Is The MacBU Getting Unfairly Pounded?

Like a big Mac dork, I’ve been looking forward to the Office 2008 for the Mac. There hasn’t been any new news of it since January. Not that there was much news back then either (besides the new “My Day”); most users assumed that the new Ribbon system from Office 2007 would come over to the Mac version…we pretty much only got screenshots and an assurance that it would be out by the end of 2007.

That said, the design of Office 2008 is as Mac-like as Office has ever been.

And then earlier this month, the Mac Business Unit announced that Office 2008 is delayed until January 2008. To add insult to injury, Apple released iWork ’08 this week. It added a new spreadsheet application, Numbers. It’s created somewhat of an idiot’s conundrum; pay only $79.00 and get most of the functionality you need with iWork, or pay hundreds more for the typical release of Office for the Mac

?Of course, after the iWork announcement, users let the MacBU know their thoughts right on their blog.

It’s somewhat dismaying. The MacBU is kind of like the one kid in high school who was kind of cool, but his brothers and sisters had a reputation for smelling bad, disrupting class, and generally being disgusting that his reputation is brought down by his family. Perhaps to distance themselves from this identity they created the Mac Mojo blog to create some transparency and say “No really, we’re Mac people just like you!”

Except there really isn’t much transparency, is there? Sure, the latest news is that there will be more news about Office 2008 next month. But entries range from praise to other Microsoft projects, localization, to posts like “Wow, Entourage sure is awesome, isn’t it?!”

But do Mac users care about Silverlight? No. There’s something that doesn’t feel right about gushing over an app that sticks out like a sore thumb on OSX. The MacBU is talking about My Day when everyone who would benefit from it is really wondering if Entourage 2008 is finally going to be an awesome Exchange client.

So, naturally, Mac Mojo gets a lot of unflattering comments.

There’s no denying how awesome iWork looks, but part of me wonders if the MacBU gets treated this way simply because no matter what they’re named, the MacBU is still Microsoft. Pretend that the MacBU was part of a developer like Panic, or the Omnigroup – would the comments be the same? If OmniFocus had an announced release date, but then was delayed a few months, would the comments be “I knew you guys would screw this up!!” or would it be “Hey, take all the time you need. OmniFocus looks awesome!”

I’m frustrated too, but for now I’ll give the MacBU the benefit of the doubt.