M$ unveils Office for OS X

It's pricey

Microsoft will ship Office for Mac OS X in November for a decidedly steep $499.

Whatever the price, Apple will be pleased to see the new software. Its next-generation operating system isdue to be upgraded itself this month, to version 10.1, and will arguably be ready for prime time. It won't make it there unless users have sufficient reason to switch over and that means big-name apps like Office.

Office X will provide the usual, well-known Microsoft productivity tools - Word, Excel and PowerPoint - plus Entourage, which is essentially Outlook with scheduling functionality thrown in. Entourage was released last year with Office 2001. The new suite will also bundle MSN Messenger 2.1.

Users of that version will be able to upgrade for $149, but only if they do so before 11 January 2002 and buy direct from Microsoft. Upgrades from earlier versions will be made available for $299, says Microsoft, but anyone else will have to cough up the best part of five hundred bucks.

It will be interesting to see how many users do. Office X is designed solely for OS X, to the take-up of both upgrades and full packs will provide a good measure of interest in the new OS. The 'Office:mac' branding remains, appended with a simple 'v. X' to indicate its host OS. ®