Hands On: Office 2008 for Mac ‘plays nice’ with Exchange Servers

We’ve been testing Office 2008 for Mac for a couple of months now and each of our users has gotten comfortable enough to complete the transition from using both a Mac and a PC, to just using either their iMacs or Macbooks exclusively.
The downside is that we don’t have any I.T. staff that are intimately familiar with the OS.

The Good, The Bad and the…well…so so:
The upside is that OS X now lives in a PC driven box.
And Entourage (Outlook for Mac) can now syncronize with Exchange 2003, with even more features opening with Exchange 2007.
Then there’s the servicing of a Mac; both good and bad – Apple Care covers almost any defect for a full three years; however, you have to wait for a prepaid shipping carton to arrive, pack up the whole unit and send it in for repair. (To Apple’s customer service’s credit, this process has rarely taken more than two to three days to complete)

Upgrading a Mac is still rather limited and costly compared to an OEM PC, with RAM being ridiculously priced (example: 1 x 2GB of 667MHz DDR2/PC@-5300 SODIMM is $200 from the Apple Store ).
Fortunately you can buy from third party sellers for a fraction of the cost and still get guaranteed compatibility (example: we purchased 2 x 2GB of the same SODIMM RAM from Crucial Memory for only $105.99.
For us, the pricier and less flexible Mac’s are still relegated to the arts…graphics and music departments are the only ones who can get them without much hassle; and we’ve only got one department head who just has to have one for the shinny factor, and frankly I’m glad we’ve gotten to the point where the technologies can finally “play nice” in a PC dominated network domain…still a few glitches to find workarounds for…but for the most part they are a welcomed addition to the work place.
If only I could get a memory upgrade and additional storage space for my BRAIN to expand my working knowledge of Mac hardware (and a bazillion other new technologies)—maybe then I could “come out of the closet,” and fully embrace the platform…Nah! It ain’t snowing in Hades just yet! LOL

You can visit Microsoft’s Mactopia site or check out several independent reviews of Office 2008 for Mac and decide which of the three versions would best suit you by clicking on one of the links below. As for pricing, depending on the end use/user, you are going to shell out somewhere between $200 and $500 bucks for the full suite. (There is a much more affordable charity/educational option available through Microsoft’s eOpen Licensing program, if you qualify for it)

Mactopia sites by Microsoft covering Office for Mac 2008

Government Computer News article on Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition

– PC Magazine Review of Office 2008 for Mac

– Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update (3/11/08)

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