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Microsoft released first Office suite of apps (for Mac?!) on August 1, 1989

On August 1, 1989, Microsoft debuted what would become its most well-known set of software programs, the Microsoft Office suite, according to the company (opens in new tab). At the time, individual Office apps had been available for Mac, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. But August 1 marked the first time they were packaged and sold together, according to MakeUseOf.com.

The Office suite was released for Windows during October of 1990, a little more than a year after the Mac package.

Why did Microsoft release Office for Mac first? According to YourMacExpert.com, the Mac audience was less important to Microsoft's success, so it felt more comfortable testing features and changes on the Mac versions before officially rolling them out for Windows. That website cited an internal email exchange between Bill Gates and another Microsoft executive:

Because Mac Office is so much less critical to our business than Windows, we have the flexibility to test out new things in the product and in its marketing before we try them on Windows … I've personally also found the Mac market interesting because I've seen so many trends appear there first, and eventually become important on Windows.

Today, nearly 30 years later, more than 1.2 billion people in 140 countries use Microsoft Office in 107 different languages, Microsoft says{.nofollow}.

That's a whole lot of Word docs and Excel cells. And it all started on August 1, 1989.

Al Sacco is content director of Future PLC's Mobile Technology Vertical, which includes AndroidCentral.com, iMore.com and WindowsCentral.com. He is a veteran reporter, writer, reviewer and editor who has professionally covered and evaluated IT and mobile technology, and countless associated gadgets and accessories, for more than a decade. You can keep up with Al on Twitter and Instagram.

3 Comments
  • mac users = beta testers
  • Also, Windows 3.0 wasn't released yet and Word and Excel was rather limited on Windows 2.x. As for the 'beta' thing, BS. Word/Excel on the Mac helped secure Microsoft's business credibility, while also making the Mac 'more than a toy' as a viable business/office computer. Microsoft had a lot to do with Mac's success, and the reason 'Office for Mac' was released first, as MAC WAS THE DOMINATE WORD/EXCEL PLATFORM. (Word for DOS a far different product and Word on Windows 2.0 was barely used. Mac = Word/Excel/Office is how the world was in the 1980s. So Microsoft's Office/Productivity team at the time was primarily Mac focused and using Macs as the primary development platform. Microsoft had a slow port of Word to Windows 3.x and first had sought for WordPerfect to produce the first and premiere Windows 3.0 platform.
  • I fondly recall running MS Office 4.3 Pro in '94 on my 486DX2-66 running Windows for Workgroups 3.11/MS-DOS 6.22 - there is something magical regarding the computers of my youth...