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Microsoft again delays Mac XML converters

The utilities, which convert Office 2007 file formats for use in Office 2004 for Mac, should have been ready more than a year ago, but now won't be available until late June.

Microsoft offered Mac fans both good news and bad news on Thursday, and it all depends on which version of Office for Mac one is using.

The software maker said that it plans on March 11 to deliver the first update to Office 2008 for Mac, delivering several key fixes. At the same time though, it has again pushed out the release of converters needed by users of Office 2004 to read documents saved in the new XML file formats used by Office 2007 for Windows.

"The team is mobilized to get Office 2008 updates out as soon as possible," Microsoft said in a blog posting. "As a result we are pushing back the release of the final Open XML File Format Converter Update to Office 2004 for Mac."

Microsoft said that it now expects to make the converter available by late June. Most recently the company had said final converters would be released six to eight weeks after Office 2008 was released in the U.S. However, that timeline was already delayed from Microsoft's original plan, which called for the tools to be available by late 2006 or early 2007.

By further delaying the converters as more documents are created in Office 2007's new file formats, the software maker is creating more headaches for Mac users, particularly those with older systems. Microsoft does have a beta version of its converter.