Joel wrote the spec for VBA. It was a lock-in strategy from start, which is no surprise of course. The loss of VBA on the Mac won't have much impact on most users of Office/Mac, but Joel's story is interesting for several reasons:
1. It's a story about Microsoft's only great product - Excel.Most Mac users who really need Office are going to run Office Pro/Windows in emulation under Windows 2000 or XP. I don't care so much about VBA, but I need Microsoft Access.
2. Joel's a longtime supporter of Microsoft as a company (he grew up there) and even he's advising friends to avoid Vista at this time.
3. He gets fed up with Office 2007.
Mac users who want a quality word processor should probably use Nisus Writer Express (Pro is in beta). Every other product that works well on the Mac uses a lock-in proprietary file format or an (unfortunately) little supported open alternative. NWE uses RTF.
For presentations, if you can escape PowerPoint (few can) I hear Keynote is good. For an end-user non-pro database you're limited to Filemaker (kind of hurting really). For a spreadsheet you can, err, uhhh, hmmm. That' s a problem, isn't it? When I started writing this post I didn't know of any. I decided to research the question first ...
I was able to find 6 alternatives, not counting OpenOffice since it still requires an X Window front-end:
- AppleWorks if you can find a copy (runs in cpu emulation on intel macs)
- MarinerCalc 5.5.1
- Google Apps with Firefox/Camino (not Safari)
- Mesa (NextStep originally) is still around and is a universal binary
- NeoOffice: (update 5/29/07: I tried the spreadsheet with a modestly large data series. It died trying to create a chart. It's not a real contender.)