Microsoft Office 2008 gets Mac-Windows collaboration capabilities

Very good move to bridge the MAC OS and Windows platforms …


January 6, 2009 (Computerworld) Microsoft Corp. today said it would launch new Macintosh software later this year that will let Office 2008 for Mac users collaborate with people running the Windows version of the application suite.

The company made the announcement at the Macworld Conference & Expo, where Apple Inc. delivered the keynote for the last time, without CEO Steve Jobs, a longtime fixture at the event.

Document Collaboration Companion will be released to a small number of beta testers next month, said a Microsoft spokeswoman in an e-mail today. However, Microsoft would not commit to a definitive final release timetable, saying only that it would deliver the software "later this year."

The spokeswoman said that the program will make it easier for users to download and upload documents to enterprise servers running SharePoint, Microsoft’s browser-based collaboration platform, or to Office Live Workspace, the free online service that offers similar functionality. Document Collaboration Companion also will provide Mac-based tools to let Office users check shared documents in and out.

Microsoft touted the upcoming software and a planned makeover of Entourage — the e-mail client for Office 2008 for Mac — as its first moves toward providing some of the same kind of services to its Mac customers that those running Windows already enjoy.