“How’s this for the ultimate digital-age, small-business irony: Want the best possible environment for Microsoft Office? Try running it on a Mac,” Jonathan Blum reports for Fortune.

MacDailyNews Take: Not just Microsoft Office: Apple MacBook Pro is world’s fastest Windows Vista notebook – October 30, 2007

“The Apple line of personal computers and peripherals offers the small enterprise a tantalizing – if frustrating – set of risks and rewards. Macs, used as they are intended in their full 64-bit glory, are blazingly fast. Integration of the Intel processing chips and other bits of electronics, the popularity of the iPhone and the iPod, and the emergence of virtual desktop environments such as VMware means the Berlin Wall between all things Mac and all things PC is nowhere near as treacherous as it was just a few years ago,” Blum reports.

Blum writes, “But turning the newly plays-nice-with-others Mac into a real ROI generator in your shop is no slam dunk, if you’re accustomed to working with Windows machines.”

MacDailyNews Take: Replace “accustomed to” with “handicapped with” an you’ll have a clearer sense of the issue.

Blum continues, “In several months of side-by-side testing of iMacs and PCs, I found that gains in speed can be offset by user confusion in mastering Mac’s approach to the Web.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Microsoft’s penchant for illogical, non-intuitive software – Windows was originally set up upside-down and backwards presumably in order to try to avoid legal action from Apple – has screwed up an entire generation of users. Have you ever seen a Windows-only sufferer trying to use a Mac for the first time? It’s painful. It’s tragic what Microsoft has done to hinder world productivity for so many years. Please see these related articles:
Switching to Mac after 15 years of Windows, security expert says he’s ‘too stupid to use Macs’ – September 06, 2005
Windows to Mac switch like repeatedly getting whacked in the face with baseball bat of common sense – September 01, 2005

Blum continues, “Earlier this year, the Macintosh Business Unit, one of the oldest teams at Microsoft, released Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac – not to be confused with Microsoft Office 2007, which runs on the Windows Vista and XP operating systems. The code optimizes for Macs the now-ubiquitous line of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and e-mail and calendaring tools (for the Mac, Entourage takes the place of Outlook). For the most part, Office 2008 for Mac simply emulates Office 2007 for the PC. But in my testing, this riff on the Microsoft flagship flourishes in the current Apple OS X Leopard environment.”

Blum reports, “If you see margins in being super-efficient in the digital domain, and you have to guts and the means to make it work, I would invest the time in seeing if Office 2008 for Mac is for you.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JES42” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Do you really need Microsoft Office? Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’08 trial a try and find out for yourself.