Ben Kelly
Ben Kelly

Is MS sacrificing corporate upgrades to save Mac:Office?

According to AppleInsider, Microsoft is doing an about face on support of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in its Mac:Office product.

On the one hand this is a great step forward (or should that be backward) for Microsoft in that its user community, especially those in the corporate world, was most upset by the omission of the VBA in Mac:Office 2008. On the other hand, this is likely to deter any corporate that has an investment in VBA–based services from upgrading to the latest version of Office.

For the uninitiated, VBA is the scripting language that drives services like macros across the Microsoft Office suite. It was reportedly too much work to make it work in Mac:Office 2008 so they threw it out and replaced it with support for AppleScript, the built in scripting language that comes with OSX.

You can read a detailed explanation about this over at MacWorld.

The simple truth is this no company in its right mind is going to migrate from VBA to AppleScript in the knowledge that it is going to get back its beloved VBA in the next release.

What Microsoft appears to have done is to sacrifice Mac:Office 2008 in order to save its Mac corporate business. Companies that are being forced to convert all their VBA into AppleScript are more likely to shop around and look at products like OpenOffice or Appleā€™s iWork suite.

The people I feel sorry for are those Mac users that will now be stuck with Office 2004 until 2011 when the Microsoft releases the next version of Office for Mac (based on previous release schedules).

For the vast majority of the market who just use the basic functionality of the suite and need relatively little automation, they will carry on fueling the phenomenal growth of the product.