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Microsoft closes door on 64-bit development for Office 2011

32-bit only love, I shouldn't Cocoa

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Microsoft will not be extending any 64-bit love to its upcoming Office 2011 suite for Apple Macs.

The company confirmed in a blog post yesterday that when the software ships it will come in a 32-bit only flavour.

Microsoft blamed the absence of a 64-bit version of Office 2011 on the fact that the vendor's developers hadn't fully shifted the suite's user interface to Apple's Cocoa technology.

The reason the software giant hasn't cobbled together a 64-bit Office 2011 is due to the fact that it has been trying to make Mac and Windows versions of the products play nice together in the next release, said Microsoft.

All of which has put paid to any development of a 64-bit version of the suite.

However, at the same time Microsoft hasn't exactly been pushing customers to gobble up a 64-bit version of Office 2010 - which gets its official release on 15 June.

"In Office 2011, we’ve made investments in better compatibility between Office for Mac and Windows Office, which is the largest request we receive from customers. We think we have some outstanding improvements to show you in this area, and we'll continue to share details in coming weeks," said Microsoft's Mac business unit product manager Jake Hoelter.

"Our work to increase compatibility means we haven’t completed the transition of moving the entire user interface over to Cocoa yet. And because Apple's frameworks require us to complete the move to Cocoa before we can build a 64-bit version, Office 2011 will be 32-bit only."

The vendor said the decision not to create a 64-bit version would only affect users "working with huge amounts of data".

Office 2011 for Mac will ship with co-authoring tools that allow users to share files on a Windows Live SkyDrive, a Microsoft SharePoint, or through the Office Web Apps.

Hoelter added that the his MacBU team planned to "go even further with Cocoa in the future", but he didn't reveal anymore about what that means customers can expect from Office 2011, or indeed other MS products developed for the Mac. ®

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