date.
post #4 of 106
You don't need it any more. Microsoft can go to hell and scrap all their crappy Mac products if they want. It's not like they put the development effort in to make them worth anything. You're better just running virtualization software and the Windows version or better yet find a way to phase out using their stuff altogether.
post #5 of 106
I'm confused.

If Microsoft Office 2007 uses Visual Basic for scripting, and Microsoft Office 2008 (which I guess will be the Mac version) uses Automator and AppleScript for scripting, then exactly how can script-reliant files be at all cross-compatible?

These people are evil. They are still developing Office for Mac, but they are killing off a feature that allows many people to use Macs in a corporate environment.
post #6 of 106
Begun this OS war has.

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post #7 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

You don't need it any more. Microsoft can go to hell and scrap all their crappy Mac products if they want. It's not like they put the development effort in to make them worth anything. You're better just running virtualization software and the Windows version or better yet find a way to phase out using their stuff altogether.


A nice thought not really possible in the real world. I will get Office documents - from buisness partners, acdemic journals (I just had trouble submitting as artical to PhysMedBio because it was a Mac Word document. I had to re-save in Word '97 format or some such) If I have to pay for Windows XP(Vista) and Parallels and then spend a good part of my time in that environment it defeats the 'ease of use' purpose of the Mac. This is not a minor issue, unfortunately. I agree with your sentiment but.....
post #8 of 106
well, honestly, the applescripting should have been there from the get-go ages ago when they rebooted office for the mac to show its integration with the operating system. i know a lot of applescripters who are thinking they will FINALLY be able to automate a lot of back-and-forth with word documents a LOT more easily than ever before in publishing environments.
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

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When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #9 of 106
I'll just remake the post I made over here.

Virtualisation is not an answer completely because while they are at it they may as well just run it on their non-apple branded computer on their copy of windows. It's all extra cost otherwise and it makes macs look awfully unattractive in some fields.

You'd be surprised just how widely VBA is used. It is very good for automation and presentation. I could design models and put a UI on it so even people with no idea could get the results they needed out from data.

University science labs will be particularly effected. Macs are very well accepted in biological sciences and now all of them that use VBA, which will be a lot, won't have it available for their next round of purchases. So will they purchase macs again and add the cost of virtualisation and windows or will they just consider some more windows PCs and phase out the Macs?

My local dressage club uses it extensively for competitions to manage the data as the process is the same for each competition. For their next purchase they were going to switch to macs, it is very unlikely they now will. They could switch over to macs and recode everything in Applescript but before they could have just used the same file on either platform.

Gone are the days when I could use OS X for the vast majority of my work and only boot windows for the rare specialised app that I use. Now windows would be a daily load for me as another word processor for the Mac OS would be even more cost and I need to guarantee 100% file compatibility. Suddenly the mac is considerably less attractive than it was 24 hours ago and I'm certain I not alone. This just makes Macs an even tougher sell now.
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post #10 of 106
Like SpamSandwich said in another topic relating to VBA getting axed "Begun the OS war has"
post #11 of 106
Mac Office allows for REALbasic programming though.
post #12 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K.

Mac Office allows for REALbasic programming though.

But don't the macro's, even just the recorded macro's, use VB?? If so, this would be the majority of the scripts that would need to be cross-platform operational and so would go away. Isn't that correct?

Don't underestimate how this might stifle corporate acceptance, and even academic acceptance as has been pointed out. Unless someone (apple) would create a cross-platform real competitor to (unlikely for a long time, if at all) this will make choosing Macs significantly more difficult and a large number of situations.
post #13 of 106
Novell has reverse-engineered and implemented VB in it's version of OpenOffice. Maybe Apple could have a talk with them. Learn a thing or two.
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post #14 of 106
Hopefully 10.5 will allow you to run windows apps, then I'll just get the windows version. I like it better than the mac version anways.

Flame me if you will, but have you ever noticed that something that you make in Word for mac doesn't always look the same in Word for windows? And don't even get me started on Excel.
post #15 of 106
Wouldn't hurt for people to let Microsoft know what they think either.

For me I simply won't upgrade to the next version. That's assuming the new file formats don't remove compatibility in the current versions too.
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post #16 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariofreak85

Flame me if you will, but have you ever noticed that something that you make in Word for mac doesn't always look the same in Word for windows? And don't even get me started on Excel.

I've noticed this going between 2 of my own computers so I'm not entirely certain it is a cross platform thing I think it often falls to differing settings on two different computers. Then again I have certainly heard enough horror stories but I've always found Powerpoint is the one with the most cross platform issues.
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post #17 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telomar

I've noticed this going between 2 of my own computers so I'm not entirely certain it is a cross platform thing I think it often falls to differing settings on two different computers. Then again I have certainly heard enough horror stories but I've always found Powerpoint is the one with the most cross platform issues.

OMG YES! I had a group presentation that was done on a windoze box, and when we opened it up on my mac the font had all sorts of funky characters and it just looked really bad.
post #18 of 106
Microsoft is just getting lazy and playing games. If they stop dev Microsoft office for mac, it would still last at least another many years assuming that v2004 will last untill early 2008, and the final version (if it were to be discontinued) would last until 2010 or 11.

By that time, iWork should be up to snuff with office or better.
post #19 of 106
Does this mean that you have to run MS Office XP through bootcamp/paralels for it to be 100% compatible? I'm buying a Macbook Pro in 1 month, which will be my first Mac and I need all Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents to sync correctly with windows users. What are my options?
post #20 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEmpirePlaya

Does this mean that you have to run MS Office XP through bootcamp/paralels for it to be 100% compatible? I'm buying a Macbook Pro in 1 month, which will be my first Mac and I need all Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents to sync correctly with windows users. What are my options?

Office 2004 is usable, functional, and compatible. And Excel 2004 has VBA. Don't worry. MS office is better than Office 2003 for PCs.
post #21 of 106
It must be a real kick in the nuts for Paralells to bring MS to it's knee's.

Things are in the crapper at MS.
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post #22 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub

It must be a real kick in the nuts for Paralells to bring MS to it's knee's.

Things are in the crapper at MS.

Things are in the craper at M$. How does that relate to what you quoted me on?
post #23 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Clean

Novell has reverse-engineered and implemented VB in it's version of OpenOffice. Maybe Apple could have a talk with them. Learn a thing or two.


Does this mean it comes back to the OS version? Is VB available in OO 2.0 or NeoOffice?
post #24 of 106
It took them a while to announce this. With Parallels and Boot Camp, I think it would be hard for a more expensive option, though Virtual PC was nicer save for the performance hit on the PPC units because of the emulation.

It would have been nice to have a system that allows the program to intermingle with OS X apps rather than be within a window like Parallels. Darwine is supposed to be heading that way.
post #25 of 106
um, so when did i miss the part that ms office 2004 will suddenly cease to work on the new intel macs? oh, i guess running office in rosetta on dual core processors is just, um, too slow? seriously, how fast do you need office to friggin' run? even excel, the biggest table to create and have them all live linked to each other... are you telling me the current lineup of processors couldn't chew through that data in the meantime on the current office suite? if this is such a big issue before purchasing new hardware, just buy the new hardware, use the current apps, and plan a roadmap for the transition to the new supported scripting. yeah, i know planning transition is more difficult than just doing it the way it's always been done, but if that were the case, for example, where the hell would the standards of the world wide web and browsers be today? someone hadd to change the rules, or we'd all be table-slicing-and-dicing the rest of our lives.
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Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #26 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rok

um, so when did i miss the part that ms office 2004 will suddenly cease to work on the new intel macs? oh, i guess running office in rosetta on dual core processors is just, um, too slow? seriously, how fast do you need office to friggin' run? even excel, the biggest table to create and have them all live linked to each other... are you telling me the current lineup of processors couldn't chew through that data in the meantime on the current office suite? if this is such a big issue before purchasing new hardware, just buy the new hardware, use the current apps, and plan a roadmap for the transition to the new supported scripting. yeah, i know planning transition is more difficult than just doing it the way it's always been done, but if that were the case, for example, where the hell would the standards of the world wide web and browsers be today? someone hadd to change the rules, or we'd all be table-slicing-and-dicing the rest of our lives.

I have no problem at all continuing to use Office 2004 BUT when I want to buy new hardware in a year and I can no longer buy 2004, and the new versions are no longer compatible between Mac and PC THEN there is a problem. I'm all for transitions and new (beneficial) technologies but this path is Mac only and breaking the compatibility.

edit: spelling
post #27 of 106
Using Windows at work all day, we see really old Microsoft Word/Office files all the time from other companies we consult with. Old and new versions of Windows to Windows don't even work well. How does anyone expect Mac and Windows versions to ever really be compatible? For now or in the future?

Face it. No one on the planet thinks Office is any good. When crap happens, it is just simple to say, oh that's just how Word is. Doesn't matter if it happens from the Mac or Windows side.

Worst comes to worst, we can use Boot Camp or Parallels or VM or whatever. I can get Office for $20 at work for a home users license. We don't need MS Virtual PC. They know it. We (at the corporate level) to date need office. They know it.

Pretty easy to see where all of this is going.
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post #28 of 106
The reason MacBU has had to abandon VBA is that the Mac compiler won't work on Intel Macs. And Microsoft has already announced that VBA is being deprecated on Windows (it will go on working for a few years, then will end). So there's no point devoting enormous efforts to making a new compiler only for it all to go away shortly afterwards. There is some reason to believe that eventually VB.NET will work on the Mac as it does on Windows, as a cross-platform solution. Until then, VBA macros need to be translated to AppleScript. There can be no better signal that MacBU is committeed to the Mac than to see the huge investment they have made in AppleScript. Office's AppleScript is already working as of Office 2004, and it mirrors the VBA model identically: macros can be translated to AppleScript _now_, and will then "just work" in the next version of Office too.
post #29 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmac

Using Windows at work all day, we see really old Microsoft Word/Office files all the time from other companies we consult with. Old and new versions of Windows to Windows don't even work well. How does anyone expect Mac and Windows versions to ever really be compatible? For now or in the future?
.
.
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Pretty easy to see where all of this is going.

While there are certainly problems with compatibility they are not usually severe. I have a very extenisive Excel model of our business. 6 multi-sheet excel workbooks that talk to each other. Developed on a Mac and, with minor formatting tweaks, ran fine on a PC. Even edit on the PC and send back. While we all like to bash on MS for lazy design and testing, it (Excel) still worked better than anything else out there for this kind of work and compatibility.
post #30 of 106
I see several different issues at work here. Let me first say that Word-compatibility is an oxymoron. Move a Word document between two Windows computers with different versions of Office and you will have problems. My experience is the Word 2004 is almost completely compatible with all previous Mac versions. It is also more compatible with different versions of Word:win than they are with each other.

To the vast majority of Office users, VBA serves no useful purpose. For a small subset of users, it is essential. MacBU has some explaining to do about how users of Office 2008 will function with VBA no longer available. Why upgrade when Office 2004 still works and has better than acceptable performance in Rosetta?

Virtual PC is another matter. Microsoft bought Connectix software for Virtual Server. Virtual PC for the Mac and Virtual PC for Windows came along for the ride. Well, Microsoft's plans for Virtual Server collapsed. It converted the product to freeware. The handwriting was on the wall for the VPC product line. This was confirmed with Microsoft annouced that VPC 2004, the current Windows version, has also been converted to freeware. Finally today, Microsoft announced that VPC 7 would be the last Mac version.

I am as willing as the next person to accept the notion that Microsoft is up to no good. In the case of removing VBA from Office 2008, this is consistent with the available evidence. In the case of today's announcement about VPC, it is not. Its death is a Microsoft failure on several levels.
post #31 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy

While there are certainly problems with compatibility they are not usually severe. I have a very extenisive Excel model of our business. 6 multi-sheet excel workbooks that talk to each other. Developed on a Mac and, with minor formatting tweaks, ran fine on a PC. Even edit on the PC and send back. While we all like to bash on MS for lazy design and testing, it (Excel) still worked better than anything else out there for this kind of work and compatibility.

Hell on the Mac what other choices are there? I can get around Word and Power Point but Excel?
post #32 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

Hell on the Mac what other choices are there? I can get around Word and Power Point but Excel?


open office
post #33 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me

Virtual PC is another matter. Microsoft bought Connectix software for Virtual Server. Virtual PC for the Mac and Virtual PC for Windows came along for the ride. Well, Microsoft's plans for Virtual Server collapsed. It converted the product to freeware. The handwriting was on the wall for the VPC product line. This was confirmed with Microsoft annouced that VPC 2004, the current Windows version, has also been converted to freeware. Finally today, Microsoft announced that VPC 7 would be the last Mac version.

i guess the guys who sold connectix to microsoft got out just in the nick of time. well, okay, they had a few years to go, but they avoided having to make the g5 transition, AND having to compete with apple's FREE boot camp solution, and, one would assume with microsoft signing the checks, they made out like bandits in the deal, too.
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #34 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thataboy

They are still developing Office for Mac, but they are killing off a feature that allows many people to use Macs in a corporate environment.

Yeah, and look what they did for email. They killed off Outlook for Mac and threw us this Entourage application which is a joke when it comes to Exchange server support. Synchronizing large mailboxes takes forever, and it can't even access Notes and Tasks folders on the server, or configure mail rules on the server.

This is what's called token support. They make it look like they are committed to supporting the Mac platform. "See, we do make Office for the Mac. See, Entourage can communicate with Exchange servers." But they make the Mac version just different enough, and leave out just enough critical features so compatibility becomes a major obstacle in corporate Windows based environments.
post #35 of 106
It might not be noticed here much in the Mac world, but MS has been moving away from VB themselves. It will take a while, but it is happening. I'm not an expert in that area, but .net, and other technologies are changing things there as well.
post #36 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

You don't need it any more. Microsoft can go to hell and scrap all their crappy Mac products if they want. It's not like they put the development effort in to make them worth anything. You're better just running virtualization software and the Windows version or better yet find a way to phase out using their stuff altogether.

At work, I have this idiot system administrator whose idea of Mac "support" was to set up Windows Terminal Services and have Mac users do all their work in Windows, run all their applications in Windows, save all their files in Windows, and completely bypass the Mac OS.
post #37 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

Hell on the Mac what other choices are there? I can get around Word and Power Point but Excel?

This shows a lot of promise: Tables
post #38 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

It might not be noticed here much in the Mac world, but MS has been moving away from VB themselves. It will take a while, but it is happening. I'm not an expert in that area, but .net, and other technologies are changing things there as well.

They are. Ultimately they will move to VSTA (I think it stands for Visual Studio Toolbox for Applications), which is basically just .Net for apps but I believe Office 2007 still utilises VBA, either way it retains backward compatibility. To completely cut VBA from an entire iteration of Office for Mac is a huge blow. As has been stated before the cycle is around 3 - 4 years for an upgrade and after about 1 year you will no longer be able to get the current version leaving people who need VB and want to switch basically unable to do so.
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post #39 of 106
Bad bad (and stupid) Microsoft. The ONLY thing they've done that's been good for mac users is to employ Flip4Mac instead of their own dirty Windows Media Player. All other choices they've made is just crap. In one sentence they're saying "As always, cross-platform compatibility remains a top priority" and in the next they're saying "VB macros within files will not be accessible and cannot be viewed or modified". Perhaps they're thinking advanced users that are likely to use VB are also likely to have a virtual Windows desktop of some kind installed. It's crap either way. And to kill such a fine product as Virtual PC. Bad. While Microsoft has been sitting on their hands spending money doing nothing other companies like VMware and Parallells has developed competent alternatives showing that it doesn't take years to develop good virtualization software 1.0.

Now I don't use Microsoft's software at all, so for me personally this isn't a big blow. But poor people who are dependent of MS software.. ya'll must meet disappointments all the time..
post #40 of 106
personally i wish Apple would stop faffing about with iWork (with the exception of Keynote) and get behind OpenOffice.

In the meantimeThinkFree Office looks promising.
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