Sheridan Jones, group marketing manager at Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, said that the release of Microsoft Messenger for Mac 6.0 is a "major milestone" in the conversion to the new universal binary format that allows Intel-based Macs to run the software without translation.
Jones told vnunet.com that the new version of Messenger is more focused on home users than the previous version, which was heavy on features for business users.
Among the new features are custom emoticons, interaction with Yahoo Messenger users, a music track listing option, and an IM spell-checker that utilises Mac OS X's built-in dictionary.
"[Spell-check] is not just a helpful thing for users," said Jones. "It shows strong integration with the Mac platform."
This integration has not been easy following Apple's move to the Intel processor and the new Xcode programming environment.
Jones said that the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit had to migrate the millions of lines of code from Macintosh applications from the old CodeWarrior developer tools into Xcode.
"With the next version of Office for Mac, we are now 100 per cent moved over to Xcode," said Jones. The new version of Office is estimated to be released mid-2007.
Earlier reports stated that the 'ribbon' interface that Microsoft is using in Office 2007 for Windows will not be used on the Mac version.
Jones confirmed these reports to vnunet.com, saying that "the ribbon interface was designed for Windows users".
While Jones would not specify what will replace the ribbon in the Mac version, nor how it would work with Apple's upcoming MacOS 10.5, she promised that the forthcoming Office for Mac interface will "feel natural for Mac users" .
"While it will have a different look and feel, it will be a very Mac-like interface," she said. "It will feel very Mac-like, but at the same time it will not be uncomfortable for a Windows user."
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