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Microsoft is reportedly preparing to ship a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite later this year in what would be the first major update to the software in nearly four years.
Thorsten HÃ¼bschen, the Microsoft executive who oversees Office in Germany, revealed the software giant's plans at this week's CeBIT computer industry show in Hanover. German trade publication Computerwoche was first with the news.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft disbanded its Mac business unit soon after the most recent version of the suite, Office:Mac 2011, hit shelves in 2010. HÃ¼bschen said that internal reorganization at Microsoft has resulted in a renewed push for cross-platform versions of Office, and that the company was already speaking to enterprise customers about the new Mac edition.
Office for Mac's relative lack of updates compared to its Windows counterpart has caused concern among business users in recent years. Apple has completely revamped its competing iWork suite in the interim in what some have pegged as an effort to reduce Office's role as a killer app for Macs in the workplace.
There was no word from HÃ¼bschen on Microsoft's plans for a version of Office tailored for Apple's iOS, where it remains conspicuously absent. Microsoft insider Mary Jo Foley reported last month that an iPad edition was on the way, but others have indicated that Microsoft scrapped the idea as part of a strategy designed to entice users toward tablets running Windows.