Microsoft has no plans for Retina display Office apps (updated)

There’s someone who’s kicking sand out of the Retina display sandbox, and that company appears to be Microsoft. Even though Microsoft boasted that Office for Mac  is ready for OS X Mountain Lion, Mac world is reporting that users with Retina display Mac Book Pros are describing a less-than-stellar experience when using Office for Mac on one of these machine.

This isn’t a surprise, as about the only current OS X Mountain Lion feature that Office for Mac supports is Gatekeeper, which I think is largely a move to keep the average user from thinking that Office isn’t working with Gatekeeper turned on. Other yet-to-be-delivered features include i Cloud support (no surprise), auto-saving, versions (though there is a workaround) — the last two being Lion features that the Office for Mac team was supposedly working on.

In the blog, an Office for Mac team member claimed that Outlook does support Retina display. “Outlook for Mac 2011 already supports Retina Display and the remaining apps will have the same viewing quality as on any non-Retina device. Unfortunately at this time, we cannot comment on any future updates regarding supporting Retina on Word, Excel or PowerPoint,” the person said.

The same isn’t holding true for other software. Adobe’s Creative Suite also lacks Retina display support, but told Mac world in an email  that it would be coming later this year, and the same goes for Auto Cad. But the support is coming, as Photoshop and Auto Cad were demoed during the Mac Book Pro with Retina Display announcement.

The installed base of Office for Mac users that own Retina display Mac Book Pros might not be big enough to justify adding the support right now. As more Retina display machines are adopted in the business industry, Microsoft might eventually come back to the Retina display issue and other Lion and Mountain Lion features that it’s neglected. But, I suspect that given Microsoft’s laissez-faire attitude toward the Office for Mac suite, those features might come some time in 2016 … maybe.

Update: As one of our commenter pointed out, Office for Mac is written in Carbon while Retina display supports requires Cocoa API. The current Outlook was written in Cocoa.


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