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Office 365 is now on Mac App Store (apple.com)
239 points by markwhiting 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 132 comments

I'm wondering if it's worth uninstalling Office and reinstalling. If it uses the App Store update mechanism instead of Microsoft Autoupdate I would prefer it. Autoupdate presents a window almost every time a launch an Office application.

My favorite is when autoupdate is done updating, it runs a check to see if anything needs to be updated, and then it reports to me that there's nothing to update.

Apple software does the same on Windows..

I got my iTunes on Windows via Microsoft’s App Store ironically. It’s seemingly the only way to get iCloud working properly on Windows, they share certain common components.

I thought it was just me...

I just did that. Luckily I installed Office with Homebrew Cask, so removing was just

    brew cask uninstall microsoft-office
away. For me the app store version has many benefits:

- Microsoft sneaked OneDrive into the Office installer. I do not want OneDrive on my system

- All the applications are sandboxed per app store requirements.

- Indeed no more pesky Microsoft Autoupdate.

You can choose which applications to install with the MS installer. For example I didn't have Outlook or OneDrive installed.

I had Office 365 installed manually from Microsoft using their installer. I didn't even have to uninstall it, just downloaded from the App Store and it updated to that installation option now. I didn't have to log back in, or do anything other than enter my keychain password (many times) for it.

Also, the App Store version is going to be a bit more sandboxed.

I just replaced the regular with the App Store version and it went without a hitch. Just needed keychain access to Microsoft identity, and a login to Live.

Interestingly, I'm not seeing much of a difference in the two. It seems that the non-App Store version was sandboxed as well, and both have a long list of ways they "poke through" the sandboxing model.

And half the time Autoupdate just wants to update itself!

I went so long between using Word that auto update couldn’t update itself anymore. I guess the old version wasn’t compatible with whatever happened in the last year. So I had to go manually download an update package for the AutoUpdater so that I could find out there wasn’t any updates for Word. Awesome.

s/half/nearly every time

Then again, Apple's not immune to this. Nine times out of ten, Software Update for Windows has an urgent update for Software Update for Windows.

Yep. It only happens when the date changes.

Microsoft AutoUpdate used to pop up, but lately the updating has happened in the background and I haven't seen any window. Because of that I don't want to install the App Store version, because it seems like any obtrusive update (one that requires my attention) is more likely to occur in that venue.

If you have the App Store set to allow automatic updates, you should never see anything - it will always happen in the background.

You can disable autoupdate and manually check for updates occasionally.

Also, any time an application is available from both inside and outside the App Store I always prefer the outside one. The sandboxing that the App Store imposes is a massive pain. There's also no reason in my mind that Apple deserves a fat slice of my license payment.

I automatically prefer the App Store one because: - I know it will be updated automatically - Sandboxing prevents many dark patterns that apps use to sell advertisers data

Will it not still have keylogging telemetry though, at least while using the app?

Funny you should mention updates. The problem is when the developer wants to keep adding features and release a paid upgrade to make that possible. If you bought through the app store, you're going to have to buy the new version all over again, because there's no way for the developer to offer an upgrade discount.

As for sandboxing, yes it does prevent unscrupulous apps from doing shady things, but it also prevents apps from doing their jobs. The MacOS image viewer that I use is a great app called Xee3. I made the mistake of buying it through the app store instead of through the developer's website. So now when I open an image and hit pagedown to browse to the next image in the directory, I have to click through a popup granting it access to read the directory, which is the app's way of working around the sandbox restrictions. So the app store version is strictly worse.

Not really relevant in the context of Office 365, or other applications that follow the same subscription model

Who ever manually checks for updates on the 20+ apps they have installed?

It's not something you have to do every day. For Office I check for updates every couple of months. It makes little difference to be a bit behind the latest release.

Who doesn't?! Don't you feel a bit ... dirty?

The million (10 million? 100 Million) dollar question that I haven't seen addressed yet (but I'm sure will be, if it hasn't already) - is what % cut Apple is getting from the subscription revenue.

On this note, Apple's 30% flat tax is a poor decision.

I wonder how much of a hit Apple would take if the first $5000 per year per app was rebated.

There's a long tail of mild-moderately successful apps that provide value to some, but may not be economic to continue. With this system, devs could re-invest ~50% more funds into their early-stage product if they could.

It may pay for itself in future success and better products.

It's like a VC: You're small and a small amount of money means a lot to you. We'll give it to you in exchange for 30% of your future sales. The system works.

Netflix does it. AWS does it. GCloud does it.

I agree. I wrote a proposal for how this could work:


If you include all the factors like market share, cost of hardware, flat tax, ecosystem tie-in, development costs, then it becomes doubtful whether it makes sense to support MacOS anyway. I'm pretty certain that for most smaller companies MacOS support is a money sink and they just don't calculate the development costs correctly or they want to support the platform for strategical or ideological reasons.

The Mac has an installed base of 100 million. If you think about the addressable market for a "smaller company", that's plenty. Saying that the Mac is too small for smaller companies to bother with is like saying that Germany is too small to run a small business in. It's demonstrably false.

Or are you arguing that other platforms have a better developer ROI? That's intriguing. Which ones, and why?

Yes, basically that's what I'm saying. Why do you think even major companies think twice before porting an application to MacOS? For many small companies who are already providing a Windows solution porting the product to MacOS is a pain in the ass that may turn out not be worth it. Only a relatively small fraction of proprietary end consumer software can long-term sustain a business anyway. That's as true for the app store on MacOS as it is for iOS and Google Play on Android.

I'm not saying that there aren't some companies who make money on the app store, of course, that would be nonsense.

Agree, it doesn't adequately capture the full range of business models in the software market.

> Users can also purchase a subscription for Office 365 from within the apps, so they can get up and running instantly.

This would tend to suggest that Apple isn't getting a cut. Normally when they take one, it's on the basis of funds being transferred via their store, which doesn't appear to be the case here. But this is a massive deal between two of the ecosystem's biggest fish, and I'm sure an arrangement has been made to give Apple a piece of the pie somehow.

No, I think Apple will get a cut, but only a marginal one - probably a "better than Netflix" % deal, and definitely not the standard 30%.

Favorability in negotiation terms usually tend to be proportional to the size of the parties involved.

They are listing in-app purchases directly through the app store. My guess is they did get some kind of deal though (Like the supposed 15% deal that Netflix had before they pulled their IAPs.)

Apps distributed on the Mac App Store can use platform-provided APIs to do IAPs, including subscriptions, just like on iOS.

They take a cut of in-app purchases/subscriptions as well, for apps distributed via the store. That's not to say there isn't likely a special deal in place, though.

Keyword in your quote is "also". An in-app subscription billed through iTunes is explicitly written in the document as supported, so Apple will be getting a cut.

These apps have already been on the iOS App Store for a while, and you can purchase a subscription in-app, so I don't think this will be any different.

Does Apple let developers negotiate their fee? I thought it was a flat 30% for the first year and 15% after that?

I think large players have some room to negotiate even if Apple never states it publicly.

If you are large enough, anything is negotiable.

Microsoft isn’t just another developer

They don't let "developers" negotiate their fee, but Microsoft and Netflix certainly do.

Netflix doesn't anymore. They stopped allowing new in-app purchases. Existing subscriptions done through iTunes, Apple still gets their cut; but from now on, Netflix subscriptions must be done through the website.

More specifically, I wonder if this is an intentional move to try to regain back some market share by showing that this is where software publishers are and should be selling.

There are some services that are so worth the money that I am happy to pay for: Office 365, Dropbox, and GSuite.

I am as much of a cheapskate as the next guy, but it makes sense to pay for services that help get work done and/or make life easier.

I am curious if Microsoft is paying Apple a 30% cut, or if they got a better deal.

How many licenses of GSuite to you maintain? One license, $5 / month. Seems reasonable.

I have six family members. $360 / year for GSuite, that's untenable to me.

I paid $400+ a year for personal accounts since GSuite went premium. I just switched over to another provider because I reached a tipping point of not being able to tolerate GSuite support - it is horrible. horrible. horrible. horrible. Took 1+ and 3+ weeks to resolve the only two minor issues we've ever had.

Support replies were a series of unrelated prefilled replies, it seems whoever is on the other end is just keen to reply with whatever asap (phone is no better)

I don't think i've ever given Microsoft a dollar in my life but i'm strongly considering purchasing their email hosting based on feedback from companies I know using it. I don't mind paying for things, I hate paying for things and then not getting what was advertised.

I’m a subscriber to Office 365 and would use their mail service (whatever it’s called these days) but... I can’t bring my email address - which is on a grandfathered free ‘Google apps for your domain’ account. It’s a bit silly, considering I’m paying for this and can’t use it, but am getting Google’s email hosting and spam filter for free.

Have you checked out Fastmail? Whilst I use and pay for Office 365 for business, my personal email is on Fastmail (migrated from Gmail after a decade with them) and very happy with it.

$5/user/month with a custom domain. It's the same pricing as GSuite. Just doesn't reflect the right price point for me.

By the way, how is Fastmail's spam filtering? Gmail/GSuite is probably the best, and one of my concerns would be going back to the days of seeing enlargement products in my inbox.

Yeah we pay $50 per year per user (two of us) on our custom family domain.

Spam filtering is good, don't get any spam in Inbox, occasionally get legit incorrectly classified as spam. Training the model seems to prevent future occurrences pretty quickly.

I like the aliases that let you setup groups (which GSuite obviously also has) - all our bills and stuff get emailed to a group that includes the two of us.

We weren't on GSuite before this but individual Gmail, so we didn't have those group features.

In terms of $5/month you get more through GSuite (docs, drive etc), but I would prefer to be free of Google and Fastmail (for us) filled the need perfectly, and is something I'm more than happy to pay for given their attention to privacy, security and being the customer rather than the product.

They thrown in 'not data mining you' for free though

The specific claim, unless I missed it, is no data collection for advertising purposes (page 12 and also in their other privacy policy online). That doesn't stop them from other uses of the data. Microsoft makes a similar claim with some of its telemetry. Or did I miss something? It was a long PDF, I just skimmed it

Is it really worth paying for Dropbox when you already have cloud storage bundled in with Office 365 (one drive) and GSuit (GDrive?)

Big move. I see this potentially as groundwork for the eventual integration of Mac and iOS App Stores, which you have to imagine is something Apple wants in the years ahead as platforms converge on common software stack and UX. It's also a signal that the App Store team may now be willing to do the deals necessary to attract MacOS apps back toward this larger strategic initiative (vs just trying to maximize revenue).

From Microsoft's perspective, now that Windows is sidelined, Office is their primary consumer platform and that means UX outweighs any strategic tax of trying to make the Windows version better.

Have you tried to download Office from their website? It's a horrible, braindead experience. You have to log in to your Live account, then go to a particular page to manage your existing Office installs that is super confusing. Coupled with the poor autoupdate UX on Mac [1], and it's almost like Microsoft doesn't want you to have Office on Mac.

I think the issue finally reached a breaking point there and they shifted to UX > control. This is a positive shift for them, since being on the App Store means features ship faster and users see value in their Office subscription. Aside from update UX this is obviously a way to bump their Mac Office numbers. Seems like a good play from both Apple & Microsoft's perspective.

[1] Right now Microsoft's autoupdate UX is pretty terrible at keeping things up to date. When I visit my parents, they're almost always several versions behind, and as another commenter pointed out, a decent part of that is the autoupdate needing to update itself. They have automated updates but its hard to trust that process won't result in issues when documents are open, and it presents a lot of cognitive load to users on top of the OS & App Store updates.

> which you have to imagine is something Apple wants in the years ahead as platforms converge on common software stack and UX

I don't think we have to imagine that. Apple's been against that sort of thing for a long time, and I don't see that changing any time soon. They don't target the lowest common denominator.

I suppose that the Marzipan project, of iOS frameworks on macOS, should prove me wrong but I still don't think so. The few apps that Apple has given us are ... kinda bad. Their non-nativeness screams out: they don't respond properly to gestures, many macOS Services don't work in them, and the user interfaces are laggy.

Yes, I suppose things will change with the next version of macOS, but there's no real way to avoid the fact that UIKit on macOS doesn't make proper macOS apps --- and developers will have to decide what matters more; time to market or customer satisfaction.

I'm fairly sure Marzipan is a stopgap, not a platform unto itself. Get your iOS apps running on macOS, and slowly move them to native macOS paradigms.

I'm actually hoping that things like Office 365, Lightroom CC (and perhaps the other Adobe apps), BBEdit, etc. help developers see the potential of proper macOS apps (I'll take these big developers' emulations of Cocoa over UIKit-on-macOS any day), and smaller developers will follow suit.

(And if their code is MVC-compliant in the Cocoa way, that should't be too big an issue; you can mix and match views and controllers from AppKit and UIKit!)

> Have you tried to download Office from their website?

If you have an Office 365 account, all you need to do is go to office.com, sign in, and there's a big friendly "Install Office" button right there. But I do generally agree that there is too much friction getting this "must-have" piece of software; I don't care for Office much, but denying its influence and widespread usage is a task best relegated to those who think everybody should write in LaTeX.

> you can mix and match views and controllers from AppKit and UIKit

Last I heard, Marzipan apps cannot link against AppKit at all.

1. Go to Office365.com

2. Login

3. Do you want to stay logged in?

4. Is your information up to date?

5. Office / OneCloud homepage ("Good evening"). Press 'Install Office' (its a secondary/white button that blends into background, whereas 'New doc' is a blue button).

(20 URL redirects)

6. Installs page. Press 'Install Office' again.

7. Still Installs page, now with banner that says 'Your Office 365 subscription info has moved to account.microsoft.com. Now there's one place to manage all your subscriptions'. No download happens when you press 'Install Office'. No actual link to account.microsoft.com.

8. Go to account.microsoft.com. No download button.

I'm literally unable to download the Office dmg right now. Also, this is the improved interface. The prior one from last year was even less clear, except for the fact I could download it.

Most other apps have a 1-click download button on their homepage, and guide you through the login/reg process when you launch the app. Oh, that's right, Office ALSO does that, in addition to the aforementioned steps. It's braindead.

I think companies sometimes acknowledge that they've screwed up so badly that they need to rethink how they do things. Microsoft demonstrated willingness to do that since Satya became CEO and have shifted the entire company strategy away from Windows, killing a sacred cow. Whether or not that's what's going on behind the scenes here, the end user experience is severely improved going to App Store.

Regarding UIKit, yes the current Marzipan apps suck, all four of them. They're not mainline apps by any stretch of the imagination, and none were previously on the Mac. They'll get better. Just because Marzipan/UIKit today doesn't have good MacOS affordances doesn't mean it won't in the future, especially since it's not even being offered to developers right now. I don't see why it's difficult to see where the puck is going here. There's certainly some implementation details to work out, but it's better for the ecosystem as a whole - users, devs, and Apple - to have a single framework in the long run. Were you making something from scratch you certainly wouldn't make two frameworks.

To be specific, Apple has been against a 2-in-1 style product. I'm not advocating that, sorry to have caused confusion. I'm saying they'll have same underlying tech (UIKit/marizpan), but different end-user UX affordances based on mouse vs touch.

Remember that iPad is as large a market as Mac right now, and is moving upmarket and attracting more pro apps. There are also way more iOS devs than MacOS devs, 10:1 or 100:1. Devs making technical decisions about Apple ecosystem products right now should be getting the hint, and if they're not they likely will this June at WWDC. Apple doesn't tend to lurch around on product decisions, almost everything they do is a multi-year strategy executed in well-telegraphed steps.

> Just because Marzipan/UIKit today doesn't have good MacOS affordances doesn't mean it won't in the future, especially since it's not even being offered to developers right now. I don't see why it's difficult to see where the puck is going here.

It's not difficult to see where it's going. I just think people are believing it's going where they'd like to see it, where they think it's best for it to go; whereas Apple has their own ideas and always has. What we think is better for the ecosystem, they mightn't see it that way; what we see as the natural course of things, they might see as a passing fad.

Plus, we look at Microsoft's attempts at this very task with Windows 8 through 10. Seems to be a bit rough going. Apple famously accused Redmond of starting their photocopiers; I'm not sure Cupertino's Xeroxes are even close to warming up on this front.

Plus, it reads just a little too optimistic for me. We are already seeing that sharing user interface code between desktop and mobile results either in crippled experiences on both or each platform requiring its own platform-specific user interface code anyway. Instead of one amazing app on two platform, you get two crappy apps that feel like they belong on the other. In my mind, the poster child for this is Discord - it works well enough until you want to do some basic management, then the desktop version is pretty much mandatory.

If you're right about Marzipan having different UX affordances, I think Apple made a huge cock-up by demonstrating apps like Home. On a Mac, Home is an awful mess; the most basic operations are made unnecessarily difficult, what would be a long press or force touch now becomes an irritating secondary click (which is most annoying because I have a Force Touch trackpad not doing anything useful). Even the App Store is missing so many macOS features by virtue of being a Marzipan app.

I'm __hoping__ these are just examples of Apple eating their own dogfood, knowing it tastes terrible. But I'm just having terrible flashbacks to when Finder was a Carbon app and performed like a dog --- oh, that's where the dogfood analogy comes in, I guess!

That said, I still don't think Marzipan will be a convergence. I believe it's a stopgap. macOS is still the truck compared to iOS devices' cars; you just can't drive a truck using a car engine.

You're right to point out that I'm in the optimistic camp on this issue. I think it's both do-able over the course of several years of refinements, and necessary given that I think we're not done yet with innovation in interaction methods. We've been on a plateau for a while with iDevices and Macs. Meanwhile, foldable screens, touch surfaces replacing keyboards, and gaze tracking are on the horizon, and those will require some fundamental UX work to be done across both iOS and MacOS, making them even more similar than before. Those techs are <10yrs out, possibly much much sooner given we see incremental progress toward them with tech like Samsung's foldable phones, the TouchBar, and FaceID.

Even without new interaction methods, this kind of work is not an endeavor I think most companies can undertake, especially not Microsoft. Their failure doesn't reflect on the opportunity or possibility, because they really lack the deep bench of skill and company culture of perfectionism to get the UX right, and they don't have the market leverage or third party developer culture to push developers toward new things (see win32, uwp, etc). Win8 was a half-hearted springboard reskin that was only surface deep, and in no way a re-think of combining touch+mouse, let alone meaningful guidance and tools for developers on how to make apps span both. Users rightly rejected it and Win10 went back to a more incremental approach that's still mired in weird reskin issues, and touch is largely an afterthought on Windows except in specific apps.

Re: Mac App Store, it isn't actually a Marzipan app, though it shares some of the questionable UX choices. I'm particularly not fond of the full page modal with 'Done' button rather than the more traditional back/forward design. Totally agree with you on this and the Marzipan quality issues.

Discord is sort of representative of an aspect of the problem a combined UIKit is looking to solve - devs are using things like Electron to get cross-platform support but creating crappy anachronistic non-native experiences in the process. If devs can build for UIKit and get some platform-specific graceful enhancements built-in (as they did going from iPhone -> iPad), that changes the calculus on building with Electron or whatever.

There's a lot of implementation details regarding Marzipan and UIKit but - saying this as a designer who's had to do a fair share of mixed mobile-desktop work - I don't see any fundamental blockers to the approach that would prevent pro apps on the Mac getting their interaction density on mouse and touch apps getting their lower interaction density touch targets. Just a lot of work and decisions to make around how to progressively enhance and offer platform-specific flexibility. But that's just my take, I can see why others might disagree.

We'll see this June. Apparently some more fundamental UX changes were delayed last year to focus on quality, so this year is likely a big year.

> Office365

There's your problem right there. Just buy a perpetual Office license. The awful Adobe-style subscription model for desktop software that barely ever changes is ridiculous.

There are other aspects to Office 365 that are quite valuable to people, like a huge increase in the size of their OneDrive storage quotas, the ability to install Office on multiple devices rather than just one (which is pretty common; people install Office apps connected to their 365 accounts on their mobiles, tablets, etc.), Skype airtime, technical support beyond the first 60 days of purchase, and with certain plans you can share these benefits with a certain number of people.

Aside from that, many businesses with specific Office 365 packages get a number of licences (sometimes unlimited) to assign to staff; so people don't have to buy Office, they get it "free" from work and can install it on something like five or ten devices. Same goes for educational institutions; I'm a teacher, so all the staff AND the students get free access to Office 365, and all the complicated businessy things like Active Directory profiles, SharePoint, Teams (MS' answer to Slack), and so on is included with the same account that I use to install Office on my home Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

So for plenty of people, benefitting from the subscription service in this way, Office is free - no need to buy a perpetual licence.

It's not ridiculous. It might be for your use case, but you can't make a blanket statement that covers everybody.

Well, maybe two different things have gotten conflated here. What I'm calling ridiculous is the fact that Microsoft is charging a subscription for Office. The flexibility to install on multiple devices is something that shouldn't be tied to a subscription license in the first place. And neither is more OneDrive space (why you'd want OneDrive space in the first place is a separate issue) or Skype airtime. It also doesn't make sense to me why you think it's a good thing that your Office account is the same as for AD and SharePoint and Teams... this is an offline desktop office suite - what does a Microsoft account have to do with it anyway?

I feel like Microsoft noticed how Adobe was making money hand over fist by moving Creative Suite to a subscription model and wanted in on the action. Of course everyone hates Adobe's awful subscription model, but it doesn't matter- if you have to have Photoshop then you're going to pay whatever they ask. But this is not a good thing.

Basically what I'm saying is that rushing to defend Microsoft's licensing model doesn't make any sense. This is a step back in every way from the world where you buy a license and don't have to keep paying the vendor month after month for them to do little more than refrain from shutting down access to software already on your computer. If you want Skype and OneDrive (again, why?) then fine, but the fact that that's bundled is not a good thing.

Firstly, Office 365 is not just offline apps. It’s software as a service; it’s a suite of high-quality online tools that rapidly approach parity with their product to flint counterparts, it’s being able to install multiple copies of Office in multiple devices without needing to purchase more product keys; it’s about being able to use the mobile apps without paying for those separately (which people just won’t); it’s about reducing piracy for MS by allowing organisations and educational instituons to provide Office 365 to employees and students; there are so many advantages to Microsoft and consumers.

I am not “rushing” to defend anything, merely pointing out the benefits. What you call a step back, others call a blessing. I genuinely prefer to pay a relatively low fee for access to essential data in the cloud and the high-quality tools that I can access anywhere to work with my documents, collaborate, and even automate with online add-ons. All without worrying about what platform I’m using (desktop, mobile, web, Windows, macOS, Linux), licence keys (which demonstrably don’t work; Genuine Office got cracked every five minutes, and piracy was rampant).

I find your apparent incredulity at other people’s potential desire for certain aspects of a product(S) or service(s) is symptomatic of a refusal to even attempt to understand other people’s priorities when it comes to technology, something I’ve written about at length on HN before. Don’t write off my input just because your priorities don’t match mine or others, dismissively calling my five cents but a “rush”.

> Of course everyone hates Adobe's awful subscription model

Not everyone. I have access to pretty much everything Adobe makes for $30 per month. That’s a far better deal than paying hundreds each for an app I might use occasionally. It also includes TypeKit and let’s me use Adobe fonts in any application, not just Adobe’s or on the web.

I rarely use Office products but I spend most of my day in some Office 365 product or another. There is a huge amount more to it than just Word.

> They don't target the lowest common denominator.

Maybe not _technically_ yet, but certainly in spirit. For example, Apple removed a lot of features from their Photos (formerly iPhoto) and iMovie Mac apps to match the much more limited iOS versions.

They did an entire rewrite of iPhoto -> Photos, and slowly added features back. They did this same with the iWork suite and Final Cut Pro as well. It's not unique to iOS.

iPhoto may be remembered fondly but it really needed a UX and technical overhaul to handle the order of magnitude increase in photos and videos people were taking.

It really did. It struggled with MobileMe photo streams; in the modern days of iCloud (being free) and Photo Library, iPhoto would have to be renamed to Beachball Simulator.

Oh man, the Mavericks days of iPhoto were getting rough. Beachball city.

> Now that Windows is sidelined

Only available on 83% of Desktops worldwide. hmm..

Strategically it's been completely sidelined. Windows division, once the major power player in Microsoft, is gone. Windows the OS is still installed on a bunch of computers, but we're increasingly in a mobile and cloud world, and the strategy tax of 'Windows first' was preventing Microsoft from pursuing important initiatives.



I don't work at Apple and I'm not a journalist.

I'm offering a possible reason why this is relevant, tying it to another trend (convergence of platform UX frameworks) that is well discussed and already has code shipping today (Marzipan apps). I'm also offering reasons why both companies would find it valuable.

Why would Apple pay Microsoft for this? They might cut a better deal, but pay them?

Is this the mobile version of the apps, a wrapper around the web version of the apps, or actual full-fledged desktop Office?

Desktop Office. Microsoft has been offering a "real office" on Mac for many, many years now. The news is not that Office is on Mac, it's that it is distributed through the App Store.

There were even Mac versions of Word and Excel years before either of them were available for Windows.

A saw a woman from Microsoft’s MAC Business Unit give a presentation where she stated that most new Office features appear in the Mac version first as a test bed before they’re rolled out to Athens Windows side.

I knew they've had full Office since forever. I just didn't know if the App Store version itself was full Office or a mobile/web Office like on the iOS App Store.

According to this post [0], Microsoft use a "shared Office codebase for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android". Before the individual iOS Office apps, Microsoft had an "Office mobile" app which may well have been a web app (though I can't find anything on that either way).

[0] https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Share...

I believe it was indeed a web app. The efforts to get a shared code base began in earnest after Nadella took over as CEO at MS, and Office stopped being a means to sell copies of Windows and rather a chargeable service unto itself - I believe the shared codebase first started to surface in the apps for iOS and Android.

Well, I say that. Really, the Windows and macOS version had been sharing code for ages, but plenty of it was still bespoke for macOS. I think their rewrite to Cocoa, which I believe happened around the same time as the iOS apps started being developed, helped to bring further parity.

> According to this post [0], Microsoft use a "shared Office codebase for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android".

At very least, from my experience, I believe the iOS, Mac and Windows do share the same underlying engine. The web version looks like a reimplementation that reimplements all its weird quirks… but there're still minor difference here and there.

I have to deal with few Japanese documentation which uses a relatively obscure feature exposed only to Japanese version of Office (e.g. I think it present in all versions now as "Enclosed Character") and so far every Word implementation fail to render that in the way it's expected to be rendered, but it renders consistently in all versions of Microsoft Office {Windows, iOS, Mac}.

I wouldn't say "full office". I use Office on Mac and it's clearly not as configurable or polished as Windows :(

It's recent that it's the "same" Office though, no? It used to have different codebase (with, I'm sure, some reused code) and even had different release versions (ie: Office 2011 on Mac VS Office 2010/2013 on Windows)

I dug a bit and I found this article[1] that says it's now using a common codebase for Office 2016 since January last year, so I guess it's not something new with this new release of Office 365 on mac.

1. https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-aligns-its-different...

The quality on Mac is nowhere near the quality of Office on Windows. At least Excel. Slow, crashes, tons of missing shortcuts, etc.

FWIW, they have added a lot of missing shortcuts in the last few years. Haven't used Windows Excel in ages, though, so I'm not sure what's still missing. That being said, Excel for Mac has gotten slower in a recent update. And the UI text, which already kinda looked crummy and not very Mac-like, now looks even less Mac-like.

But Excel is the lingua franca of business, so I keep on using it.

Re: the text; I think they're going for a consistent visual design language with the iOS apps - for better or worse.

I haven’t researched recently, but Excel used to run on a single core on the Mac. So any decent sized file would cause tremendous issues. I used to run Windows via Parallels just to use the Windows version of Excel.

Edit: it looks like multi threads were introduced in January 2018 [0].

[0] https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/sugg...

They’ve been going back and forth between using the same codebase and separate codebases since the 90s.

Can I get a source on that? Looks like they haven't had a shared codebase in almost 20 years.

I did say since the 90s and Word 6 was the last version they released until Word ‘98


Word 6.0, launched in 1993, is widely considered to be the worst version of Word ever for the Mac, as it was based on the same codebase as Word 6.0 for Windows. That meant that it looked and worked more like Windows software than a Macintosh program. Mac users were so up in arms that Microsoft actually released a Word 5.1 downgrade to unhappy Word 6.0 owners.

It was five years before Microsoft unleashed another version of Word for the Mac,

PSA: iTunes gift cards can usually be had for a discount (generally 15%, maybe more) so you can save some $ with this move.

Are you saying you can buy $100 iTunes gift cards for $85 dollars? That's kinda sketchy....

There are a lot of deals like that from time to time and it's not sketchy.


Thanks, i had no idea.

I assumed this was similar to Amazon cards in the UK ie a great way to quickly move money off a stolen credit card with only a 20-30% laundering cost.

Very pleased to be able to download just Microsoft Word from the store. It does seem snappier than the previous version. Sidenote, I use MS Word for one thing only, and that's Chinese homework. Are there any other word processors that do Pinyin well? I'll pay.

Can you pay to use the app for only one or two months? Or does it requiring subscribing and cancelling?

You have to subscribe and then unsubscribe manually. Apparently the Mac App Store version only offers yearly subscriptions, but the iOS version still offers monthly options so you can use your phone if you personally don’t want to pay through Microsoft’s store

Thank you for documenting the fine print.

Office 365 offers month-to-month or annual subscriptions.

You have to purchase a subscription, but you can cancel at any time.

If you purchase an in-app subscription through the App Store with your Apple ID, the only option is a yearly subscription.

If you purchase a subscription directly from Microsoft's website, you can purchase either a yearly or monthly subscription.

The yearly subscription costs the same in both cases, and is cheaper unless you only want to use the app for a few months.

> The yearly subscription costs the same in both cases,

Is this through in-app purchases? It would seem counterintuitive to let Apple take 30% from the yearly subscription if they've gotten away with distributing outside the app store for so long. (but they may have a special revenue share agreement)

That's how it has always been. If a company acquires a new subscription through the App Store then Apple processes the subscription and takes 30% the first year and 15% of each subsequent year. Apple doesn't claim any percentage of subscriptions acquired outside of the App Store.

If Microsoft acquires a new user and subscription through the App Store then Apple is entitled to their cut. If Microsoft acquires a new subscription organically outside of the App Store then Apple is obviously not entitled to a cut.

If Microsoft doesn't want the ability to acquire new subscriptions through the App Store (and pay Apple for it) then that's their prerogative, but right now that's not the case.

Some universities offer basic Office 365 (Word, PP, Excel) when you are a registered student.

And some non-tertiary (primary/elementary, secondary/high) schools, too.

you can get a trial without paying anything

This very good for Mac admins of any kind of organisation that uses MDM. Finally just push those apps to the users from the server. If Adobe Creative Cloud could be downloaded from the Mac App Store it would be perfect.

Now I use homebrew to install lots of software and fonts internally.

Is it sandboxed?

Apparently, though it seems to have been granted quite a few exceptions:

  $ codesign -d --entitlements - /Applications/Microsoft\ Word.app/
  Executable=/Applications/Microsoft Word.app/Contents/MacOS/Microsoft Word
  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
  <plist version="1.0">
  		<string>(allow file-read* file-write*
       (require-all (vnode-type REGULAR-FILE) (regex #"(^|/)~\$[^/]+$"))
  		<string>(deny file-write*
       (subpath (string-append (param "_HOME") "/Library/Application Scripts"))
       (subpath (string-append (param "_HOME") "/Library/LaunchAgents"))
  		<string>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/</string>
  		<string>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/</string>

If you are big you can get exceptions to get onto mac app store . The is not the long waiting fix for Mac App Store that would show signs of development.

My question exactly: did MS change Office to get in the Mac App Store rules or did Apple change the MAS rules to get Office in?

Neither. The existing Office desktop apps are already sandboxed.

Apple has allowed Microsoft Office quite a few exemptions that are not normally handed out.

What did office do before that would have required a non-sandboxed implementation? One pro-sandboxing point for office would be not allowing any sort of auto-updates if the user doesn't want them (and no repeated bugging of users about it).

I uninstalled and then used homebrew and mas to install. Now I think 100% of my software is installed via homebrew. Nice!

Just after some random outage in Europe yesterday. Wonder why this get's up the front page today...


You spelled "Windows" wrong.

Why poor? Why post something like this without an explanation? Does it make you feel good?

Maybe you didn't know that Mac has had office for more than a decade.

Big question is, when is it coming to Linux

Office was available for Mac for many years. The news here is that Office is now in the Mac App Store, not that big of a news. Anyhow, worth noting that the Mac versions of Office are no near to the Windows versions. They are thin clients with only a portion of the win capabilities, and those which exists are buggy, to say the least.

If I had a Mac, I would go to G Suite, which gives better capabilities for 99.9% of the users, and if I was on the .1% I would go and buy a PC.

* BTW- Wine 4 was released this week, and they also don't support any of the O365 apps, especially not their 64bit versions.

> The news here is that Office is now in the Mac App Store, not that big of a news.

It is bigger news than you might think. The Mac App Store has resoundingly failed to attract most "premium" Mac apps. Skype? No. Spotify? No. Chrome? No. Photoshop? No. VMware? No. Steam? No. Minecraft? No. Dropbox? No. Sketch? Left.

The redesigned App Store app was the first signal in years that Apple was starting to take it seriously again, and now they've brought one of the most popular pieces of software to the store. That's a big move.

Not only has office been available on the Mac for many years, it started on the Mac.

If you're so vested into microsoft's products you should stay on windows. There's always going to be that one thing you can't do for people like you, so why bother? For the rest of the world, office for mac has been amazing, and works perfectly. The people who I got on mac (around 4, I believe) are pretty heavy Office users, and they haven't complained once. They have, however, actually said to me that they're shocked by the difference between what they're told about mac and how it actually is, and they quite literally thanked me that I showed them mac. Office for mac is perfect for 99.9% of users. You can always bootcamp, but like I said, if you really need to use all those obscure features you know from windows, then yeah, stay on windows.

Not sure what you're talking about. I've been using Office on OSX since it's been a thing and it's always been pretty much equivalent. Especially recently.

see my reply below to tphan :-)

It's not a thin client though...

I use both Office for Mac and Windows all the time and Office for Mac is pretty reliable IMO. They pretty much have feature parity. Which features are you missing?

Have you tried using PowerQuery for instance? It's only one of the things available in Windows only. Same if you try to work with the Data Model. (I'm not sure for Macros & VBAs but can guess they are also mostly not functional) Again, not very common for the 99%, but if you are an Excel power user you should know about those, especially about PQ.

Is MS Access still missing?

Yes, I believe there are no plans to get Access to work on macOS.

I believe that is a good thing. I used to work at Microsoft and many of their own employees hate Access and wish Microsoft would have replaced it with Foxpro when they bought that back in the 90s.

Upon reading your comment I was curious why it was so downvoted. So many reasons.. for me it was the bit about Office on Mac being a “thin client”. Dude. No.

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