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Microsoft gets an earful as Office for Mac 2016 users amp ire over crashes

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 9, 2015
Apple's latest beta of OS X 10.11.1, aka El Capitan's first update, lists Office 2016 as an area of focus, hinting the OS is at least partly responsible.

Office 2016 crash cropped
Microsoft admits that users of its Office for Mac 2016 suite are encountering frequent crashes and is working with Apple on a fix.

They're restless.

Users of Microsoft's Office for Mac 2016 who upgraded to Apple's OS X 10.11, aka El Capitan, have become increasingly frustrated by repeated crashes of the Office applications, angrily denouncing Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, Apple, on the former's support forum.

"It's called Office '2016' because that's the expected date it 'might' work, although when in 2016 is not clear, assuming we are using the Gregorian calendar!" wrote someone identified only as "bluedolphin" in a Tuesday message on the longest thread dedicated to the crash issue.

As of late Wednesday, that thread had been viewed more than 39,000 times and contained nearly 400 messages, both very high numbers for the Office for Mac support forums.

Most focused their ire on Microsoft.

"Light a fire under somebody's a__ to get a fix out, or at least a work-around," urged "MS Patsy" in a Monday reply to a Microsoft program manager who had posted on the thread last week. "Now you know why I switched to all Mac products. Windows and Outlook are the only remnants of Microsoft JUNK that I'm left with."

But some expanded their exasperation to include Apple.

"How is it remotely feasible that neither Microsoft (mostly at blame) or Apple (ignorance is not great customer service) had any proactive communication to NOT DOWNLOAD EL CAPITAN?" asked a commenter labeled "cxr341" on Tuesday. "It would have been a simple correspondence: 'Hey, we see you use our new Office 2016 on Mac, there's a big OS X update coming, give us a bit of time until you download it.' No harm, no foul."

The bulk of those reporting problems with Office for Mac 2016 began seeing the applications crash last week after they upgraded to OS X 10.11, aka El Capitan. The issue goes back further than that, however, with complaints first appearing July 10, just one day after Microsoft launched the production build of Office for Mac 2016 and Apple delivered its first public beta of El Capitan.

Most of the crashes involve Outlook, the suite's email client, but other applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, also regularly drop dead, either separately or when Outlook goes down. Computerworld staffers running Office for Mac 2016 on El Capitan-powered Macs have been affected as well.

Not everyone has had to deal with crashing productivity. An engineer who specializes on the Mac and works for a multi-national IT services firm reached out to Computerworld, saying that none of those in his workplace's pilot program had seen Office 2016 for Mac crash or freeze when running on El Capitan.


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