No Office 2013 for Mac? Don’t Panic

From the headline, Microsoft Won’t Bring Office 2013 to Mac, but It Will Add SkyDrive Integration to Office 2011, you’d think that Microsoft was sticking it to Mac users. And from reading the article by Killian Bell, you’d never know that Mac users currently have a newer version of Office than Windows users – or that Microsoft has a long history of releasing new Office for Mac editions a year after every Windows version since 1997.

Don't Panic

Macs Had It First

Microsoft Office has three core components: Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


Microsoft Word was initially developed for Xenix (Microsoft’s version of Unix) and MS-DOS and introduced in 1983. From the start, it was designed to be used with a mouse. Word was ported to the Mac and shipped in 1985; the first WYSIWYG version of Word included support for the Mac’s fonts. Word didn’t get that on the PC side until 1989, when Microsoft introduced Word for Windows.

WYSIWYG Spreadsheet

Microsoft’s first spreadsheet was MultiPlan, introduced in 1982 for practically every personal computing platform. But the following year, Lotus introduced 1-2-3 for DOS, which almost immediately became the top spreadsheet choice on the IBM platform. In 1984, MultiPlan was introduced with the Macintosh, where it quickly became the dominant spreadsheet program.

The first version of Excel arrived in 1985 – and it arrived on the Mac. It wasn’t until 1987 that Excel came to Windows.


PowerPoint was originally designed for Macs under the name Presenter. Introduced in early 1987, Microsoft bought the company that created it in August 1987. PowerPoint didn’t come to Windows until May 22, 1990, the same day Windows 3.0 was launched.

Microsoft Office

The first version of Microsoft Office wasn’t for Microsoft’s Windows operating system. It was a suite of programs for Mac users. Introduced in 1989, Office for Mac included Word 4.0, Excel 2.2, PowerPoint 2.01, and Mail 1.37. Office arrived for Windows in Late 1990, and the first version didn’t even have an email client.

In short, the Mac was the first platform with a WYSIWYG version of Word, the first with a WYSIWYG spreadsheet, the first to get Excel, and the platform PowerPoint was developed for. Also, Office for Mac included an email client long before Office for Windows.

Microsoft Office History

Office 1.5 arrived in 1991, replacing Excel 3.0 with version 4.0, and version 1.6 was the first to include an email client for Windows PCs.

In 1992, Microsoft released Office 3.0 in separate Windows and Mac versions. Both editions had Excel 4.0 and PowerPoint 3.0. Word for Windows 2.0 was part of the PC bundle, while Macs had Word 5.0. In the future, Microsoft would sync Word version numbers.

Office for Windows 4.0 arrived in 1994, followed by Office for Windows NT 4.2 and Office 4.2 for Mac. These all included Word 6, Excel 4, and PowerPoint 4, although Word 6 for Mac was so poorly received that Microsoft reintroduced Word 5.1 to keep Mac users from defecting.

From this point forward, Mac and Windows versions of Microsoft Office would never again share version numbers.

  • Office 95 arrived with Windows 95 in August 1995, followed by Office 97 two years later.
  • Office 98 was the Mac version, released in 1998 (as though you hadn’t guessed).
  • Office 2000 was for Windows, and 2001 (released in Late 2000) was for Macs.
  • Office v. X, the first Mac OS X edition, also arrived in 2001.
  • Office XP came in 2002, followed by Office 2003, also for Windows. And then came Office 2004 for Macs (the newest version here at Low End Mac).
  • Office 2007 was for Windows, 2008 for Macs, 2010 for Windows, and the current 2011 for Macs.

And that’s where we stand today. Since 2001, the Mac version of Microsoft Office has always come a year after the PC version (excepting Office XP), and today Mac users have a version of Office that’s newer than Windows users have.

Don’t Panic

Don't PanicNo, we’re not going to see Microsoft Office 2013 for Mac. That’s the Windows version. Based on history, we should not expect Office 2013 for Mac – which is why I have problem with the seemingly panic-stricken Cult of Mac headline.

We’ll have to wait for Microsoft Office 2014 to bring all the new Office goodness to the Mac (and perhaps iOS as well). This gives Microsoft’s Mac development team time to integrated the new Windows features and workflows to the Mac, which needs to be done so it will be a Mac software suite and not a horrible Windows port like Word 6.0 was.

We should be grateful that Office 2011 users will get SkyDrive integration, making it easy to put documents in the cloud for access from other computers, but there’s no need to panic about not getting Office 2013, because we’ll have something even better in 2014.

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