Apple consultants and IT specialists have had one great way to show their clients that they have the smarts to support Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS -- an accreditation class and accreditation for anyone who took a half day of training and evaluation and then passed an exam. Well, the accreditation classes have usually been part of the MacTech Pro Events around the U.S., but this year's schedule doesn't show that the accreditation program will be part of the events in 2016.
Having received the accreditation back in the days when I was an active member of the Apple Consultants Network, I can vouch for the popularity of the program. In half a day, participants reviewed the features of Microsoft Office for Mac (and later iOS), learned strategies for troubleshooting issues with the key apps -- Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- and also had the opportunity to work with Microsoft representatives. Once you received the accreditation, it was something that was often used to prove your Office knowledge to clients.
I asked a Microsoft PR contact about the lack of news about the accreditation program, and received the exact same boilerplate statement that Adam Engst of TidBITS did from a Microsoft spokesperson:
“Microsoft remains committed to IT Pros on the Mac platform and we recognize that the Accreditation Program has historically proved an important venue. We’re in the process of evaluating options for 2016, but don’t have anything to share at this time. We will keep you posted as we learn more.”
While Microsoft seems committed to the Mac platform and to IT professionals, the lack of a solid answer about the accreditation program is worrisome. Microsoft's Office products for iPhone and iPad are solid and have been well-received by both individuals and enterprises, and Office 2016 for Mac is a worthy companion to the Windows version despite the absence of a few key features.
We'll update this post if we receive word on when or if Microsoft will be offering the Office for Mac and iOS Accreditation Program in the future.