Apple, of course, has its own productivity software, which it used to bundle under the umbrella title of iWork. However, with the advent of the App Store, it no longer made sense to sell Pages, Numbers, and Keynote as Siamese triplets, and so for the past year or 2 you've been able to buy each of them individually. And for a reasonable price, too: $20 each at the App Store.
The (former) iWork apps are distinctively Maccish, and they only work on Apple hardware. But, with Office 2016, Microsoft is banking on the desire (if not outright need) for many Mac users to deal with software that's readily understandable to the far more numerous Windows users — not only file compatibility but also the user interface. And Microsoft pledges that, whatever Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook look like on a Windows machine, they'll look and feel almost exactly the same on your Mac.
This seems to be a new corporate philosophy at Microsoft, perhaps traceable to their new CEO Satya Nadella, mentioned by Holly McEntee in her previous post on this blog.
Microsoft is yet quite ready to abandon the concept of the software-combo suite for stand-alone products, however. It does want you to pay a subscription fee (rather than an outright-purchase price) for the whole 5-program shebang.
You probably know what the Big 3 matchups are:
- word processing / page layout: Microsoft Word → Apple Pages
- spreadsheet: Microsoft Excel → Apple Numbers
- presentation: Microsoft PowerPoint → Apple Keynote
- mail processing / calendaring / address book: Microsoft Outlook → Apple Mail, Calendar, and Contacts
- note-taking: Microsoft OneNote → Apple Notes, Reminders, and TextEdit
If anybody gives the new Office for Mac 2016 Preview a shot, please come back here and report on your experience.