Microsoft pilots Mac Office and Office 365 training program

Program preps Apple consultants and techies for Microsoft's new cloud-friendly, collaboration-heavy Office suites

Microsoft has launched a pilot program to train and accredit Apple techs and consultants on Office for Mac and Office 365, but you wouldn't know it from perusing the Microsoft website or even reaching out to the company's public relations team.

The Microsoft Office for Mac Accredited Support Professional accreditation is real, though it's currently being pushed only by MacTech, an Apple technology journal that's hosting the program at various events this year. When reached for a statement, Microsoft provided no comment and directed InfoWorld to MacTech for information about the progam.

"[Microsoft] has a whole bunch of credentials that come out for Office for Windows. This is a different credential, a new credential, specifically for Office for Mac and Office 365 for Apple products," said Neil Ticktin, editor in chief at MacTech. "Microsoft is the one doing the training, doing the examination, issuing the certificate, and accrediting the certificate."

Specifically designed for Apple consultants and techs supporting others using Microsoft Office for Mac and Office 365, the program covers topics such as installation; Office Web Apps; best practices in configuration, preferences, settings, and use; licensing options; cross-platform features; sharing documents; and available support resources. Those who undergo the training and pass the exam will become a "Microsoft Office for Mac Accredited Support Professional."

According to Ticktin, the program meets an important need, for pure Apple shops as well as in environments where IT supports both Microsoft and Apple devices. That scenario is becoming increasingly prevalent thanks to the BYOD movement. He noted that the latest version of Office brings a wealth of  echnologies for IT, including new collaboration tools and cloud applications.

The new options create a need for more, better-trained support people. "There are lot of new options and new ways to use Office, to deploy it, to buy it, and to use it collaborative ways," said Ticktin. "There's a lot more that people can take advantage of on Office using Apple technology than they have been able to in the past."

Why Microsoft's website is devoid of any mention of the program and why the company's PR arm couldn't even confirm that the program's existence is open to speculation. Ticktin ventured it was to do with Microsoft's internal processes in getting public announcements vetted and approved.

Nonetheless, Ticktin credited Microsoft for expanding its accreditation program to support shops running on Apple software. "Microsoft has been very good at listening to what techies and consultants in Apple market need, and that's what this accreditation is for," he said.

The Microsoft accreditation course and evaluation is a half-day program and will be offered before each of MacTech's seven boot camps this year. The cost is included with the boot camp enrollment fee.

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