Microsoft fixes Mac Office bug in Apple's Lion

But support for Lion's versioning, auto save features 'months' away

Microsoft has released an updated version of Communicator for the Mac that works with Apple's new Lion operating system.

Communicator for Mac 2011 version 13.1.2 was released Thursday to Microsoft's download site, and will be pushed to users via the company's update service shortly, a Microsoft product director promised.

The new version of Communicator resolves the crash bug that afflicted the program when users tried to run it on Mac OS X 10.7, the new operating system Apple launched July 20.

Communicator is the corporate version of Microsoft's consumer-grade Messenger chat client for the Mac, and is available only to business and academic volume licensing customers. It is also the software that connects Mac users to Microsoft's enterprise communications server software, Lync 2010.

Last week, Microsoft's Office for Mac development team reported several problems with the 2011 and 2008 editions of the suite when run on Lion.

At the time, the Communicator crash bug and a glitch that prevents users from importing messages from Apple's Mail email client into Outlook 2011 or Entourage 2008 were the top two issues spelled out then by Pat Fox, a senior director of product development.

In a blog published Thursday, Fox announced the availability of Communicator 13.1.2 and reiterated that Office for Mac 2004 does not work, nor never will, on Lion because the suite was written for the PowerPC CPU.

With Lion, Apple dropped support for Rosetta, the emulator that allowed PowerPC programs to run on Intel processor-equipped Macs.

Microsoft has remained mum on a timetable for other Office 2011 fixes, including one for the Mail-to-Outlook bug and several minor problems with Excel, PowerPoint and Word.

Fox also told customers that they'll have to wait for Microsoft to support new Lion features -- such as auto save, document versioning and a full-screen mode -- in Office for Mac 2011.

"I can't answer [when those will be available] but it's likely measured in months not days," said Fox.

Communicator 13.1.2 can be downloaded from Microsoft's website.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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