By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 12, 2014 06:52 AM EDT
Microsoft will reportedly release a new Office suite for Apple's Mac by the end of the year, finally updating the version that is currently available.
For now, Mac users have to settle for an older Office: Mac 2011, which doesn't really live up to the Windows version of Office. The software has indeed been updated since its initial release and can be now used as part of an Office 365 subscription, but it still lags quite far behind the Windows version when it comes to user interface and functionality.
A new Office for Mac seems long overdue, and according to Thorsten Hubschen, Microsoft's manager for Office products in Germany, the company will release a new package by the end of this year.
The executive explained to Computerwoche, as cited by MacRumors, how Microsoft incorporated its Mac business unit into its business software unit back in 2010, but it eventually shut it down altogether. Consequently, Microsoft never released the planned version of Office: Mac 2013.
Hubschen reportedly told Computerwoche that development teams are now assigned to each of the Office applications, with each of them developing versions of the product for different platforms. As MacRumors notes, the upcoming Office suite for MacOS may be accompanied by versions for tablets running iOS and Android. Microsoft indicated this much when it released an Android Software Development Kit (SDK) last week at its SharePoint Conference 2014, but hasn't specifically detailed its plans.
Microsoft recently closed its Office for Mac blog earlier this week, but Hubschen further revealed that the company should offer more news in the second quarter of this year. According to him, Microsoft is already testing the field behind closed doors, talking to large customers about the upcoming Mac package.
As expected, Microsoft's flagship user interface will continue to be Windows, and its products for other platforms will resemble it as much as possible. Nonetheless, the company will reportedly try to focus on the special capabilities of each platform as much as possible, Hubschen added, likely in a bid to maximize the user experienceon their preferred OS.
"The team is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac," a Microsoft representative confirmed to MacRumors in an email. "While I don't have details to share on timing, when it's available, Office 365 subscribers will automatically get the next Office for Mac at no additional cost."
In other words, a new Office for Mac is currently in development and should arrive sometime later this year, with official news expected in the second quarter. No additional details are available at this point, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we hear more.