Office 2008 for Mac nears arrival

Microsoft has put an end to the long wait of many Apple Mac computer users by announcing a date for the release of Office 2008 for Mac, choosing the first day of the Macworld conference and expo in San Francisco to unveil the details.

The software giant will release its updated Office software suite for alternate Mac operating system (OS) X users in the US on 15 January 2008 and plans to roll the new version out to other markets around the world within the same quarter next year.

When released, the new suite will be available in a choice of three versions and corresponding pricing: a basic package, including all the usual Office applications, like Word, PowerPoint and Excel, will retail in the US for $400 (£197.86).

A second, 'home and student' version will target qualifying consumers with a three-year end user licence, costing $150 (£74.20). And a third, "special media edition" will also include the image management application, Expression Media for Mac, at a cost of $500 (£247.33).