Effective April 9, Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 will be end-of-lifed according to Microsoft’s published lifecycle policy. This is in accordance with its history of supporting each version of Office for Mac for five or more years.
Microsoft stopped adding features to Office 2008 after its 12.2.9 update, which included support for SkyDrive and enhancements for SharePoint users. In the past two years it has released half a dozen updates focussed solely on security issues and bug fixes.
All software, whether explicitly stated by its developer or not, has a lifecycle. A lifecycle is simply the span of time the developer will support the product. Some developers will offer upgrades to newer versions while others simply cease support or abandon development altogether. As Microsoft releases new products it updates its lifecycle index.
What does this mean for current users of Office 2008?
Customers who are still using Office 2008 should expect the following:
- Microsoft will release no further updates for security, bug fixes and product improvements. This includes holidays beyond 2012 and daylight saving time changes.
- Microsoft will not offer telephone or email support.
- Online forums such as Microsoft Answers will continue offering peer support.
- Office 2008 will not expire and will continue working, however, it may be incompatible with future versions of OS X and other third party products as they are updated and upgraded.
Customers should begin planning how they want to transition from Office 2008. Of note, Apple’s aggressive OS X development strategy of a new upgrade every year could mean that Office 2008 will stop working sooner rather than later. Some options:
- Upgrade to Office for Mac 2011.
- Upgrade to Office 2010 for Windows on a PC or virtual machine.
- Switch to using Office 365 Web Apps.
- Switch to Google Docs or a similar service.
- When available, upgrade to Office 365 with a subscription to Microsoft Office.
- Switch to Apple’s iWork suite.
- Switch to open source alternatives such as OpenOffice.
- Continue using Office 2008 until it no longer works.
To date, Microsoft has made no announcements with regard to the next version of Office for Mac after version 2011 nor about offering a subscription-based version of Office for Mac. For additional information about lifecycle dates, refer to our list of Release dates.