Office For Mac

Announcing Communicator for Mac

In March we released a beta version of Messenger for Mac 8 that supported video calls with other Windows Live users. Today, I would like to announce another major change for Messenger users: a new partner application called Communicator for Mac.

Messenger 5, 6, and 7 included support for both Windows Live users and for Office Communications Server users. With Office for Mac 2011, we are providing dedicated applications for each network.

Moving forward Windows Live users will continue to use Messenger for Mac and Office Communications Server (aka Lync) users will start using the new Communicator for Mac.

Obviously this is a big change for our team and we are very excited about the new app and its future. I expect many people will ask why we made this change, so let me add a few comments about how our team makes product decisions.

The overall job here in the MacBU is productivity. On the Messenger team, that overall mission translates into helping people communicate and collaborate to get their work done using Microsoft Office. One focus of Office for Mac 2011 was to integrate real-time communication features into Office applications like Word and PowerPoint and we expect that effort to continue.

In addition to integration with Office, we need to support our two partners, Windows Live and Office Communications Server (aka Lync). Within Microsoft these are separate organizations that move quickly to add new, useful features for their respective users.

In order to best support productivity with Office applications and the features of both partners, it was time for us to separate the applications. Separate apps will allow us to provide the best experience for both sets of users.

Messenger for Mac will continue to be a free download for Mac users that want to access their Windows Live network of contacts. The focus of our team will continue to be features that extend the productivity of Windows Live users who use Office applications. Features that fall outside of that mission, such as games or winks, are not likely to be supported.

Communicator for Mac will be available to organizations that use the Office Communications Server. These enterprises, companies and education organizations will provide Communicator for Mac to their users as part of Office 2011. (Communicator for Mac will be available to volume licensing customers only.)

We hope this post provides some insight into why we made the change and how we make decisions about features that do and do not get supported. As always we listen to and appreciate your feedback so please use the forums to let us know what you think.

September 24th, 2010
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  1. Hamid Heyhat says:


  2. jholton says:

    I am looking to see why H.263 support was not included in the Communicator 2011 client? I have read through many posts and comments from the MAC team and it has been stated that a big goal for this release was to provide the same functionality and capabilities that the Windows client has. Not supporting H.263 is a big miss by the client.

    We integrate OCS 2007 R2 into Polycom and Tandberg environments and today neither Messenger R7 or the newer Communicator 2011 support H.263 which mans users cannot dial into either Polycom or Tandberg/Cisco environments. The only option is a somewhat expensive appliance from Tanderg/Cisco that will transcode RTVideo to H.264.

    As we have more customer migrate to MAC’s for their enterprise use lack of standards based video codecs such as H.263 and even better H.264 causes an issue for our customer who are looking for one application that can be their IM/presence client and also handle desktop video.

    I look forward to any suggestions or guidance.


  3. Kevin Kraus says:

    I’m another unsupported Mac working in a Windows environment for an organization running server version 2007. I was disappointed that Messenger 8.0 does not support corporate contacts and that Outlook is only available via VLA. I have been using Messenger 7.0.2 as a work-around which was fine until I upgraded to OS 10.7. Now I have the same result as with Communicator 13.1.1–Unable to make voice calls and it quits unexpectedly. I understand that Communicator 13.1.2 fixes this. Do you plan an update to Messenger 7.0.2 for compatibility with OS 10.7?

  4. Pableux says:

    Hi, are you working on a good Messenger for iPad 2? Or should I have to buy those cheap versions of the app store?

    Thank you for answer

  5. Thabo says:

    i read the info below on the licensing site,
    is this true?

    Platform Independent Licenses
    Microsoft Office Standard, Office Professional Plus, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Office for Mac, Word for Mac, Excel for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac, and Outlook for Mac are “platform independent” licenses. A platform independent license allows for a product to be used on any computer platform that the software runs on (e.g., PC, Macintosh), provided that the version used is the same or earlier than the original version that was licensed. For instance, a customer licensed for Office for Mac Standard 2011 may choose to use that license to run Office Standard 2010 for Windows. See

  6. CStevens says:

    I agree that I was very disappointed when version 7.02 stopped working on the upgrade to Lion and when I go to use version 8.xx it doesn’t have any support for Corporate. Really… Below is a snippet from the Messanger 8. To me this means that Communicator/Lync should still work.

    “Presence enhancements in Messenger for Mac 8 include the ability to add a personal message to your contact information, so co-workers will know more about when you’re available to chat.”

    Should add that you “removed the ability to chat with co-workers”.

  7. Andrew Hromyk says:

    How Can I purchase Communicator 2011??

  8. Marcio Andrade says:


    I really need to have the new communicator 2011 for mac, because the current one that i use (7.0.2) stop work. Also is very sad that Microsoft split and didn’t put the corporate one to download.
    How can I have the corporate communicator for mac?

  9. Scott Henderson says:

    Has there been any official MS response the mountains of feedback about the crazy VLA restriction for Communicator?

    I work for a design based practice, and our contractors are more likely to bring a mac than a PC. How can they integrate with our PC based team which the software is unavailble to them – even as a paid app? I don’t understand the logic.

  10. Scott Frost says:

    I bought Office 2011 for Mac and it says Communicator is part of it, but it’s not installed? How do I get it? I’m a consultant and all my clients use Communicator and Messenger is just not working.

  11. Kevin Kraus says:

    Could not agree more re: Communicator unavailability. I am a self-supported Mac user in a Windows-based company and the IT department would purchase Communicator for me if they could, but they don’t have the right purchase agreement for the right Office version. My wife is a freelance graphic artist and has the same problem with her clients. Some alternatives:
    -Fix Messenger 7.0.2 to run under OS 10.7 the same way that Communicator 13.1.2 was fixed
    -Add corporate contacts capability to Messenger 8
    -Make Communicator available for purchase or provide as a free download to owners of Office 2011

  12. Joseph Ruffino says:

    So have you moved off center on this VL nonsense yet? Listen to your customers. Provide the Communicator client as a standalone download. Come on already….

  13. Kevin Kraus says:

    Messenger 7.0.3 was posted December 1 and seems to provide an adequate work-around for Communicator. It is compatible with Lion, specifically 10.7.2, and works with corporate contacts on Exchange Server.