As of Tuesday, January 10, Microsoft ceased support for Office for Mac 2004 in accordance with its published life cycle policy. Office 2004 had been in maintenance since the release of Office 2008 and that maintenance period was extended in October 2009 for an additional 2-1/2 years to accommodate customers who needed Visual Basic (VBA) support. VBA was removed in Office for Mac 2008 but restored and updated in Office for Mac 2011.
Microsoft will no longer release any updates or security patches for Office 2004. Microsoft released Office 2004’s final update 11.6.6 in mid December.
A product life cycle is a planned period of time that a software developer will guarantee support and maintenance releases for a product. The end of a cycle is usually determined by the release of a newer version of the product. Microsoft’s policy is that it will cease support of an Office for Mac product five years from its date of general availability or two years after a successor (upgrade) is released.
Microsoft publishes product life cycle dates for all of its products well in advance of expiry. OfficeforMacHelp.com maintain’s a table of support dates with links to the latest versions of every Office for Mac product on its Office page.
|Microsoft Office for Mac 2011||14.4.8||February 10, 2014||January 12, 2016|
|Microsoft Office for Mac 2008||12.3.6 - final version||March 12, 2013||April 9, 2013|
|Microsoft Office for Mac 2004||11.6.6 - final version||December 13, 2011||January 10, 2012|
|Microsoft Office for Mac X||10.1.9||January 5, 2007||January 9, 2007|
|Microsoft Office for Mac 2001||9.0.6||October 12, 2004||December 13, 2005|
|Microsoft Office 98 for Macintosh||Multiple||June 30, 2003|
Office 2004 users can still find free support in the Microsoft Answers forums, however, as the product continues to age it will eventually become incompatible with many new hardware and software technologies. It is already incompatible with Apple’s Intel hardware line without running it under Rosetta’s emulation layer. Mac OS X 10.6.8 is the latest version that will support Office 2004.
Some online vendors may have remaining copies of Office 2008 for sale. It is compatible with Intel hardware and will run on Mac OS X 10.4.9 and higher, including Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). Office for Mac 2011 is the current version and is widely available from retail stores as well as online vendors.
Update: Thanks to folks who caught my factual errors about system requirements for Office 2004. I’ve corrected them. Need more coffee.