MacBU announced the official name for its next version of Office, Office for Mac 2011, at Macworld Expo just two weeks ago. Inevitably, the beta gets leaked, screenshots begin filling rumor sites and torrents let the general public get a sneak peek.
Releasing a major software suite like Office for Mac to the world is akin to a writer releasing his next major novel. Some critics will praise it. Others will hate it. It's exposed to the world and you can't take it back. The developers, testers, product managers and everyone else at MacBU must be sorely disappointed (but maybe somewhat flattered) when their 2-3 years of hard work gets leaked to the public before it's ready.
Well, I'm sorry to say that it's been leaked. Or has it?
Office for Mac 2011 is due to officially ship around U.S. holiday season of this year, which means around the fourth quarter of 2010. That means it must be going into beta within the next few months.
If I were to believe the bit torrent sites, I'd say it's already in beta because I can now search Google for "torrent Office 2011" and see plenty of places where I can download it. What a shame! But not for MacBU.
Practically every link on the first page of this Google search leads me to a bogus download. How do I know? Because what's being advertised is so blatantly wrong!
Based on past history, Office for Mac comes in two or three flavors—currently Home & Student and Business Edition. So, when I see "Microsoft Office 2011 Enterprise Corporate Edition", I have to laugh. Whoever named this obviously works in the Department of Redundancy Department.
This same torrent seems to be prevalent on several warez sites and even includes some firsts for Office for Mac such as InfoPath 2011, Publisher 2011 and Groove 2011 to name just a few. Wow! Microsoft has been busy! I'm so disappointed, however, to see that Access 2011 wasn't included. Oh, wait, there it is.
Of course, you can tell this is typical Microsoft software because they don't even understand Macs. Boy, won't their Mac customers be surprised when they release Office 2011 as Windows executable!
I wish there were some way I could know for sure that what I'm downloading is legit or is a scam. Something like this message would be handy:
Maybe something like this message from Safari will just give me a little bit of a clue:
At this point, I could spout so many clichés: "Curiosity killed the cat" or "You get what you pay for". But I won't do that… or your money back… Guaranteed! What I will quote is a phrase from the American President Ronald Regan who said this about the Soviet Union: "Trust but verify!"
I'll go him one better: "Hell, don't even trust." Just wait for the real thing.