APPLE EXPO - Microsoft dates, prices Office 2008 for Mac

Microsoft will launch Office 2008 for Mac on Jan. 15 in the U.S. and in the first quarter of 2008 worldwide, it said Tuesday.

Microsoft has named the date on which Mac OS X users can get their hands on the latest version of its Office suite.

"Office 2008 for Mac" will be launched on Jan. 15 in the U.S. -- that's the first day of the Macworld Expo event planned for San Francisco -- and it will be launched in other major markets during the first quarter, the company said.

Three versions of the suite will be available: the basic package includes all the Office applications. The "home and student edition" is targeted at consumers and includes a three-user license. The "special media edition" comes with all Office software and the "Expression Media for Mac" image management application.

The basic edition will cost US$400, the home and student edition will cost US$150 and the special media edition will cost US$500. Upgrade packages from Office 2004 to the basic edition will cost US$240 and to the special media edition will cost US$300. Upgrade details to the home and student edition were not disclosed and an upgrade may not be available. Pricing is in line with the current prices for Office 2004.

From Tuesday, Microsoft is also offering customers in some countries who buy Office 2004 an upgrade to Office 2008 for only the price of shipping, handling and taxes.

The launch of the Mac version will come a year after the latest version of Office was offered for the Windows operating system. Office 2008 for Mac will support the Open XML file format and the package will be a Universal Binary that runs on both Power PC and Intel-based Mac computers. Versions will be available in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.

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