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Mac Office 2011 allows only 'light edits' in Windows Web apps

Compatibility comes at a price

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Microsoft will release its Office for Mac 2011 next month, so it has unsurprisingly been prepping would-be customers for the big day by dishing up more details about what the suite will contain.

The company said yesterday that the software will come loaded with co-authoring tools, Office Web apps, a scheduling assistant for Outlook and Broadcast Slideshow, which is a feature already present in PowerPoint 2010.

With this 32-bit-only release Microsoft is simply extending its ambitions (already present in Office 2010) to out-Google Google Docs by offering co-authoring tools that allow multiple users to share Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in the cloud.

And like its older brother, Office for Mac 2011 will allow apps to be stored in SkyDrive for the consumer market and via SharePoint for Microsoft's biz customers.

Importantly, the software giant will also debut Web apps for Mac users that should be compatible with both Office 2010 on Windows and Office for Mac 2011.

But the extent to which Microsoft has granted Mactards the freedom to roam seamlessly between their Apple computer and a Windows-based machine (perish the thought) is disappointingly limited.

Redmond said that users would be able to view documents as well as make what it described as "light edits" within their web browsers.

Full software functionality only kicks in when they return to Office for Mac 2011, however.

Microsoft's latest flash of Office for Mac 2011 leg is here. ®

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