back to article Microsoft closes door on 64-bit development for Office 2011

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 …


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  1. Si 1

    "huge amounts of data"

    Is that "huge amounts of data" in a poorly structured Access database? I love coming across those.

    1. ThomH

      Nope, definitely not

      As there's still no Access for Mac.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Steve Jobs must love MS

    For they prove the importance of keeping third layers of off your environment. MS and Adobe are among the worst offenders when it comes to supporting new features. It's companies such as these that prove to Apple the need to maintain strong control over what developers can use. Frankly, I believe a Flash SDK for Android will prove to be its undoing.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I agree

    Yes, please fix all the damn formatting problems between PowerPoint on Mac and Windows. Word and Excel work pretty well, but PowerPoint makes me weep silent tears of pain and frustration.

  4. yossarianuk

    64 bit computing has been held back enough by MS!

    How different the computing industry would be if Microsoft hadn't been allowed to create its illegal monopoly in the mid 90's.

    I blame Microsoft 100% for holding back innovation within the industry and for not really supporting 64bit computing.

    If you want a 64bit desktop Linux is a far better option - for example if you want a 64bit version of Firefox there isn't a ready made binary for 64bit Windows (a 64bit Linux distro would always have it) - is there a 64bit version of Flash for windows yet ??? (the 64bit on linux works better than any other version I have tried).

    If only Commodore hadn't died when they did. In 1993 they were on the verge of releasing a 64bit Amiga to the world -

    It took the computing world at least 1/2 a decade for the PC to catch up remotely with the abilities on the Amiga.

    Without MS i've sure the computing world would be in a far better place now. (and we'd probably have world peace too..)

    1. Rob


      Yes the 64bit version of Flash is in development for windows strangely enough you can download the Linux 64bit Flash Beta though (I only say strange in that Linux got a 64bit version before windows did, but I'm guessing Linux was easier to code for than windows).

      1. Sooty

        why blame microsoft?

        XP x64 has been around since 2003ish, (64bit edition even earlier) and all the server operating systems have 64bit versions.

        Had a few, read any, development houses actually created some 64 bit software back then, it could have taken off years ago and we could have had both vista & 7 as 64bit only and the de-facto standard.

        A couple of games released 64bit patches, but not many, and they were never seamless, i think even valve abandoned their 64bit version of half-life 2, despite it being required to run some very nice mods.

      2. yossarianuk

        re : N.B.

        The reason that Adobe gave when they announced the 64bit Linux version in 2008 is

        "We're starting with Linux with our 64-bit support, because that's where we've heard the outcry the loudest,

        - Which surely backs up my previous post, if MS had supported 64bit (like most Linus distros have for 6-7 years) there would have been more requests - you could argue maybe Linux users just shout more but 64bit is seen as the standard now on desktop and server (in my office at work every single Linux desktop user is running 64bit)

        Bug report quality from Linux users was also mentioned... (It is always far easy to try to debug a problem on Linux....)

        Microsoft customers need to wake up from the Matrix - maybe they will still be running 32bit software in 2020 ...

      3. Jad

        Re: N.B.

        The real reason that 64bit Linux Flash exists is not because it's easier to code for Linux ...

        On the Adobe Forums there were a lot of questions open asking for 64 bit players, and Adobe said that this could always be a possibility ... providing the community supported and coded the ActionScript stuff for them in their Open Source (Mozilla licensed) project ... :)

        There were more individuals asking directly for 64 Bit Flash for Linux, but the real reason that Linux got it first is that they helped code it.


    2. Anonymous Coward


      I have no love for MS but if it was not for it computing world would be a lot different now. We would still be spending 5K on desktop machine and would have no Linux ( as no cheap hardware to drive it forward)it would be made by Apple and the internet would still be text based and cost a packet to use several hundred BBs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't die of ignorance

        What utter tosh.

        Before Intel killed Alpha (a 64bit multi-OS chip first released in the 1990s, around the same time as Windows 3.1), you could get Alpha chips from DEC and from Samsung (and Mitsubishi had a licence too).

        You could get Alpha motherboards from various (admittedly niche) outfits such as Microway. The prices weren't that different than commodity x86 motherboards, and at one time there was even an Alpha chip that had the same electrical inteface as one of the AMD ones (K7? I forget).

        NT ran on Alpha (and on others). Linux ran on Alpha (and on others).

        DEC thought they had a deal with MS for commitment to NT/Alpha, but DEC had (like many others) "misunderstood" and Bill killed NT/Alpha.

        There are plenty more writeups of what followed.

        Yossarianuk may believe we have microsoft to thank, but the reality is the only thanks they deserve are the ironic kind.

      2. yossarianuk

        RE : @yossarianuk # ↑

        Well why were computers cheaper, more stable and far more efficient before the MS monopoly?

        I remember when I first got my first Windows PC (in 1995), it was the most depressing day of my life.

        Even though the PC cost about 4 times the price of my Amiga 1200 Nothing worked (at all), everything crashed, you couldn't get the apps that existed for the Amiga at the time, if there were equivalents they cost over 20X the amount (and would crash your system at random) - also sound stuttered and was jittery all the goddamn time - that NEVER happened on the Amiga.

    3. Rune Moberg
      Gates Halo

      Blame MS

      IE is 64-bit.

      The biggest problem for IE is a lack of 64-bit flash. When visiting I have to fire up a 32-bit browser.

      How is that MS' fault? Did anyone at MS tell Adobe, Sun or Mozilla that they should stick with 32-bit? (I can only hope that the Sun Java VM is finally 64-bit on Windows as well -- hopefully they finally got around adding support for DEP thus no longer sabotaging browsers using it)

      1. yossarianuk

        re: Rune Moberg

        Its MS's fault as they never got behind 64bit in the 1st place

        Adobe said they did 64bit Flash for Linux 1st due to demand, there wasn't the demand for 64bit Windows as Microsoft didn't get behind it - and judging by this article are still not (in 2010)

        The linux disto's have for many years - therefore creating some demand.

        Linux has had a 64bit Java browser plugin for years also.

        I stand by my statement that if Commodore hadn't died 64bit computing would have been popular in the mid 90's.

  5. James Hughes 1

    Outstanding Improvements...???

    On two suites of software that should be compatible IN THE FIRST PLACE?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outstanding Improvements...???

      I understand that the two suites are written by different teams from different sets of code that forked several years ago, but it still surprises me that they can't use the same file reading/writing code. (Or at least take the Windows code and rewrite it for Mac.)

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Bruno Girin

    Microsoft not compatible with itself?

    Business as usual then...

  8. M 6


    Another MS basher/Linux fanboy! Welcome :)

    So you blame Microsoft 100% eh? You do know that the hardware wasn't around until 2003 to even support 64 bit desktops? I'm talking mainstream of course, no need to flame for the specialist hardware that was around.

    Firefox? You seem to have missed the 64bit version of Internet Explorer that is available. 64bit version of Flash? Do you really think you'll really notice any difference with that? Thought not.

  9. James O'Shea

    You know it's bad when

    Apple's Keynote renders PowerPoint 2007 files better than PowerPoint 2008 does. It's possible to generate a PPT or a PPTX file in PowerPoint 2008 which will not open in PowerPoint 2007... but will open in Keynote. And in PowerPoint 2003 and 2004, if you have the Mickeysoft translator for PPTX files installed. If you open the PPT that won't open in PP2007 up in Keynote or PP2003 or 2004 instead and then save it, _now_ it will open in PP2007.

    And, just so you know, the word processor which can handle the most file formats on a Mac is Word 2004 if you have the Mickeysoft translator for DOCX installed. It will handle everything Word 2007 will, and several that it won't.

    Perhaps you see why I keep a copy of Office 2004 on one Mac around here and a copy of Office 2003 on a WinBox... and why I have no current plans to move to 2010 and 2011.

  10. Penti


    Office for Mac is just a sad joke for complying with the deal they have with Apple. Apple should cancel it and stop selling it, as any business user must have Office under Windows/Virtual machine any way on a mac. It's less compatible with Office then Go-OO and other derivatives are. Fooling people that it's Office is just retarded.

    This just shows that they still hasn't the development resources to pull it off. Just let some third party do it like what happened with WMV support and flip4mac. Develop components that they can use to import documents properly or something instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Useless

      "This just shows that they still hasn't the development resources to pull it off. "

      Funny, I thought it showed once again that Microsoft software is crap.

      The only reason they're in the position they're in now is that for a while everyone's employers used to buy MS exclusively...

      Office 2004 isn't that bad for the Mac btw. Having said that, it does take a loooong time to load Word.

      1. Penti

        RE: RE: Useless

        Well if you want to migrate more advanced documents utilizing Macros then Go-OO and derivatives will be a better choice. Not making the product compatible with it self is just retarded and means any professional Mac users need to run the same Office as the ones he works against either in a Virtual Machine (this is allowed through volume licensing) or via a terminal server / TS / Remote desktop services / RDP session. It's really the only feasible way. Though the Microsoft RDP client was horrible, forced to run in rosetta and hasn't become much better in it's new iteration. Microsoft also looses money not having a product like Virtual PC with a Windows license included. No private person will buy the retail copy of Windows in order to run it in Fusion / Parallels. They will simply run a pirated copy.

        Running a Windows virtual machine volume licensed is acceptable in a corporate environment though. But they fail there too not allowing better usage of TS/RDS and let the users run the software on a centralized system instead. Making the environment awkward, they should be able to setup a single-sign on mac environment that works with RDP/RDS services.

  11. Antti Roppola

    64 bit office apps? Who needs them?

    There's not really a lot you need a 64 bit word processor for anyway. I cannot think of too many sane Office applications that would get major benefit from 64 bits. Anyone who wants to put more than 65,000 rows in their spreadhseet needs something else (and that something else is not software).

    64 bits in the underlying OS is worth having. All those pesky movie files and MP3 collections need huge filesystems and benefitt from big memory. x86_64 has pretty much removed the need to start from scratch and the move should be far less traumatic than the 16-32 bit move.

    @yossarianuk should go find what Dave Haynie had to say atthe time about the rising cost of chip fabs, you need deep pockets to do your own chipsets and the tide was surely against C=.

  12. Magnus_Pym

    Just to get this straight...

    ...the Windows 64bit version is late because the OSX 64bit version is late. The Office for Mac team is now taking the lead in office development?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      RE: Just to get this straight...

      More likely just more MS fud.

  13. Tom 7

    Its not that MS dont want to support 64 bit

    (and I'd say development is a strong word for anything MS do) its because they lack the technical expertise. Same goes for ARM - they have lost the ability to program at low OS level - or rather lost the ability to buy (???) it in from elsewhere.

    They seem to be limited to moving menu items around and taking away arbitrary restrictions from ini files

    And as for yosarian - 64 bit computing held back by MS? Bollocks - almost all computing has been help back by MS. Why, in the 21stC we are arguing over a shit computer implementation of 19thC technology? Its a bit like bolting the barn door after the horse popped out to alpha centauri in the matter transporter.

  14. OrsonX
    Thumb Down

    Mac Office so slow

    I hope the new version will be faster!

    Working with even the simplest documents in the current version of Mac Office causes my 2009 MBP to stutter and crawl as I do simple editing, it's painful! I have d/l Open Office as I'm so fed up of it (but not tried it yet). Worse, the UI is somewhere in between Win Office 2003 and the current hideousness that is Office 2007.

  15. JasonH

    The real story is not about 64-bit support.

    64-bit support is not relevant to the vast majority of users. For me, the big story here is the failure by Microsoft to fully transition to a Cocoa interface - after all this time and promises to address this fully, this is an appalling state of affairs.

    What's the big deal with Cocoa? Well, it helps provide the consistent Mac OS/X feel across all Cocoa applications, it massively improves memory management (speed, security and robustness benefits), as well as dynamic thread/module loading.

    So without Cocoa, expect the next version of Office to be large, monolithic and crash-prone applications, just like their predecessors. Office applications are typically the applications most likely to crash on a Mac (perhaps with the exception of Adobe's Flash) and have an obvious non-Mac feel to them in keyboard bindings, UI layout and overall behaviour.

    These were meant to be addresses as the main gains of a move to Cocoa for Mac Office users.

    With this demonstrated lack of commitment to this version of Office, I wonder what implications this has for what was meant to be the definitive version of Outlook (finally to replace the inconsistent and proprietary-yet-different-again bag of nails that Entourage has been).

    Sorry Microsoft, but - yet again - you've found a way to score a big FAIL.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Just a MS fail?

      Then please explain why Apple have failed to move two of their flagship products to Cocoa?

      Final Cut Pro - Still not Cocoa

      Itunes - Still not Cocoa

      I would have thought that a full office suite was far harder to code than Itunes, so what's Apples excuse?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Horns

        RE: Just a MS fail?

        Well, I've heard iTunes is pretty bad on Windows but it's really good on OSX and doesn't really need much improvement. Which is probably why it isn't Cocoa, it's not a priority to move it to Cocoa.

        Word on the other hand sucks on pretty much every platform. Here's Microsoft's chance to finally sort out all the problems with Word and Office and what do they do? Fumble it, move it to low priority and still make almost meaningless bloaty changes in nearly every release...

        MS really need to get a grip of themselves. I remember the days when some of their products deserved the sales they got because they were good. Now they get their sales from businesses upgrading. Their software is bloated, full of security holes and frankly no longer the best in it's field.

        <-- Evil Bill icon - even though he's no longer in charge?! WTF?!

      2. JasonH

        Apple's excuse?

        As the original article is all about Microsoft's backtracking on their many promises to deliver Cocoa in the next version of Office for Mac, I feel it is fair to refer to this lack of Cocoa within the forthcoming Office 2011 as a big Microsoft fail.

        Anon is also right in pointing out that others haven't implemented Cocoa at times, including Apple themselves. I believe there is unanimous support in labeling iTunes one of the worst Apple software products currently shipping - and its lack of Cocoa support is partly to blame for this. I cannot comment on Final Cut Pro as I have not used this.

        However, for many Mac users the main company in the doghouse for lack of Cocoa and UI guideline support would be Adobe, who even in CS5 is still trying to work around their filehandling and memory-hogging issues, e.g. redefining the beachball when opening large files rather than solving the underlying mono-threaded and memory-hogging methods they currently use.

        However, as I am forced to used MS Office on a daily basis for work, so I tend to find their lack of file format interoperatibility, lack of consistent UIs (even amongst their own products) and lack of reliability the most painful to deal with.

        Ho hum.

    2. Rob Moir

      Non-Cocoa = Crash?

      "So without Cocoa, expect the next version of Office to be large, monolithic and crash-prone applications, just like their predecessors."

      So non-Cocoa apps are automatically bad are they?

      Apps like iTunes, Final Cut Pro, etc are all still waiting to migrate to Cocoa.

      There's nothing magical about Cocoa, and the real "Fail" is in all you people who think that there is.

      Finder was converted to being a Cocoa App in Snow Leopard wasn't it?

      And you know what? Finder + Cocoa = Finder.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    64-bit Office Productivity Suite? Surely, you jest.

    If you need 4+ GB of RAM to effectively edit your MS Office files, then you're doing something wrong.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    "they get their sales from businesses upgrading"

    Ain't that the truth.

    Someone in a position of some authority re IT was round here talking about a Windows 7 rollout recently.

    He did not could not would not understand the difference between "we need Office" and "we need a package able to read and produce Office-compatible files".

    Ditto for PDF readers, ditto for anything else with a dominant vendor and a variety of newfangled competitors.

  18. Indian-Art
    Thumb Down

    Not Cross Platform

    I don’t think Office live works cross platform…

    “To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista. You can download Internet Explorer from the Internet Explorer page.

    Mozilla Firefox running on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. You can download Firefox from the Firefox download page.”

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