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Microsoft drops VBA in Mac Office 2007

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the seems-more-secure-that-way dept.

Microsoft 374

slashdotwriter writes "Macworld features an article stating that the next version of Office for the Mac will not include Visual Basic scripting. From the article: 'Microsoft Office isn't among the apps that will run natively on Intel-based Macs — and it won't be until the latter half of 2007, according to media reports. But when it does ship, Office will apparently be missing a feature so vital to cross-platform compatibility that I believe it will be the beginning of the end for the Mac version of the productivity suite...'"

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374 comments

Not surprisingly... (0)

astonishedelf (845821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184432)

Given the ease of switching from one OS to another on intel mac, it seems inevitable that the Mac version of Office is doomed. Think Apple knew this and has been preparing for it. iWorks Pro anyone?

Re:Not surprisingly... (0, Flamebait)

MouseR (3264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184916)

Apple couldn't begin even approaching the level of functionality of Office. The current iWork package is a rip-off.

Pages is a home layout package. It will never stack up to big canons Adobe Creative Suite or QuarkXPress. It's not a professional tool.
Keynote is actually good, but presentations alone aren't enough to hold a business together.

If anything, Apple would need to pick up the work on NeoOffice, the "less bad" OpenOffice derivative as far as UI is concerned, and do a lot of work on it to bring it on par with Office. That is, if it actually cared to make NeoOffice look and behave like Office Mac.

Now, that is not impossible.

But iWork being a competitor to Office, is.

Re:Not surprisingly... (3, Insightful)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185070)

No, it isn't. Pages might be designed more towards page layout than pure word processing, but it is easy to use and having nice looking documents doesn't bother anyone. No, it doesn't compete with Quark, but neither does Word.

What iWork needs is a spreadsheet application, and possibly a database program.

The MacWorld Expo is coming soon.

QUICK!!! (5, Interesting)

strredwolf (532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184444)

Someone get a port of OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] up and running natively on MacOS X!

Re:QUICK!!! (4, Insightful)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184490)

Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy. I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work. If we can get OpenOffice running natively and smoothly, and soon, we can give Office Mac users a real alternative that's not only free (which is something that Mac users aren't used to), but also high quality and works well enough to easily replace it.

Re:QUICK!!! (5, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184560)

Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy. I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work.

Conversely, I got modded down for linking to NeoOffice [neooffice.org] , which is... "based on the OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 code and includes all of the new OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 features".

It's very much a Mac program. Native fonts, copy-and-paste, printing, Aqua interface... Have a look. [planamesa.com]

Re:QUICK!!! (2, Insightful)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184746)

Indeed. Saw it after my post (poster's regret, and all) and thought it was a grand old idea. Now if the OOo team can just officially support that and make that the new version of OOo for Mac, instead of the ugly hack they have going right now, I'll have plenty of hope for the future.

What's wrong with X?! (2, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184764)

I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work.

I've always found it ridiculous how Mac users don't like running cross-platform applications under X. X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems, even if it's old and a little broken. If it's such a big deal, why doesn't Apple integrate Aqua and X better? And in terms of printing, Mac OS X uses CUPS, which is the same thing most people use on Linux.

Re:What's wrong with X?! (4, Insightful)

mccoma (64578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184886)

I've always found it ridiculous how Mac users don't like running cross-platform applications under X. X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems, even if it's old and a little broken.

seems you answered your own question.

Re:What's wrong with X?! (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184920)

X applications do not use the native widgets. For things like buttons, this just means they look wrong. For things like text boxes, it usually means that the shortcut keys for navigating are wrong. If this doesn't bother you, it's probably because you use a platform where these things don't have standard behaviours.

On top of that, the menu bar is in the wrong place. Most Macs these days are laptops, and a top-of-the-screen menu bar is much easier to hit with a trackpad than a window-attached one. It also wastes less screen real-estate, which is quite precious on a laptop.

Drag and drop don't work properly with X11 applications. Even if Apple did integrate XDND with native drag and drop, most X11 application developers don't really make use of it. I can drag a link from Safari into my terminal and have the URL appear. I can drag the icon from the title bar of a document window into an email, and have it become an attachment.

X11 applications don't have access to text services (unless they use GNUstep, and then they should just be linked against Cocoa, instead of run in X11). In a normal rich text box, I can select some text, hit a shortcut key, and have it typeset using LaTeX and inserted as a PDF (great for equations in presentations), or have it evaluated as a mathematical expression, or have the words counted, etc.

All the shortcut keys are wrong in X11 applications. Most X11 developers these days use control or alt, instead of meta, and so motor memory doesn't work for common operations.

Re:What's wrong with X?! (1)

Mike Savior (802573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185432)

There's nothing wrong with those things at all. They're just not part of the default OS X gui. Granted you made that point a bit in mentioning motor memory, but it's really just a different set of interface standards. Two consistencies are better than none, which I have seen. And no, I'm not talking about Windows, despite the opportunity for it to be brought up.

Re:What's wrong with X?! (4, Interesting)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185488)

If someone (Apple or anyone else) could come up with a window manager that followed the shared-menubar style UI of the Mac, it would be a big step in the right direction. X apps simply don't "fit" in a Mac environment. The feel is completely wrong, due to wrong UI element placement and appearance. Mac users (rightly) see X11 apps as a last resort. It's like running GNOME apps in a KDE session, or vice versa, but even worse. Different, not-entirely-compatible mechanisms of doing the same things are at work, and it's not seamless.

If there is a wm that supports Mac-style menubars, I'd love to know about it. Anyone?

Re:QUICK!!! (5, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184802)

Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy.

It just takes 3 people to mod someone up to 5... If you think about it, that's why there are so many lame 5 point posts.

Re:QUICK!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184550)

How, exactly, will running OpenOffice allow a better level of compatibility with Visual Basic powered files created in Microsoft Word? If Office is going away, I'd rather run whatever Apple comes up with for iWork than any cross-platform (ie, doesn't take advantage of OSX features) open source thrown together amalgam.

Endnote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17185260)

Does anyone know if Endnote integration is done through VBA? If so it will really cripple academic computing as well as enterprise. I mean we can keep using ppc word, but it would be nice...

Visual Basic is pass .... (-1, Offtopic)

ravee (201020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184450)

Agreed, visual basic is a easy to use language with drag and drop widgets and all but when compared to a language such as Delphi - (Borland's now Inprise's Object Pascal language), it reveals a lot of chinks in its armour. More over, there is no dearth in scripting language that Mac users should miss this particular feature in their MS Office.

Re:Visual Basic is pass .... (3, Insightful)

ctid (449118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184474)

The problem is for companies which run MS Office on Windows and want to switch. It doesn't matter that there are lots of good scripting languages on the Mac if your company already uses a lot of VBA scripts on Windows.

Re:Visual Basic is pass .... (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184950)

If this becomes the case, hopefully WINE style emulation will start becoming popular in those kind corporate environments. It would be atrocious to get Windows licenses for all of those Intel Macs... Everybody else can use Neooffice / MS Office Mac.

Re:Visual Basic is pass .... (4, Insightful)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184520)

I think the problem is that some users have code that depends on VBA, and they want it for compatibility reasons. Cedega is (somewhat) popular, not because DirectX is superior to Linux alternatives, but because many computer games depend on it.

Re:Visual Basic is pass .... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184768)

I would think the real problem is that VBA on Office is an excellent vector for hackers. Perhaps removing it from all versions of Office would be a good thing. It would probably help businesses out in the long run as spreadsheet macros are horribly inefficient means for executing business logic. Add to that the auditing issues surrounding laws like Sarbanes Oxley, and macros become unusable anyways.

Typical Microsoft Tactics at work (1)

iendedi (687301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184814)

This is all pretty typical, actually... I'm sure that what is going through the minds of Ballmer and the marketingdroids in Redmond is that Apple is becoming a threat and they have a weapon. The shift of Apple computers to intel processors may be seen at Microsoft as an opportunity; Try to convince Apple users to run Windows. How? Make sure office now SUCKS on "OS X", then the Apple user will be forced to dual-boot or virtualize a copy of Windows to run Office.

Personally, I could care less. Office hasn't changed in 10 years, with the exception of things like clippy and file formats, and the old stuff runs fine under Rosetta.

If you get an emailed word document that is saved in some new file format designed to make you upgrade, just send the mail back and ask the sender to save in the correct format. Don't let the upgrade virus take control.

Re:Typical Microsoft Tactics at work (4, Insightful)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185344)

and the old stuff runs fine under Rosetta.

Powerpoint barely runs at all under Rosetta.

Excel takes six or seven bounces to launch. Not acceptable on up-to-the-minute hardware.

Word eats 7%-10% cpu sitting idle. Doesn't help the battery life when you're writing on the road.

NeoOffice, while a great tool to have around, is so poorly optimized that it's barely faster native than MS Office is under Rosetta (sometimes slower).

Back to the topic... this move by MS is part of a continued effort to prevent Macs from making any inroads into the corporate space, which is MS's most lucrative market. After the next release of Mac Office, the consumers/educational types/etc. will be thrilled -- it will probably look gorgeous, run fast, etc. But business users, most of whom have brain-dead VBA cruft to deal with, will have no choice but to run Windows Office somehow... which involves a license of Windows, at least until CodeWeavers is able to make Office versions newer than 2000 run under Crossover Mac.

DirectX (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185112)

Cedega is (somewhat) popular, not because DirectX is superior to Linux alternatives, but because many computer games depend on it.

Linux has an "alternative" to DirectX? DirectX generally kicks the pants off of OpenGL performance-wise, and graphics accelerators aren't built with anything else in mind.

Re:DirectX (1)

Mark Maughan (763986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185402)

Linux has an "alternative" to DirectX? DirectX generally kicks the pants off of OpenGL performance-wise, and graphics accelerators aren't built with anything else in mind.

Yes, because the PS2/PS3, GameCube/Wii, Doom/Quake are all very slow and would have been better with DirectX.

OpenOffice anyone? (2, Interesting)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184452)

This coming right on the heels of the news that OpenOffice will be getting VBA support soon, how convenient!

DOJ should've split M$ apart after conviction ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184480)

Interesting decision to be making Word less compatible now as Mac market share grows ... not that VBA is something I particularly want to see proliferate.

Re:DOJ should've split M$ apart after conviction . (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185032)

Does anyone still think that the appeals court was right in reversing Judge Jackson's decision? Did anyone expect that Microsoft would behave any differently? I would hope the oversight committee is paying attention, but they're probably they're too busy enjoying a new Ferrari or two. Seriously, it's been said for years that had there been no Apple, Microsoft would have found it necessary to invent one ... but that assumed Apple's market share stayed insignificant. If Apple starts to erode Microsoft's customer base in any substantial way, Microsoft will take steps. This is probably just the first salvo.

But yeah, VBA is something the world should be able to live without.

Too bad for the Mac users. (1)

KinkoBlast (922676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184482)

Many of them (And many pc users) have put in tons of work making scripts work just right, to do things that they couldn't easily do otherwise. This is the only way those platforms are really programmable by end users (Although with Microsoft's Visual Studio Express and Apple's xCode, this may be ending... if the skills get pushed out somehow.) ... Someone want to try to get a really good importer for VBA working on OpenOffice.org, and a native Mac UI?

Re:Too bad for the Mac users. (3, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184850)

I think you have underestimated how much of a productivity boon Automator can be. It is not really tied in with any office-type apps, but it is an alternative to xcode for end users.

MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184492)

Can't help but wonder if this is part of an attempt to get Mac users to resign themselves to installing Windows on a virtual machine in their computer so that they can run a less hobbled version of MS Office.

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (2, Interesting)

BlenderFX (954511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184582)

This is definitely good for Vista sales in the long term because of the new Vista EULA terms regarding running Vista in a virtual machine.

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (0)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184592)

Ah, but the Vista license clearly prevents you from legitimately installing on a virtual machine. So Mac users are getting it at both ends - go buy a copy of Windows to run Office 2007 on, and then go buy a PC when the stores refuse to sell anything other than Vista and Vista doesn't like being put in Parallels or Boot Camp.

Of course, this is attributing conspiracy where simple apathy will suffice ("Why should we bend over backwards to make VBA work for Mac users?"), but the effect is nonetheless there.

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184674)

Boot Camp isn't a virtual machine, it's a dual-boot setup. Why wouldn't Vista run on it?

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (2, Informative)

GalionTheElf (515869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184714)

Actually the situation regarding vista and vm's is rather different than you put it. It is only one of the cheapest versions which has an EULA clause (i.e. it'll work but be "illegal") preventing you from running it as a VM.

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (2, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185204)

When do home users ever read or pay attention to EULAs? And businesses won't run the home edition, so they'll be able to run it in a VM just fine...

-Z

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185062)

the Vista license clearly prevents you from legitimately installing on a virtual machine.
No it doesn't. The Vista Home(s) EULA's do, but there are other editions then just Home.

Re:MS trying to sell more copies of Windows? (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184656)

Hey there! We've got Apple Script. Who needs inferior wannabes???

Virus anyone (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184500)

Well, here goes the platform where all of the "real" Mac OS X viruses are born. Now only remains concepts and supposedly fud viruses.

Re:Virus anyone (1, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184600)

The V in VBA is for virus, or so I always thought. I'm glad to hear it go. MOST users don't use it. it shoul dbe off by default. it's a macro virus waiting to happen just like Active scripts in IE were.

Re:Virus anyone (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185314)

Why is parent post modded troll? It is a statement of fact, and on-topic. High-security organizations have been know to forbid the use of ActiveX and VBA scripting and for very good reasons.

Losing VBA is a feature for most of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184526)

Nobody will notice that VBA scripting is missing except the virus writers, and those guys don't use Macs anyway.

Re:Losing VBA is a feature for most of us (2, Insightful)

mccoma (64578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184910)

Excel users will notice, oh Lord will they notice

bah! (0)

thesupermikey (220055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184532)

that sucks - i dont know if anyone else has had to put together a very larger power point on a mac book pro, but it is freaking slow. When the file hits 70megs it starts to hit a crawl.

its a pain in my ass

Re:bah! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184564)

Use openoffice and export to PDF, stick it on a usb drive. That way if the pres is large it will still render, and more importantly, if your laptop doesn't work with the setup another may and your pdf will render there...

I r smrt.

Re:bah! (4, Funny)

Meatloaf Surprise (1017210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184718)

that sucks - i dont know if anyone else has had to put together a very larger power point on a mac book pro, but it is freaking slow. When the file hits 70megs it starts to hit a crawl. its a pain in my ass

I don't know what's worse: being the one making a 70MB+ powerpoint presentation or the one forced to sit through it!

Re:bah! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184888)

fork over the $80 and use keynote. it is vastly superior to powerpoint, both in terms of ease of creation and in final output quality.

Meanwhile... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184536)

Office will apparently be missing a feature so vital to cross-platform compatibility that I believe it will be the beginning of the end for the Mac version of the productivity suite...

And in other news, Open Office is getting that same feature, for which contribution Novell is being roundly denounced for conspiring with Microsoft to bring about the end of open-source software.

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184866)

This is just dumb of Microsoft. If OpenOffice is introducing VBA, why would they drop it? Microsoft Office is a cash cow on any platform, it just makes sense to support it fully.

Re:Meanwhile... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184960)

There you go again you fucking retard. Posting to Slashdot where no one wants to hear what dumb fucking shit you have to say.

STFU Otter. Now.

Let's Be Honest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184542)

Before I get flamed by all the Mac fanboys. I just want to say that keeping the small portion of Mac business users happy isn't a priority for Microsoft. Maintaining legacy support it very difficult from version to version, and this is such a low priority I can't see anything being done in the future. Office for Mac won't stop anytime soon however, despite what this article says, because 90+ percent of Mac users won't even notice a difference.

Re:Let's Be Honest (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184660)

Yep, and with the support of the OOo folks, I hope that Windows users soon will be in a place where they don't notice the difference either... Seriously, does MS have any feet left to shoot?

Well, what do you expect from a change in CPU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184562)

Obviously, it will be SOOO much more difficult for Microsoft to port VBA, now that Apple is running an Intel architecture instead of PPC!

So half-assed Exchange support wasn't enough? (5, Insightful)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184580)

Entourage is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to an Exchange server. As an Exchange client, it sucks.

I have clients who still run Classic exclusively so they can use Outlook 2001. The Exchange support in Entourage has been so shameful for so long (they've taken YEARS and still haven't achieved feature parity with Outlook 2001) that I really have a hard time believing it's not a deliberate move to thwart Mac use in the enterprise.

The same goes for this move. Microsoft makes a TON of money selling Mac Office, and with the Mac market growing and Microsoft standing to see a Mac Office sales increase as a result, it's not like they can't afford the development costs.

These actions only make sense from an anticompetitive standpoint. There's no other logical explanation.

~Philly

Re:So half-assed Exchange support wasn't enough? (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184778)

Entourage is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to an Exchange server. As an Exchange client, it sucks.

Exchange is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to a non-Exchange server. As a non-Exchange server, it sucks.

Really, it wasn't made with interoperability in mind. It was designed to woo over the Novell Groupware crowd, and then lock the users in to one system. Unfortunately, it's succeeded far to well, something even Microsoft admits. They've been trying to open it up just a bit more, but as soon as one arm of the company manages to get it to work with an open product (like WebDAV or mbox spools), another arm of the company implements another incompatible and ill-documented lockdown feature (like Sharepoint integration).

It's a shame that Novell decided to quench the pipe for the open-source Hula, which could have filled a pretty big part of the whole left by yanking out Exchange. But I guess that when you choose new sleeping partners, you also have to change the bedding accordingly.

Re:So half-assed Exchange support wasn't enough? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184818)

What does your comment have to do with the Mac version of Microsoft Office? Just wondering.

Re:So half-assed Exchange support wasn't enough? (1)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185404)

What does your comment have to do with the Mac version of Microsoft Office? Just wondering.


Entourage is the Outlook-equivalent (except it's not) bundled with Mac Office.

di3k (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184610)

Have left in and easy - only [amazingkreskin.com] expul[sion of IPF

Must be a slow news day at Slashdot... (5, Informative)

lgw4 (2274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184628)

This is old news -- it showed up on a MS developer blog a couple of months back.

The interesting part is that VBA is not fully supported on the 64-bit Office for Windows, and is in fact depricated, which traditionally means that no further imporovements will be made and further use is discouraged.

Don't believe me? Go search Microsoft's Office site.

Re:Must be a slow news day at Slashdot... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184710)

So assuming MS indeed drops VB, what are they going to use for their macros now ? OOo Basic ? Perl ? Ruby ?
Does anyone follow this kind of thing ?

Re:Must be a slow news day at Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184750)

So assuming MS indeed drops VB, what are they going to use for their macros now ?

I'd wager C++ or C#. Or, more likely, just any "dot-net" language. It's currently a pain to write C# code to automate Office, but if Office became "native .NET", there wouldn't be that problem.

A blessing or a curse? (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184640)

VBA is a curse from Microsoft causing all sorts of trojan risks, until it's dropped. Then it's a serious problem. Figures.

YUO FAIl IT? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17184658)

have left in The c:urtains flew

Very old news, but typical Microsoft (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184666)

First of all, this news is over fives months old, and has been widely covered and known about since then. MacBU's Erik Schwiebert has a very detailed post [schwieb.com] and followup [schwieb.com] (also mentioned in the article) about exactly why Microsoft is dropping Visual Basic in Mac Office. The bottom line is that it was a difficult decision, and anyone who reads the posts will be able to understand why the decision was made.

The people at Microsoft who work within MacBU really do care, and really do take pride in their work. But overall, Microsoft seems to be making moves - decisions not made within MacBU, or decisions forced on MacBU because of resource allocations - that are strategically designed to hurt the Macintosh platform, but not appear to be doing anything overtly.

Examples:

- Killing Mac IE the day Safari was introduced even though Mac IE 6 was well underway and had been in development for over a year and was about to hit beta.

- Never releasing Access, Project, or Visio for the Mac platform even though enterprises (particularly academic institutions) have been increasingly demanding it for years. Microsoft's response? "Our customers don't want these products."

- Killing Windows Media Player for Mac, and making it look like going with the Flip4Mac QuickTime Windows Media codec is doing Mac users a favor, when Flip4Mac will never support Windows Media DRM, which Microsoft views as key to their future Windows Media strategy, leaving Macs unsupported (whether DRM is a good or bad thing is irrelevant to this point).

- Killing Virtual PC for the Mac when the Intel transition was announced after initially committing to support it, even though Microsoft was probably in one of the best positions to quickly release a virtual machine version of Virtual PC (can you imagine Connectix killing Virtual PC after the Intel transition was announced? They'd be jumping for joy!), and then subsequently making Virtual PC free (on Windows).

- Killing Visual Basic in Mac Office, which will make it DOA in many enterprise/corporate environments whose documents depend on VB scripting.

I could go on and on. These are all expert strategic moves, not by MacBU but by Microsoft at large, designed to hurt the Macintosh platform as much as possible while still appearing to be "friendly" to the platform (by continuing to release Office).

Fortunately, with Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, and the forthcoming VMWare Fusion, new Mac users are feeling increasingly comfortable with Mac purchases, because they know that they can run Windows if they really need to, but often find they don't need it as much as they thought they did. For many, it's a security blanket to get them over the hump, and for others it does enable them to run those Windows (or other x86 OS) applications they need or want to smoothly and efficiently. In many academic/research enterprise environments, many people can't see a reason to get anything OTHER than Mac hardware now (especially for laptops), as it can essentially run anything. And in an environment where an institutions own IT capability will "support" things like Boot Camp usage, it's not a difficult decision to make.

Microsoft's maneuvering will ultimately be futile. Windows "won" the "desktop war" long ago. But now, as with Firefox, people are realizing that there are real, viable alternatives that might actually be better than the status quo.

Can Microsoft even *do* this? (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184736)

Maybe nobody remembers, but back when Steve Jobs first announced the Intel switch, he also announced a 5-year agreement with Microsoft where MS committed to continuing to release Office for the Mac. Surely Apple's lawyers weren't stupid enough to let MS kneecap the product (which is exactly what it's done) and get away with it, right?

Not to mention that those "expert strategic moves" you mention are also "illegal anticompetitive moves" when carried out by a monopoly convicted of abusing its position, such as Microsoft.

Re:Can Microsoft even *do* this? (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185270)

Maybe nobody remembers, but back when Steve Jobs first announced the Intel switch, he also announced a 5-year agreement with Microsoft where MS committed to continuing to release Office for the Mac. Surely Apple's lawyers weren't stupid enough to let MS kneecap the product (which is exactly what it's done) and get away with it, right?
Do you remember the MacWorld when Apple and Microsoft announced a new level of partnership, and that the Mactopia site would become the center for all of Microsoft's promised new offerings on the platform? Do you remember what really happened?

Nothing. Microsoft actually began to reduce their support for the Mac. Same thing with the next big announcement of a Microsoft commitment to the Mac at the time of the Intel switch.

Re:Can Microsoft even *do* this? (1)

tshak (173364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185508)

Not to mention that those "expert strategic moves" you mention are also "illegal anticompetitive moves"...

Really? Are you a paralegal with an indepth understanding of the law? I would be surprised if any of this is illegal let alone unethical. Most of these moves make perfect sense:

IE: Safari is free. IE can't make money on the Mac platform. Why would MS keep putting money into something that they can't make money on?

Virtual PC: Again, MS can't make money with this. Parellels and VMWare kick Virtual PC in the ass and they decided to focus on improving their Windows version. Who would buy Virtual PC 2007 for Mac if it was released next year?

Never releasing Access, Project, or Visio for the Mac: So now it's anticompetitive to not spend millions of dollars making every piece of software cross platform?

Killing Windows Media Player for Mac: This is the closest thing you have to unethical. I would be surprised if it's illegal, and if it was than the law is too far reaching. The only reason this is a problem is that it locks the proprietary DRM to Windows. There should be a solution to this (e.g. opening up the DRM format for 3rd party players, easier said than done for obvious security reasons).

Killing Visual Basic in Mac Office: Funny how Visual Basic is the crappiest thing ever until MSFT removes support for it. I'll be rational and accept the fact that many businesses use it so this does have a real impact. Not sure how I feel about this yet. In the Windows world MS favors .NET as opposed to Visual Basic for Office automation. I know that they're porting a subset of .NET to Linux and OS X for WPF/e support, I think they should use the same subset for Office scripting so that people can port their VBA to VB.NET. But make no mistake, this is not anticompetitive. If anything it's pro competition because it gives their customers a reason to look at alternatives like OO where they had no reason before.

Re:Very old news, but typical Microsoft (4, Insightful)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184996)

Fortunately, with Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, and the forthcoming VMWare Fusion, new Mac users are feeling increasingly comfortable with Mac purchases, because they know that they can run Windows if they really need to, but often find they don't need it as much as they thought they did.

Yep, Windows is the new Classic.

After a week, you'll figure out a way not to need it.

Re:Very old news, but typical Microsoft (3, Insightful)

ichief (1038054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185072)

And this is why I believe one of the biggest mistakes the U.S. Justice Department made when handling Microsoft's antitrust case was deciding to leave the company intact, rather than splitting the company into 3 (OS, Office, Entertainment). Now, instead of seeing independent and smart business decisions being made in their productivity and entertainment suites to help them grow, they will continue to be boil down to one final parameter: Does it help the Windows unit hold onto its grasp on the PC market? And worst of all, the consumers suffer by not being able to play their Windows Media DRM'd music in other operating systems to continuing to reap innovations in the Office suite.

I believe Palm made a smart move splitting the hardware and software components; now, instead of allowing the Palm devices to fall behind due to unparalleled support of the operating system, they can adapt to market demands. Apple also made one of the smartest move in the company's history by opening up the iPod and iTunes to both Windows and Mac computers. Come on Microsoft, grow up.

Re:Very old news, but typical Microsoft (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185458)

Microsoft was smart to drop Virtual PC, it is is irrelevant. There was Boot Camp and Parallels. Parallels now has what they call "coherence" so that Windows apps can be along side Mac apps, much like Virtual PC did. I would expect that the parts that Parallels doesn't do yet will come soon enough. There are other options, such as Crossover and there's vmware coming onto the scene, so I expect theret to be enough competition.

According to the Flip4Mac people, Microsoft had a stated policy of never supporting or licencing their DRM on non-Microsoft platforms, meaning Linux and Mac OS are out anyway.

Re:Very old news, but typical Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17185476)

I agree with you. Any scripting done in the future on the new Office Mac version will end up being superior to anything that can be done with VBA. That's because the scripting choices on OS X and Linux are superior.

VBA is also a virus magnet.

Finally, Boot Camp and Parallel Desktops offer the Windoze option on Mac hardware.

Choice? Intel cpu's in Macintosh computers give everyone lots of choice.

Even Unix and Linux geeks.

Not a big deal at all... (3, Interesting)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184712)

Honestly, if they left VBA in we'd be questioning M$ for persisting to include a platform that has been notoriously insecure.

Considering that Office 2007 is including InfoPath and Groove as alternatives to distributing forms one has to believe that M$ first move away from VBA is not their last. Frankly having done many Office automation projects over the years I can say that VBA is quite a programming limitation, difficult to scale and prone to memory leaks.

As for alternatives, I have yet to find a management-type who wouldn't leap at the offer of replacing a stodgy, circa-1995 automated Word document with some sort of web-based application instead. For that matter, you can be outside of the M$ camp entirely by rolling out the replacements in PHP, JSP, Struts or FlashMX.

emulation (2, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184720)

I wonder if this is an economy push ay MS. Any reasonable size firm already has a site license to MS Windows and MS Office. Parallels is no great expense. In the end it is probably better for MS to get money for and OS and MS Office rather than just the later.

This is also part of a trend to limit solutions available on the Mac platform. Over the past 10 years, the products that MS sells for the mac has shrunk. In particular, they buy cross platform products and kill them on the Mac Platform. Virtual PC and Foxpro are two examples. Connectix would have create a version for the Intel Mac. I believe the only reason we have MS Office for the Mac is because MS Office is a mac product, and was only ported to MS Windows.

It is becoming more clear that the casual user should use OO.org

iWork '07 (5, Interesting)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184756)

So apparently Apple has every reason to make iWork '07 a "no holds barred" release. I expect to see a powerful spreadsheet app and probably some nifty database or drawing thing to make Access or Visio, respectively, look clunky. Given how well Apple handled the transition from IE to Safari, they certainly have a good contingency plan for the gutting/cancelation of Office.

Explanations from MacBU devs (5, Informative)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184794)

I think this sucks.
Note that this was reported months ago, August 7, 2006, to be exact.
Microsoft kills VirtualPC, VB for Mac [macnn.com]

Here's the arstechnica.com forum discussion about it (started on August 7, 2006), with lots of pissed off users:
MS Killing VB in Next Version of Office for Mac [arstechnica.com]

Here are two blogs (Aug 8 and 9) by MacBU devs Erik Schwiebert and Rick Schaut, trying to explain this decision.
Erik Schwiebert - Saying goodbye to Visual Basic [schwieb.com]
Rick Schaut - Virtual PC and Visual Basic [msdn.com]

iWork and Office (1)

theceilingscollapse (982226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184796)

If the specs are going to be 'published' wouldn't it make sense for Apple to brush up on their import/export features in iWork? I don't believe that these things come as a shock to a firm as paranoid as Apple sometimes seem to be, and it seems like MS are on a death ride to nowhere anyway. Killing MacOffice makes no business sense, but Microsoft are organisationally knackered, and Apple can't really be portrayed as the fall guys any more.

Converter? (2, Interesting)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184822)

Can you do the same things with AppleScript as VBA? Isn't VBA more integrated? Would a become a millionaire if I made a convenient program that ports the code in non-obtrusive fashion? Is it really necessary that I have to phrase everything as a question?

Re:Converter? (1)

mccoma (64578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184936)

Well, if you could write a program to port VBA to AppleScript or Automator you would probably have a lot of sales.

What do Mac users think of ODF? (3, Informative)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185060)

I use windows and debian linux myself. I am sick to death of msft's bullsh!t, and I have switched entirely to ODF.

As you may know, there is an ms-office plugin for ODF, but there is not a way to read ms-office-2007 file formats on Mac. And there will not be a way until, at least, late march.

Just wondering what you guys think.

Re:What do Mac users think of ODF? (1)

zhrike (448699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185188)

I switched to OO a couple of years ago, and now use it exclusively on my mac (in the form of neo office, though I do have X and OO),
my linux workstation, and windows. I have had no problems with document conversion in all that time. I simply refuse to be a part
of the MS machine when it comes to office. I've moved my wife to it as well, on windows, and she never has problems.

It works. That's all I ask. Oh yeah, free is nice, too.

I see two products making money in my Xtal ball (3, Funny)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185064)

One is to translate VBA in Office to Applescript and the second one is to translate Applescript to VBA.

Damn, I don't know either of them and I am so busy reading /. that I don't have time to learn, otherwise, I am going to be rich.

Re:I see two products making money in my Xtal ball (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185292)

Xtal? It's not Chrystal ball, and that's what the X is, the greek letter chi which becomes ch in Roman letters.

MS Flexes! (0, Redundant)

adaminnj (712407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185078)

MS flexes it's all powerfull VBA code by holding out on Mac, I guess they don't like the commercial about running office.

Call to arms!
let's change the standard to something Open and not controlled by one company. (Evil or Not)

A great argument to go web based (3, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185122)

Just tell your CIO "Hey we can reimplement this as a web based form application that will do the same thing but in a centralized and easily maintained location that all employees regardless of OS can utilize... AND we can generate stats, reports from those stats AND ensure that all employees are using the latest most up to date calculations."

Problem solved. Long live the Intranet.

Who uses VBA anyway (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185368)

Seriously, I haven't seen many VBA scripts in Word or Excel documents. They might have existed a few years ago, but now we have MySQL, PostgreSQL for free or Sybase, Oracle and a slew of other databases that can contain more data better and for automation we have PHP, Java, Python and Ruby. I have seen once or twice a VBA script in an Excel document and the fact that it was utterly bad scripting made me aware that you don't let bookkeepers create scripts but you should have real programmers take care of that.

Oh, no! Word Macro viruses won't run! (4, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185398)

This is terrible!

The only time I use VBA automation is when a PC user sends me a Word attachment with a macro virus and I open it.

We must have cross-platform virus compatibility! If we don't have Word macro viruses, what will be left for antivirus programs to protect Mac users from? The Mac antivirus market will collapse!

A Good Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17185420)

Documents containing VBA sent to Mac users have always caused problems. It seems the VBA found in the Mac version of Office is not totally compatible with Office 2000, 2002 & 2003. Now we can just say "Mac Office doesn't support VBA at all".

Microsoft Collapsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17185482)

Just to put the entire Microsoft collapsing thing into a context that includes reality:

- Microsoft is making over a billion dollars in cash profit each month (not revenue - profit). This number increases every month.
- Microsoft's year over year revenue increased 15% in the last year reported
- Microsoft has achieved saturation in the desktop market, and their server revenue and share has been increasing every quarter.
- Microsoft is now owns the PDA market and is fast taking over the Smartphone market and is making signifant inroads in the embedded markets
- Microsoft's combined web properties have the highest number of visitors (over twice the nearest competitor Yahoo)
- Microsoft has the #1 best selling next generation game console

In short, Microsoft knows how to execute a long term business plan. They aren't going to collapse under the weight of wishes of a lawyer.

Replacment Addin (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185516)

Would it not be like the community to band together and create a open source addon/plugin to reproduce the functionality of the VBA scripting. How hard would it be to simply reverse engineer the parser from 2004 as a stopgap measure. Then all we need to do is either rise up and call for an addon or to write it ourselves. It saddens me to see such a thing. I think it would be poetic justice if we made an open source VBA clone and it helped bring more people into linux and mac. Apple could contribute some help and then OpenOffice could port it into its self and make it a better competitor. We will have to see how this plays out.

Who cares if 2007 isn't native... (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185526)

I dunno what the fuss is about MS Office 2007 not running natively on the Intel Macbooks. 2004 doesn't run natively on my Macbook and I've never encountered any problems (I only noticed this a few weeks ago). Apple's PPC emulation is pretty damn rock solid. Well maybe it will if MS goes and does weird shit with 2007 that ends up ramping up the system requirements (perish the thought with MS).
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