Anyone who has made the move to a 64-bit operating system will know of the lack of true 64-bit applications to match – but should take heart in the fact that the next version of Office is likely to come in a 64-bit native edition.
According to the guys over at Neowin
, beta tester Ed Bott has done some snooping in the Office 14 closed beta code and found references to both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office applications.
Within the migwiz.xml
file, Bott found that each application within the Office suite were listed twice: once as the standard product name, and once again with a “_x64
” suffix. This appears to indicate that fully native 64-bit builds of Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, and Word exist – and should be shipped as an option when Office 14 goes live.
While there's little to benefit an office suite from the switch to 64-bit – unless you're working on some really
big Access databases – the move comes as the majority of PC users make the transition to 64-bit hardware. With both Intel and AMD having shipped 64-bit processors as standard for several generations, software has been slow to catch up to the capabilities. So long as 32-bit applications are the norm, there is no reason to run a 64-bit operating system – despite Windows XP and Windows Vista both being available in 64-bit editions at no extra cost. If Office 14 ships as a 64-bit native package, it will encourage more OEMs to ship a 64-bit Windows build – and encourage more software developers to take advantage of the increased memory space on offer and start developing their own 64-bit applications too.
So far there has been no official word from Microsoft on whether Office 14 will be available – like Windows – in separate 64-bit and 32-bit releases, but the clues Bott unearthed in the XML file certainly seem to pint to a dual-format launch.
Would 64-bit Office tempt you into upgrading your version of Windows, or can't you see a need for a 64-bit OS yet? Share your thoughts over in the forums