Office Macintosh Edition: A History of “Mac-First” Technology

REDMOND, Wash., April 22, 1999 — Since 1984, when Apple first introduced the Macintosh, Microsoft has been committed to delivering useful, innovative software for the platform. Today, technologies in Office 98, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express 4.5, such as “self-repairing applications” and Drag and Drop installation, have become signature features of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit and continue Microsoft’s commitment to delivering custom-built technology for the Mac.

Office 98, which debuted a year ago, now continues to meet customers’ needs with the availability of a “Mac-first” add-in that extends the functionality of the award-winning productivity suite. This add-in will make it easy for customers to use familiar tools in Office 98 with data stored in FileMaker Pro for Macintosh. The tool makes it easy to combine the power of FileMaker Pro with the analysis and communication features of Office 98. The free Importer is available for immediate download at Microsoft’s MacTopia Web site

The Evolution of Office 98:

Microsoft credits the positive reception Office 98 has received to feedback from Macintosh customers. The suite was built from the ground up for Mac users, whose input and suggestions were integral to the design process. Extensive Mac-specific user surveys and usability testing has made Office 98 a perfect companion to the Macintosh, fulfilling users’ needs and continuing Microsoft’s history of introducing Mac-first technology.

An ongoing objective for the Microsoft Office suite is to make it easier for people to get their work done by designing and building the best desktop applications in the world. To this end, Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit has continually worked to understand, through extensive research, the needs and changing work environments of individual users and organizations. The design goals for Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition incorporates insights and technologies derived from these efforts.

Microsoft knew that it was building from a solid base when development of Office 98 began. Microsoft also knew that to be successful, Office 98 had to be a great application for the Macintosh. The research identified priorities, and Microsoft has delivered significant product enhancements in the following three areas:

  • Creating a great application for the Macintosh.

  • Making Office easier to use and discover.

  • Integrating great communication and collaboration capabilities inside Office.

Microsoft will continue to identify and develop new ways to make Office a better product for customers. That’s why the Office 98 team conducted more research than ever before, used innovative new research techniques, segmented the Mac user base and focused on each type of customer. Many customers commented that Office 4.2 wasn’t enough like the Macintosh, and it was important for Microsoft to understand exactly what they meant. A survey was posted on the Web to find out how Macintosh users define “like the Macintosh” so that Microsoft could improve in these specific areas. Evaluating this research and other feedback from organizational customers made it clear that a top priority in developing Office 98 must be to create a great application for the Macintosh, as defined by Microsoft customers. Benefits for Office 98 users include applications that are better integrated, easier to install and manage, and have an appearance and behavior similar to the Mac, as well as improved support for Apple technologies.

This philosophy is driving the development efforts behind the next version of Mac Office, which promises to continue the history of Mac-firsts and the heritage of ease-of-use.

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